20 Oct 2015

SEAP Quarterly Newsletter 2015 - 3

In this IssueImportance of Potassium in Banana
IPNI Program Updates
- Editorial: Importance of Potassium in Banana

- Haze: Background news and latest insights

- Review of IPNI SEAP publication on oil palm best practices

-Staff Update

News From the Region
-Cassava exports show upturn

- Myanmar farmers need help replanting rice after floods
- PH may save global cacao shortfall

- Prolonged Thailand drought threatens global rice shortage

- Lao farmers devastated by severe drought

Literature at a Glance
- Nitrogen use efficiency and nutrient performance indicators. GPNM Task Team Report and Recommendations

- Loss of Karma transposon methylation underlies the mantled somaclonal variant of oil palm

- Watershed-scale assessment of oil palm cultivation impact on water quality and nutrient fluxes: A case study in Sumatra (Indonesia)

- Trade-off between bird diversity and abundance, yields and revenue in smallholder oil palm plantations in Sumatra, Indonesia

- Retaining biodiversity in intensive farmland: epiphyte removal in oil palm plantations does not affect yield

- Information networks that generate economic value: study on adopters of new/ improved technologies among oil palm growers in Mexico

- Oil palm natural diversity and potential for yield improvement

- Water Footprint: fresh fruit bunch production for oil palm planted in Malaysia

IPNI SEAP in the Press
Upcoming Events
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Banana is harvested in over five million hectares worldwide with close to 107 million tons produced in 2013 globally, of which 18 million tons came from about 881,000 hectares in Southeast Asia (FAOSTAT, 2015). Average yield worldwide is 21 t/ha.

Bananas require large quantities of nitrogen (N), phosphorus (P), and potassium (K) in order to obtain high yields (Yao et al., 2009). Total nutrient uptake per ton of whole bunches of banana (Cavendish) ranged from 4-7 kg N, 0.9-1.6 kg P2O5 and 18-30 kg K2O (Wichmann, 1992; Ganeshamurthy et al., 2011). Nutrient levels in field studies indicate high K requirements compared to N or P (Table 1), with significant accumulation of K in fruit and plant tissues (Table 2).

Potassium is important in catalyzing critical reactions such as respiration, photosynthesis, chlorophyll formation, and water regulation (Mengel and Kirkby, 1987). Potassium is critical in water relations and in transport and accumulation of sugars in the plant (Mengel, 1997). With adequate K, bananas increase in vigor and disease resistance, improve fruit weight, and increase the number of fingers per bunch, and as well as weight and diameter of the middle fruit (Atim et al., 2013, Silva et al., 2013, Garcia et al., 1980). In addition, K stimulates earlier fruit shooting and shortens time to fruit maturity. Potassium also improves the storage quality of bananas.

In the soil, K is prone to losses as it is very mobile. Likewise, in the plant, K moves to the growing parts. When there is insufficient amount of K, deficiency is manifested in the older leaves of the plant, exhibited by an orange-yellow chlorosis of the leaves with brown patches. The midrib of the leaf curls so the tip of the leaf points to the base of the plant showing eventual death of the leaf tissue (Lahav, 1972; Murray, 1960). Potassium deficiency leads to deformation of bunches (short, stunted), with fewer fingers per hand and poor fruit filling (Turner and Bull, 1970). As K deficiency affects translocation of sugars and starch, fruit quality is poor (Lopez and Espinosa, 1998, Vadivelu and Shanmugavelu, 1978). Several studies (Okumu et al., 2011; Nyombi et al., 2010; Silva et al., 2013; Memon et al., 2010, Taulya, 2013) have shown that K is important in increasing banana yield and fruit quality, and improved fertilizer practices have been developed in many banana-growing countries (Memon et al., 2010; Lopez and Espinosa, 1998; Nyombi et al., 2010). Balanced nutrient management addresses the amount of nutrients removed in the harvested fruit, the nutrients existing in the soil, and nutrient losses (leaching, erosion, volatilization, denitrification).

