Renewal for plantation management
Mahbob Abdullah | 12 Jan 2018 00:30
Labour shortage is causing harvesting rounds to go beyond 20 days in many areas

NOW that we have entered the New Year, we can see how we can improve on the first hundred years of plantation management which itself was a big challenge. Planters in the early years had different sets of problems – surviving tiger attacks, diseases such as malaria, getting water supply from wells, and light from hurricane lamps, while a fridge may have been cooled using pink kerosene.

They supervised the estates and turned the rubber crop into a highly successful commodity which helped the economy in most years, thanks to high prices such as during the Korean War.

But rubber prices also experienced periods of low levels that are called slumps. Other crops were tried, including cocoa, but the one that succeeded was oil palm, which exists until today.

Yet, in moments of difficulties, I often asked how long the eventual good periods will last.

Today, we have our own set of problems. Everyone knows that margins are getting thinner as yield has not increased.