Oil Palm Industry Economic Journal Vol. 8 (2) September 2008 p. 28-38

Chemical Weed Control in the Oil Palm Sector with Particular Reference to Smallholders and Nursery Operators

Faizah Mohd Shariff and Ayat K Ab Rahman
Received:    Accepted:    Available Online:


This article attempts to assess the impact to the oil palm smallholders and the nursery operators when there is a change from using paraquat to other kinds of weed killers in the oil palm and nursery areas. Surveys via face-to-face interviews with independent smallholders and 56 nursery operators were conducted. The study found that the impact of paraquat was insignificant among the smallholders, with only 0.65%, 1.30% and 0.32% having problems related to skin, nose bleeds and nails, respectively. The cost comparison of spraying herbicides in the smallholders’ areas revealed that RM 221/ha/yr was incurred when using paraquat while RM 365/ha/yr was spent with the use of Round-up. At the nursery, annual spraying using paraquat and Basta incurred costs of RM 492.74/ha and RM 763.44/ha, respectively. The study revealed significantly that both the smallholders and the nursery operators were knowledgeable about the danger and handling of herbicides. Paraquat was the most preferred herbicide because it neither reduced the productivity of the oil palms nor affected the growth of the oil palm seedlings. It was also claimed that the use of paraquat helped to improve the texture of the soil. This indirectly led to efficient uptake of fertilizers and hence increased productivity of the oil palms.

About Post Author

* Malaysian Palm Oil Board,
P.O. Box 10620,
50720 Kuala Lumpur,