Malaysia is the second largest producer of palm oil after Indonesia. In 2020, the oil palm planted area was at 5.87 million hectares from 5.90 million hectares in the previous year. The yield of oil palm at its productive age ranges from 22 to 24 tonnes of fresh fruit bunches (FFB) per hectare per year, with the potential of reaching up to 30 tonnes per hectare per year. This study was carried out because of the decline in FFB yield in Sabah in 2013 by around 16% to 15.49 tonnes per hectare as compared with the previous year. There were three objectives to this study, which were (i) to determine the agricultural practices that influence FFB yield among independent smallholders in Sabah; (ii) to determine the constraints faced by these independent smallholders and their effects on FFB yield; and (iii) to determine relationship between the various factors and FFB yield. Face-to-face interviews with 182 smallholders using structured questionnaires were adopted for this study. Analyses of the data from the study, which included descriptive analysis, crosstabulation analysis and correlation analysis, were conducted to provide answers to the set objectives. The results show that there were six factors that had significant effects on FFB yield of the independent smallholders. These factors included the level of education, monthly household income, farm management status, weeding, pests and nutrient deficiencies and agricultural input costs. The findings of this study are important as they can be used as guidelines by the relevant parties, such as MPOB or the government, to implement strategies to improve FFB yield of independent smallholders through the adoption of effective knowledge, the right attitude and skills, as well as social capital.
Received: 4 February 2021
Accepted: 4 August 2021
Available online: 30 September 2021
Page number: 22-34
Author: Ainul Shazwin Sahidan1 ; Ali Zuhusni Ali Nordin1 ; Kamalrudin Mohamed Salleh1 ; Amran Ariffin1 and Rahmawati Rasuddin1