Until now, the potential of the palm industry benefits is still relatively low from its actual potential. The management of the supply chain from upstream to downstream industry is also still done partially, individually managed, and not yet very optimal. Palm plantation productivity is still far below its potential. Downstreaming of our oil palms is still in the early stage or very limited. There are still many processes in each chain that are inefficient, idle, and produce waste/pollutants into the environment. Utilization of byproducts which actually has economic value, in general has not been done optimally.
In other words, the management system and technology used in our oil palm industry has so far been partial and limited in its capacity to manage all the factors that affect maximum performance. As a result, production, profits, economic and social benefits are only sub-optimal and it still produces waste/pollution into the environment.
At the level of oil palm plantations, for example, the potential productivity of varieties planted so far has been around 8-12 tons of oil/ha (PPKS, 2017). While the realization of the productivity of oil palm plantations nationally is still 50 percent of this potential. Even in the smallholders’ oil palm plantations, the productivity is still much lower.
The low productivity realization reflects that the existing management system and technology are still limited in managing all the factors that affect productivity. For the first semester students of agricultural science, they fully understand that productivity (P) is contributed by genetic ability (G), environmental conditions (E), and genetic interactions with the environment (GE). These E and GE variables have not been fully managed by the existing management system in our oil palm plantations so that the productivity achieved is still far from what it should be.
In reality, this condition is easily observed, especially for plantations that are disciplined in maintaining farming records. For the same variety, which was planted at the same time in different garden blocks, even though the dosage of fertilizer has been used as the recommendations suggested and maintained to technical culture standards, it generally still results in sub-standard and varied fresh fruit bunches (FFB) productivity. Why is that? The answer is because there are still many factors that affect the productivity of FFB that we have not been managed as needed to maximize the growth and production of oil palm plants.
In addition to genetic factors/varieties, many factors affect FFB productivity. At the level of nutrient absorption by plant roots, for example, variations in dozens of chemical, physical, biological factors affect the availability and absorption of nutrients by plant roots. In the process of growth and production of oil palm plants, dozens of ecophysiological factors influence it, such as climate, temperature, sunlight intensity, length of exposure, humidity, and others. Likewise in the process of harvesting, transporting and processing in palm oil mills, there are still many factors that have not been successfully managed either.
Most of these factors have not been optimally managed according to the needs of oil palm plants. As a result, maximum productivity has not been achieved and even in the use of inputs such as fertilizer tends to be excessive. Various studies have revealed that around 60-70 percent of the Nitrogen fertilizer we use is not successfully absorbed by plants and is wasted polluting the environment in the form of methane and nitrogen oxide emissions.
More or less the same condition also occurs in all aspects of the supply chain in the downstream industry, transportation, trade, to the consumer level. Many factors have not been able to be managed by the limitations of the existing management system so that the benefits obtained are still far from what they should and even become unnecessary costs.
The solution presented by the Palm Oil Industry 4.0 is to manage all variables simultaneously in all aspects of the entire supply chain of the palm industry, from upstream to downstream industry in such a way, that production, profits, maximum social and economic benefits with minimum environmental waste/pollution. The Palm Oil industry 4.0 is a new comprehensive, effective and sustainable production methodology for each palm oil supply chain from upstream to downstream.
Palm Oil Industry 4.0, based on the use of knowledge and technology (innovation-driven) by integrating the main components namely Big Data, Artificial Intelligence, Human-Machine Interaction, Digital-to-Physical and biotechnology, to increase productivity, efficiency, added value , inclusiveness and minimizing pollution/emissions in a sustainable manner. In other words, the palm oil industry is also a new production method that can bring the palm industry to achieve sustainable development goals of the palm oil industry.
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