Sunday, September 30, 2012

Labour shortage seen in oil palm sector, says Sarawak Plantations

Datuk Hamden Ahmad
KUCHING: There is a 10-15 per cent shortage in labour for the oil palm plantation sector, especially in the harvesting process.
“We need highly trained people in harvesting. All these while we are depending on Indonesian workers, which accounts for 80 per cent of the total workers,” said Sarawak Plantation Bhd’s (Sarawak Plantations) group managing director, Datuk Hamden Ahmad yesterday.
He said there had been initiatives to encourage more local workers to work in the sector, including giving more incentives and providing better working conditions.
“The Sarawak Oil Palm Plantation Owners Association is also trying to persuade the government to approve the ratio of 6 hectare per 1 worker, instead of the current 8:1 ratio,” he disclosed, adding that the labour shortage in the harvesting process directly affects the fresh fruit production.
Sarawak Plantations has 30,000 hectares in production currently, with plans to expand more in the future.
“We’re targetting to have an additional of 5,000 hectares every year. This is part of our new development plan. This year alone we have cleared 7,500 hectares including in Mukah and in Tulai,” he said.

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