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MIRI, June 26: Sarawak Plantation Berhad is on the verge of developing several machines to help the oil palm industry.
Its prototypes are now undergoing trial at its Ladang Tiga plantation in Bekenu, near here.
Deputy Chief Minister Datuk Amar Douglas Uggah Embas visited the site this morning to see for himself the prototypes. He was shown around by its executive chairman, Datuk Amar Hamed Sepawi, and its chief operating officer, Iswandy Ayub.
The prototype that particularly piqued Uggah’s interest was a fruit harvester with an extendable arm called the ‘H Harvesting Cutter’.
“This is a very interesting invention, something that will be a game changer for the industry not only in Sarawak but I believe in the whole industry,” he said.
One of the biggest, perennial problems in the industry, he said, was getting enough workers, especially for harvesting work.
“We have developed the Cantas motorised cutter, but it is not as advanced as this. The state government has agreed to work closely with Sarawak Plantation Berhad to further fine tune the prototype harvester and develop it for the market,” he added.
Congratulating Hamed for his creativity and resourcefulness, Uggah said: “He is the brain behind the harvester, which is assembled by local and Chinese engineers.”
According to Hamed, it took his engineers three years to develop the prototype. Each machine is capable of harvesting five tonnes of fruit per day with only one operator.
“Manually, a worker is only capable of harvesting 1.5 tonnes per day. We are now trying to push this to seven tonnes per person or operator per day. We are now making it even more robust and adding in the robotics to its mechanical and hydraulic components,” he added. — DayakDaily