OIL PALM was the topic of discussion at the Agriculture Technology Seminar Series XII organised by Universiti Tunku Abdul Rahman’s (Utar) Faculty of Science and Centre for Biodiversity Research.
The event was held at the university’s Kampar campus as part of its practice of holding seminars to enrich students, staff and stakeholders. For the first time in its long-running series, the seminar entitled Advancing Oil Palm Production in Malaysia featured oil palm as the topic of discussion.
Kuala Lumpur Kepong (KLK) Bhd human resource (plantations) head William Yap Kok Lin, when speaking about The Human Resource Challenges in Plantations, gave an interesting comparison between the Gen Y workforce, Baby Boomers and the Gen X generations, as well as how to manage young talents.
“Skill set experience is also another challenge, because many companies are too busy running the organisation and fail to plan for succession,” he added.
Sharing with the audience the challenges in the industry from the human resource perspective, Yap also warned of the impact of a weakening currency in the supply of foreign workers from Indonesia, Bangladesh and others in the industry.
Speaking on the Advances in Sustainable Research and Development in Oil Palm, Malaysian Palm Oil Association sustainability, research and development director Dr Ruslan Abdullah said, “Despite the robust growth of palm oil production, the industry has not been problem-free with the issue of sustainability gaining prominence over the years. Current research and development approaches have inculcated sustainable practices by putting the importance on people, profit and the planet.”
Advanced Agriecological Research Sdn Bhd environmental microbiology section head Dr Tasreen Nazir Mahamooth shared about how microbial research was able to help the industry improve its production, while Assoc Prof Dr Chew Fook Tim from the National University of Singapore spoke on Genetic Strategies for Yield Improvement in Major Crops.
In his talk on the role of pyroligneous acid in soil reconditioning and sustainable oil palm plantation, Sulpom Group director Yap Hai San said it was able to rejuvenate the soil so much so that 99% of dormant palms at Risda’s plantation started flowering after just three months of application.
“The pyroligneous acid treatment on certain infected palms revived their productivity as well as prolonged their lifespan,” he said.