Harvesting Fresh Fruit Bunches (FFB)

Certified Sustainable Palm Oil Company

Sime Darby Plantation are actively looking for a solution to harvest fresh fruit bunches (FFB) from the oil palm tree.



Sime Darby Plantation Berhad (SDP) is the largest listed Palm Oil plantation company with a global operation across 16 countries and the world’s largest producer of Certified Sustainable Palm Oil (CSPO).

SDP is involved in the full spectrum of the palm oil value chain including 780,000 hectares (ha) of landbank across Malaysia, Indonesia, Papua New Guinea (PNG) and the Solomon Islands (SI). In the Downstream sector, Sime Darby Oils’ business philosophy in the manufacturing of a comprehensive range of sustainable palm oil based products is to maintain the highest quality at all times.

Committed to operational excellence, innovation and sustainability, SDP is focusing on initiatives to improve every aspect of our value chain; from developing quality planting materials and environmental-friendly fertilisers to enhancing the systems and processes in cultivating, harvesting and milling, to manufacturing not only high quality but also traceable refined palm oil and palm kernel products. 

Oil palm estate operation has always depended on manual labor in many aspects of its operations. SDP is currently strengthening its operational excellence with strategies such as automation, mechanization and digitalization. SDP have also invested in digital innovations mainly to automate various processes, mechanization and data analytics. The objective is to further improve efficiencies, productivity and cost saving while enhancing output for better value and to be able to increase production without further deforestation.

Click here to learn more about Sime Darby Plantation.


SDP is actively looking for a solution to harvest fresh fruit bunches (FFB) from the oil palm tree. Current processes involve a skilled harvester cutting FFB from the tree using a long harvesting pole attached to a sickle. The harvesting process requires physical strength, skilful and experienced worker to identify and cut ripe FFB (click here for harvesting video). Palm oil estate operations have been depending on these skilled harvesters who are mostly imported labour.

Covid-19 has a huge impact in the palm oil industry especially on the shortage of foreign labor supply due to border closures. SDP is looking for a mechanized solution to harvest FFB. The solution must aim to satisfy the criteria below: - 

  1. Reduce labor dependency
  2. Improve harvesting productivity
  3. Adhere to safety guidelines

We are interested in the solutions related to the key areas of: -

  1. Drone or Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV) technology
  2. Unmanned Ground Vehicle (UGV) technology
  3. Cutting mechanism eg. laser, motorized cutter

SDP will share more information related to harvesting to the interested organizations and companies.

What's in it for you?

Sime Darby Plantation welcomes innovative minds from all over the world as we continuously search for new and better ways to address the complex business challenges which we face. SDP is open to collaborate with organizations and companies to co-develop the idea and its path to implementing solutions that encourages efficient production of sustainable palm oil.

The outcome of this innovation challenge could potentially revolutionize the industry as innovative solutions to the problem would lead to higher productivity and allow the industry to grow without having to create further deforestation due to landbank expansion.

If you are up for the challenge, please click “Apply” to submit your ideas/expertise to the Network.