Estates owned by IOI are supported by a group of experienced agronomists who are located across four Research Centres, namely at Gemencheh, Batang Melaka; Pamol Research Station, Kluang; Ladang Sabah, Sandakan and Pamol Sabah. Their functions include advisory service for nurseries, immature and mature palm management as well as fertiliser requirement analysis. Their advisory services also extend to other IOI estates that plant other crops such as Sagil Estate which has coconuts and durians in addition to oil palms, as well as Gomali Estate and Paya Lang Estate which also plant rubber.
The team of agronomists also works closely with the estates to address the difficulties in complying to good agronomic practices, among others, on improving crop yields, studying the crop production in order to discern the best ways to plant, harvest and cultivate oil palms regardless of the climate (in this ever-changing climate) and also developing sustainable methods in controlling weeds and pests to keep crops disease-free them at bay. Product evaluation trials are also constantly conducted to ensure that procurement is always well-informed on the benefits and drawbacks of the various available products sold in the market.
Currently, the agronomic efforts are focused on restoring the soil fertility of IOI’s estates, in line with the company’s commitment towards sustainable palm oil production. Areas of interests include studies pertaining to the health of soil microbes and the enhancement of beneficial microbe-palm relationships. This could effectively reduce the need for excessive usage of chemical fertilisers while keeping the population of pathogens under control.