Multinational palm oil planter, Sime Darby Plantation is looking to further invest in technology and to give additional focus on more local-driven labour force to improve the productivity of palm oil in the industry.
During the Virtual POC2021 Palm and Lauric Oils virtual conference, the company emphasised that production of edible oil in the top two producing countries dropped due to extreme weather conditions and a coronavirus pandemic-induced labour shortage in Malaysia last year.
Additionally, the United States banned imports of palm oil from the company on December 30, 2020 over allegations of forced labour in the production process.
“The need for digitisation is here. Palm oil players in the industry need to invest in technology for the industry to be competitive. Currently, soybean oil production has passed palm oil production with the use of technology in the soybean oil production,” Managing Director of Sime Darby Oils, Mohd Haris Mohd Arshad said.
Sime Darby has taken initiative to introduce technology in the mix for the palm oil industry as the company has considered to use UAV Drones, Unmanned Ground Vehicles, and Robotics.
On the other hand, Sime Darby wants to focus more on their smallholder base as the smallholders are contributing around 40 percent of the global palm oil production and the same time, highlighted sustainability within smallholders is critical in the journey for sustainable palm oil.
“We have provided incentives and support for them in recent years like in our plantation in Papua New Guinea. Supply chains are also important for the smallholders as it can ensure they can be actively engaged and integrated within the industry,” he concluded.