This post was originally published on July 30, 2021 and updated on September 23, 2021.

Malaysian oil palm farmers have used sustainable agricultural practices for more than 100 years. Now, the Malaysian Palm Oil Council (MPOC) is encouraging them to improve on their time-honored practices by incorporating new digitized agricultural technologies. 

MPOC is actively encouraging farmers to use satellite images and unmanned drones for tasks that lead to higher palm oil production without increasing the need for more land.

Oil palm farmers can use digital technology for such things as: 

  • Counting and assessing the health of their trees
  • Estimating the age of their trees, which influences how much fruit the tree will produce
  • Early detection of diseases or pests 
  • Monitoring for, and reporting, illegal deforestation 

Malaysia oil palm farmers already employ environmentally friendly practices such as using barn owls for pest control, and recycling old trees to reduce their need for chemical fertilizers. Using digital technology to make their farms even more efficient and productive will add to the already long list of reasons why palm oil is better for the environment than seed oils.

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