Malaysia needs action plan to retain talent amid planter shortage

Malaysia is urged to develop an action plan to retain existing talents and attract a new generation of planters, as the industry faces a potential shortage of skilled professionals. Deputy Prime Minister Fadillah Yusof highlighted the issue at the 10th International Planters Conference 2023, noting that some planters have retired or are seeking opportunities in other countries.

Fadillah, who also serves as the Minister of Plantation and Commodities, emphasised the need for teamwork in finding solutions for the industry’s survival. He mentioned that the ministry has established various platforms and mechanisms for stakeholders to share ideas, knowledge, and feedback in policy and guideline formulation. The Incorporated Society of Planters (ISP) could play an active role in this process, he added.

The ministry plans to introduce viable schemes and regulations to ensure the adoption of important platform technologies and increase productivity through high-end technology. Fadillah suggested that the Mechanisation and Automation Research Consortium of Oil Palm (MARCOP) could actively contribute to achieving these goals.

In accordance with the government’s National Agricommodity Policy 2021-2030 and the 12th Malaysia Plan, Fadillah expressed his hope that planters would be equipped with the latest knowledge, skills, and digital know-how to address industry challenges. “Since the government has agreed to (put a) cap on the total oil palm cultivated area, the onus is on the planters to increase the productivity of the existing land through good agricultural practices, new genomics planting materials, and mechanisation and automation,” he advised.

Fadillah also stressed the importance of managing operational costs amid rising input expenses. On a global scale, he highlighted Malaysia’s position as the largest exporter of rubber gloves, second-largest producer and exporter of palm oil, fifth-largest producer of pepper, sixth-largest cocoa grinder, and 12th largest exporter of furniture.

To restore economic growth, the government will focus on promoting structural change through land consolidation, enhancing the use of big data analytics, adopting technology, accelerating talent development, expanding and diversifying export markets, improving governance and policy to meet sustainability demands, and pursuing a circular economy business model, such as in the biomass industry.

World News

Lee Shuyi

Lee is an expat writer living in Thailand. She specialises in Southeast Asian news for the Thaiger. When she's not writing, Lee enjoys immersing herself in Thai culture and learning Thai.

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