MUKAH: The state government through its local institutions has developed a fruit harvester for oil palms.
Chief Minister Datuk Patinggi Abang Johari Tun Openg, who revealed this, said among the challenges faced during Covid-19 was the lack of manpower to collect the fruits due to the industry’s dependency on foreign workers.
“During Covid-19, we learned that we had no one to collect our palm oil fruits due to fear of the coronavirus. The labourers and harvesters could not go out. This was a big lesson to us.
“Three years ago, I wanted the industry to innovate a mechanism to harvest our oil palms and requested the universities to produce something.
“Thankfully, we can see one that is being developed here in Mukah,” he said when officiating at the launch of the Oil and Gas Academy along with the Palm and Agriculture Academy at Centexs Mukah today (Aug 28).
Abang Johari said although the demonstration model at this stage was created as part of a research programme, it could be improved by integrating artificial intelligence (AI) and sensors to increase its efficiency.
“With the use of sensors and AI, we can translate the transmission of data to the tools that we are using.
“So I think Centexs Mukah can add the sensors to check whether the fruits are ripe enough to be harvested. If they are, then the machine can pluck them.
“With this, we are no longer dependent on foreign workers and can collect our harvests anytime,” he said.
Abang Johari said increased efficiency in the process would increase the yields and translate to more revenues and less leakages.
“This is applied technology so we want Centexs Mukah to undertake these activities. We will apply the technologies for the development of the oil palm and sago industry,” he explained.