The Malaysian Government has set up various incentives to help oil palm smallholders, including the Quality Oil Palm Seedlings Assistance Scheme, which was implemented in the 9th Malaysian Plan. The scheme was initially implemented in Sabah and Sarawak in 2005, and then it was introduced in Peninsular Malaysia in 2007. It was hoped that the scheme will improve smallholder productivity through yield improvement by planting good quality oil palm seedlings. This study was, therefore, conducted in Sabah and Sarawak as both states account for half the oil palm cultivated in Malaysia. The main objectives of the study were to determine the current yields achieved by participants in the scheme, and the factors affecting their fresh fruit bunch (FFB) yield. This is a quantitative study which applied the questionnaire approach to gather data from the interest group. The data were analysed by using SPSS 21, and a descriptive study, cross tabulation analysis, test of differences and linear regression analysis were employed. About 70% of the respondents had a farm size less than 4.00 hectares. Of these, 42.1% obtained a FFB yield of less than 22.4 t ha-1 yr-1, while 38.6% achieved yields between 22.5 and 28.9 t ha-1 yr-1. Eight factors were evaluated, but the regression analysis identified only four factors which significantly influenced the production of FFB by the recipients of the quality oil palm seedlings. These factors were management of fertilisers, farm size, harvesting, and services provided by the TUNAS officers.
Keywords: quality oil palm seedlings, assistance scheme, independent oil
palm smallholders, factors affecting yield.