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Mahamad Rodzi Abdul Ghani
Sickle that's three times as efficient
21/11/06 (NSTP) - KOTA KINABALU: A motorised oil palm harvester could reduce the number of foreign workers needed in the industry.
Called Cantas, the device can triple harvest — from two tonnes of oil palm per hectare to six tonnes — in a given time.
As a result, this German-designed tool can reduce manpower from 18 people to 10 per hectare, said Plantation Industries and Commodities Ministry parliamentary secretary Datuk Dr S. Vijayaratnam.
The petrol-operated long-handled sickle is faster, uses less energy and is more cost-efficient than manual labour.
"Cantas is currently being used in a pilot project in the Boonrich Plantation in Lahad Datu," he said.
The tool may be modified to run on batteries.
Cantas is marketed by Borneo Samudera Sdn Bhd and costs RM3,500. The device has a life span of two years. About 100 units have been sold.
Vijayaratnam launched the National Conference of Plantation Smallholders here yesterday. He was representing Minister Datuk Peter Chin Fah Kui.
About 400,000 foreign workers are employed in oil palm estates throughout the country.
There are an estimated one million foreign workers employed in all industries in Malaysia.
ECONOMICS & INDUSTRY DEVELOPMENT DIVISION
Malaysian Palm Oil Board ( MPOB ) Lot 6, SS6, Jalan Perbandaran, 47301 Kelana Jaya, Selangor Darul Ehsan, MALAYSIA.
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