Palm Oil Engineering Bulletin No. 138 (Sept - Dec 2021) p10-15
Enhancing Mechanisation Technology in Oil Palm Plantation
Ahmad Syazwan Ramli*; Mohd Azwan Mohd Bakri* and Mohd Rizal Ahmad*

Oil palm plantations are facing several challenges in overcoming productivity loses during the COVID-19 pandemic. The implementation of mechanisation and automation technology in plantation were identified as possible solution. However, the effort has been ongoing for several years back but the adoption has not been very successful. Introduction of new mechanisation for oil palm plantation has been spearheaded by various research entities and institutions, but they are only able to come up with a prototype at Technology Readiness Level (TRL) 5 based on The National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) standard due to their limited capability in terms of funding and fabrication facility. The objective of this article is to identify the challenges in adopting mechanisation and technology in oil palm plantation as well suggesting a solution to the problem. Agriculture Technology Revolution 4.0 concept which mimicking Industrial Revolution 4.0 (IR4.0) has the potential to address the technology adoption in plantation but only certain elements are deemed suitable to be implemented in plantation. The nature of mechanisation which consists of complicated and intricate process that require an extend of fabrication engineering technology, manpower, experience and high capital have added to the challenges to make the adoption of mechanisation in plantation viable. In order to overcome these challenges, an additional entity, namely a Manufacturing Powerhouse is needed in the equation due to its potential capability to address all the issues identified earlier. Hence, it is important to convince a Manufacturing Powerhouse so that the gap between research and development (R&D) entities and plantation can be narrow down as close as possible.

Author information:
*Malaysian Palm Oil Board (MPOB), 6 Persiaran Institusi, Bandar Baru Bangi, 43000 Kajang, Selangor, Malaysia.