The plantation industry is constantly facing many challenges, for example, to increase productivity per unit area and per worker, cost optimisation, pursuing effective solutions in estate and mill operations, conservation and protection of the natural environment and of course to remain sustainable and competitive in the long term. In addition to these demanding issues, the industry today is faced with a new threat – the global Covid-19 pandemic. A large amount of global economic activity has suddenly collapsed in the discretionary sector and demand for palm oil and other commodities declined significantly in the first half of 2020 due to the Movement Control Order (MCO) and lockdown implemented around the world. The IMF in their latest World Economic Outlook reports a deep recession in 2020, a contraction of -4.4 per cent and growth projected to rebound to 5.2 per cent in 2021.
However, prices for palm oil surged in the second half of 2020 due to supply shortages triggered by unfavourable weather, logistics issues and rising demand from China and India. However, demand for palm bio-diesel has been dampened by the decline in crude oil prices and relatively higher palm oil prices. Therefore, Malaysia had to rein back its roll out of a nationwide B20 mandate.
Therefore, in order to address some of these issues, The Incorporated Society of Planters (ISP) is organising its 15th ISP National Seminar 2021 (NATSEM 2021). The theme, “Addressing Challenges in Plantation Management” will set the direction for this thought-provoking discussion, to be held from 12 – 14 July 2021 in Pullman Miri Waterfront, Miri, Sarawak.
This theme will highlight and address on diverse issues related to plantation management that shouldn’t be considered independent of each other, thus requires an integrated approach for maximum improvement. These issues include crop ecology and cropping systems, pest and disease management, land and soil management, mechanisation, sustainable agriculture, manpower, climate change, food safety and waste management. In addition, the entire plantation sector has to develop and adopt robust SOPs in light of the Covid-19 pandemic.
The seminar will be navigated through 4 sessions of different topics; Resource management (Session 1), Crop management (Session 2), Quality control and Waste management (Session 3) and Human resource management (Session 4). We have lined-up 10 speakers who are experts in their respective field to share their thoughts on the issues during the two days seminar.
This seminar will benefit all those who seek to continuously improve and strengthen the plantation sector. When challenges within these criteria are answered, there will be improvement in terms of productivity. Throughout the two-day seminar with more than 800 participants expected, a trade exhibition with 45 booths will be held for participants to explore equipment and products related to the plantation industry. The seminar and exhibition outcomes among others are to build a network among industry players and create opportunities through various platforms for exchange of ideas and thoughts.
We’ve learned that addressing challenges in plantation management will be the answer to improve yield and productivity, produce safe and high-quality products and generate more income in the plantation sector in view of the limited land for crop cultivation and prevailing sluggish economic environment due to Covid-19 pandemic. We are confident that this seminar can identify the trends, issues and technological solutions that must be developed immediately to manage the future working environment in estates and mills and reroute the industry back to its glory days.
We bid you all a warm welcome