Tuesday June 26, 2012
Minister urges plantation players to initiate own action plans
KUALA LUMPUR: Plantation industry players should initiate their own action plans to meet future challenges while the Government continues to assist them by identifying measures to ensure the industry’s long-term resilience, said Primary Industries and Commodities Minister Tan Sri Bernard Dompok.
He said the main challenge in the industry would be a cohesive effort to explore measures to increase productivity.
“This issue is very pertinent given the constraint on new planting and the global concern to preserve forested areas and the environment,” he said, adding that there was a need to strenghen the research and development into new planting materials that were highly productive and disease-resistant.
Dompok said at the opening of the 7th International Planters Conference (IPC 2012) here yesterday that the production of sustainable oil palm should also be a priority among planters.
On the future direction of plantation business, he said heavy dependency on labour was a major issue in local plantations.
While the plantation sector could not dispense with the use of labour in specific field operations, he said the areas for mechanisation should be continuously explored.
“The plantation sector needs to implement measures to ensure long-term reduction of foreign labour,” Dompok said.
Towards this, the Government is encouraging industry players to collaborate with research institutions in the production of new machineries for adoption by the plantation sector.
Meanwhile, IPC 2012 organiser The Incorporated Society of Planters (ISP) Malaysia chairman Daud Amatzin said the event this year saw the highest attendance at slightly over 1,000 participants.
The focus of the two-day conference will be on plantation tree crops, mainly on oil palm with emphasis on agriculture and food security, economics, markets, enhancing production systems, environment and productivity.
Daud said the plantation sector needed to improve on its productivity, explore opportunities to diversify its income, explore new marketing approaches and balance the environmental utilisation of resources.
The ISP is one of the oldest organisations among the planter’s fraternity with the first conference in 1924.