Palm Oil Exports Hit RM19 Billion in January – April

Palm oil exports rose 21 per cent to RM19 billion in the first four

months of this year against exports of RM15 billion registered in the

corresponding period last year, said Plantation Industries and

Commodities Deputy Minister Datuk Hamzah Zainudin.

He said realising its importance as a leading revenue earner for

Malaysia, Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak had placed the

industry under the National Key Results Areas.

However, he pointed out that the industry was over dependent on

foreign labour as 80 per cent of the 200,000 workers employed in oil

palm plantations were harvesters.

“Locals are reluctant to work in oil palm plantations and this has

led to the influx of foreign workers.

“The government is aware of the dilema but industry players themselves

should assume the responsibility to address the problem,” he said,

adding that large plantation companies should turn to mechanisation to

reduce their dependence on foreign labour.

Speaking at the launch of a motorised harvester, the Cantas Mark III

in Sandakan today, Hamzah said land under oil palm cultivation had

reached 4.7 million hectares and a large workforce was required to man

these plantations.

The Cantas Mark III, jointly developed by the Malaysian Palm Oil

Board and Fancy Power Sdn Bhd, is an updated version of the motorised

harvester which was first commercialised in 2007.

Hamzah said large oil palm plantations should consider the extensive

use of the petrol fuelled harvester which retailed for RM2,500 each.

Expressing disappointment over the fact that only 559 such machines

were used todate, he said the Cantas Mark III can address the severe

labour shortage faced in oil palm plantations. — Bernama

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