Is mechanising palm oil production still viable?

Photo: Filepic/The Star

A MILLION dollar question right now is whether the palm oil industry could be – or should be – mechanised. While mechanising peripheral areas might be done fairly easily, extending mechanisation to core areas of production is not as easy, especially the extraction of fruits.

The key area in this industry is the harvesting of oil palm fruits. It is a very labour-intensive step; the height of the trees, the thick canopy, and the difficulty of extracting the fruit bunches all make it difficult to introduce mechanisation at this point.

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