Input–output optimisation model for sustainable oil palm plantation development

Steve Z. Y. Foong, Carmen K. M. Goh, Christina V. Supramaniam, Denny K. S. Ng*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

32 Citations (SciVal)


Due to the increase in global demand for palm oil products, the oil palm industry has continued to expand in the past decades. Continuous production of fresh fruit bunches in oil palm plantation is essential to meet this growing demand. Meanwhile, the productivity of plantations is highly dependent on the supply of resources (e.g., water, fertilisers and sunlight) and on proper plantation management systems. The harvested fresh fruit bunches from oil palm plantations have to be immediately sent to palm oil mills to ensure the quality of the crude palm oil and crude palm kernel oil. In this study, oil palm plantation operations are optimised using an input–output model to determine maximum yield with minimum plantation size and greenhouse gases emissions. Multiple scenarios can be incorporated in the proposed model. To illustrate the proposed model, a case study of an oil palm plantation supplying fresh fruit bunches for a 60 t/h capacity palm oil mill in Malaysia is presented. Various plantation management practices with different resources supply constraints are considered. Based on the optimised result, the sustainability of a plantation is greatly improved. The plantation area needed to meet the requirement of the palm oil mill is reduced by 24% when using combined organic and inorganic fertilisers. A significant drop in greenhouse gases emissions from 282.95 to 200.73 kt CO2e/y can thus be achieved. This result implies that widespread use of such optimal practices can help meet growing global demand without the need to convert pristine ecosystems into new plantations.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)31-46
Number of pages16
JournalSustainable Production and Consumption
Early online date7 Sep 2018
Publication statusPublished - Jan 2019


  • Fresh fruit bunch
  • Inorganic fertiliser
  • Organic fertiliser
  • Palm oil
  • Plantation management

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Environmental Engineering
  • Environmental Chemistry
  • Renewable Energy, Sustainability and the Environment
  • Industrial and Manufacturing Engineering


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