Field Trip to Malaysian Palm Oil Plantations


Malaysia is one of the countries well-endowed with Natural Resources in areas such as Minerals, Agriculture and Forestry.  It is an exporter of natural and agricultural resources, the most valuable exported resource being petroleum.  In the agricultural sector, Malaysia exports one of the top exporters of Natural Rubber and Palm Oil.  The country is the second largest exporter in terms of Volume and Value of Palm Oil products, after Indonesia.

History of Palm Oil in Malaysia

Palm oil trees were introduced to British Malaya by the British government in early 1870s as ornament plants. The first commercial palm oil cultivation was done in Selangor in 1917. In the early 1960s, palm oil cultivation increased significantly under the government diversification program to reduce Malaysia’s dependency on rubber and tin.

Malaysian Palm Oil Educational Program

Malaysian Palm Oil Council (MPOC) is one of the organization in Malaysia that promotes Market expansion of Malaysian Palm Oil and its product.  As part of the initiate they setup an Educational Program and invited International Journalists from the following countries – India (2), China (1), Netherlands (1), Pakistan (3), Russia (3), Bangladesh (1), and Egypt (1).  This list included the top-4 (India, China, Netherlands and Pakistan).

The program did span across a week between 13-17 November 2017.  During the program some of the activities included – Field Trips across Oil Palm Plantations, Attending PIPOC 2017 Conference, Meeting MPOC & MPOB Teams, Cook-off event showcasing usage of Palm Oil and Visit to Rainforest Development Centre & Oran Hutan Rehab centres at Sandakan.

This blog will contain info regarding the Field Trips to Sime Derby Plantation and Small Farmer Plantation.


MPOC made a great plan to let International Journalists visit one of the Biggest Palm Oil company and a Small Planation.  This gave an in terms of scale, productivity, processes and their relative efficiency.  But the goal of the government is to make every Hectare of Palm Oil land equally Productive and Sustainable.

The field trip were across different places closer to Kuala Lumpur – Federal Territory.

  • Field Trip to Sime Darby’s Oil Palm Plantation at West Estate, Cary Island
  • Field Trip to Small Planter near Selangor, Sepang District

Sime Darby’s Oil Palm Plantation

Malaysia’s Sime Darby is the largest listed palm oil company globally, based on plantation area and fresh fruit bunch production.  The company was created through a Malaysian government initiated merger in December 2006.  Sime Darby Plantation operations in Malaysia have a total landbank of 343,938 Hectares.  In Malaysia alone, they own and operate nearly 124 Oil Palm Estate in Peninsular Malaysia, Sarawak and Sabah.

Sime Darby Berhad is now a major Malaysia-based multinational conglomerate involved in 5 core sectors – plantations, property, industrial, motors and logistics.  We were taken to the interiors of one Palm Oil Plantations where the Plantation Manager gave insight into the production.  Some of the highlights–

  • Visual display of Palm Oil Seeds during various phases of its growth.
  • Plantation method maintaining distance between plants and avoiding crowding.  This helps individual plans to grow and develop.
  • Explained about usage of Fertilizers for better growth and natural predators like Owls to keep the rodents away.
  • They also showed us the plucking process from the Palm trees and the efficient manner used to collect the fallen bunch, fallen fruits, branches and leaves.  The folks working on the farm are trained and are very well equipped.
  • We were also taken to the main office inside the Plantation, where they explained about the next steps the leads to Palm Oil production.  They show the live outcome from the processing plants i.e., Crude Palm Oil, Palm Oil and many other items.  Slug coming out as a waste if also reused for making composts.
  • Malaysia is also located in a rain-laden belt, which means that most of the water to the plantation comes naturally in form of rain.

There is lush greenery around the entire plantation which is a wonderful sight.  The greenery also suggests that the there is more Oxygen in air due to green leaves performing photosynthesis.

Small Planter – Jerami Indah Plantation

This was an opportunity to visit a Smaller Farmer, owned by Mr. Hariri Sadiman and Rokiah (wife).  Mr.Hariri was kind to share various inputs regarding his planation.

Mr.Hariri ‘s plantation is spread across 5 acres and it has a mix of Oil Palm trees & cash crops.  Initially the farm had coconut and later switched to Palm plantation 10 years back after associating with MPOC & MPOB.

  • Production has gone up year on year.
  • Grows cash crops in the farm like – Chillies, Maize and others.
  • Has own compost plant in farm and sells it in retail.
  • Happy with the growth and believes in the process followed.
  • Actively engages with fellow small plantation farmers.  Tedious process and stringent requirement are holding back other small farmers from certification.
  • They have had goat shed and previous had cattle shed.  Compost is made by adding the dropping from the goats and plant waste.

This is one of the beautiful planation where the planter has his family setup and doing very well with support from MPOC and MPOB.

Overall Experience

It was a great opportunity to visit different plantation and gets different perspectives on Planation Methods, Labours, Harvest Yields, Productivity and Efficiency.  I found that the Sime Derby to be very process oriented, efficient in resource utilization and constantly on the lookout to increase efficiency & productivity.  In comparison, the Small Farmer field look a little more relaxed in terms of processes.  They seem to be keen on utilizing any available land for growing cash crops, utilize for making compost and have cattle shed.  But end of the day, we see the both MPOC & MPOB are helping both the planters to increase their yield.

I would like to thank Bhavana Shah (MPOC Country Representative, India & Srilanka) for selecting me to be part of this International Exposure.  Thanks to Fizan (MPOC)Suzanna Mohamed (MPOC) for planning the entire event and making the entire Program a grand success.  A special thanks to MPOC CEO, Dr.Kalyan Sundaram for leading the MPOC very well.  This initiative will eventually help in building a good image for Malaysian Palm Oil Internationally.

This is the third blog among many others related to MPOC Educational Program.  Refer to the links below to read about other activities.


Sime Darby Plantation

Palm Oil Production in Malaysia

MPOC – Malaysian Palm Oil Council

MPOB – Malaysian Plan Oil Board

Kinabatangan River

Sepilok Orangutan Rehabilitation Centre

Rainforest Discovery Centre

Malaysian Palm Oil – Educational Program

Malaysian Palm Oil – The Road Ahead

Field Trip to Malaysian Palm Oil Plantations

Cook off using Palm Oil by MasterChef Jochen Kern

Wildlife and Nature in Mega-Diverse Malaysia