Harvesting is a very important activity in oil palm cultivation. Efficient harvesting ensures that high quality fresh fruit bunches (FFB) are sent to the mill quickly for processing to produce high quality oil with low free fatty acids (FFA). Efficient harvesting can be achieved by at least two factors; i.e. efficient harvesting tool and sufficient harvesters to cater to harvesting rounds of 10 to 12 days as recommended. A difficulty in getting skilled harvesters and ways on how to improve harvesting productivity has become a necessity. The current manual harvesting (using a sickle or chisel) can only produce 50 to 60 FFB hr-1. Estates are now looking for more efficient harvesting tools which can double the productivity in order to increase individual daily harvesting productivity and finally reducing the number of workers. MPOB has produced two motorized cutters – Cantas® and Cantas® – to harvest palms <5 m and 5 – 8 m tall, respectively. Cantas®, introduced in 2006, has been well received by the industry, doubling the income of the operator. Cantas® was introduced in 2007 for taller palms and the feedback from its initial use has been positive. However, Cantas® and Cantas® are only for harvesting palms at least 2 m tall, and there remains a void for shorter palms. Therefore, a cutter has been developed to fill the void – the CkatTM.
Main Research: Abd Razak Jelani