The application of rather large amounts of nutrients required for high yields with marketable quality should follow 4R Nutrient Stewardship concepts (Yao et al., 2015). Soil and plant tissue analyses aid in determining nutrient deficiencies and critical values (Delvaux et al., 1987). Lahav and Turner (1983) set plant tissue critical values of 2.6% for N, 0.2% for P, and 3.0% for K (based on analysis of the leaf blade of the third leaf from the top of a fully grown banana). Soil exchangeable critical K values were low in soils with low base saturation (0.2 meq 100-1 g, Dabin and Leneuf, 1960) and high in soils highly saturated with Mg and Ca (1.0-1.2 meq 100-1 g, Turner et al., 1989; 1.5 meq 100-1 g, (Delvaux et al., 1987).

By Thomas Oberthur and Marianne Samson

Table 1. Nutrient levels in single banana plants from field experiments and in lysimeter studies at final bunch harvest. (Adapted from Turner and Barkus, 1983).

Dry weight
g plant -1
g plant -1
Trinidad Cul de Sac
St. Lucia Winban
St. Lucia Roseau
St. Lucia
St. Vincent

Table 2. Distribution and nutrient concentration of cavendish banana (Williams) in a lysimeter study with balanced amounts of nutrients applied. (Adapted from Turner and Barkus, 1983)

Pseudostem, corm, sucker and stalk
Proportional distribution (%)
Concentration in dry matter (%)


1. Atim, M., F. Beed, G. Tusiime, L.Tripathi, and P. van Asten. 2013. High potassium, calcium, and nitrogen application reduce susceptibility to banana Xanthomonas wilt caused by Xanthomonas campestris pv. musacearum. Plant Dis. 97:123-130.

2. Dabin, B., and N. Leneuf. 1960. Les sols de bananeraies en Cote d'Ivoire. [The soils of banana plantations in Ivory Coast]. Fruits 15:117-127.

3. Delvaux, B., A. Lassoudiere, X. Perrier, and J. Marchal. 1987. A methodology for the study of soil-plant cultivation technique relations - Results for banana-growing in Cameroon pp. 351-357. In: Galindo, J.J. (ed.). ACORBAT 85. Memorias VII Reunion.

4. Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, FAOSTAT database (FAOSTAT, 2015), available at http://faostat3.fao.org/download/Q/QC/E .

5. Ganeshamurthy, A.N., G.C. Satisha, and P. Patil. 2011. Potassium nutrition on yield and quality of fruit crops with special emphasis on banana and grapes. Karnataka J. Agric. Sci. 24:29-38.

6. Garcia, R., R. Guijarro, and B. Diaz. 1980. Changes in the nutritional status of banana due to the effect of potassium, on red soils in Cuba: their relations with yield and with the control in fertilizing. Potash Review 10:1-7.

7. Lahav, E. 1972. Effect of different amounts of potassium on the growth of the banana. Tropical Agriculture, Trinidad 49: 321-335.

8. Lahav, E., and D.W. Turner. 1983. Fertilizing for High Yield—Banana. International Potash Institute, Bulletin no. 7, Berne, Switzerland, p. 62.

9. Lopez, A., and J. Espinosa. 1998. Banana response to potassium. Better Crops International, 12:3-5

10. Memon, N., K.S. Memon, R. Anwar, A. Ahmad, and M. Nafees. 2010. Status and response to improved NPK fertilization practices in banana. Pak. J. Bot. 42: 2369-2381.

11. Mengel, K. (1997). In: Food Security in the WANA region, the essential need for balanced fertlization (Johnston, AE. ed.). Proceedings of the Regional Workshop of the International Potash Institute held at Bomova, Izmir, Turkey, 26-30 May 1997, IPI, Bern, Switzerland, pp. 157-174.

12. Mengel, K., and E.A. Kirkby. (1987). Principles of Plant Nutrition. 4th Edition. International Potash Institute, IPI, Bern, Switzerland, pp. 685.

13. Murray, D.B. 1960. The effect of deficiencies of the major nutrients on growth and leaf analysis of the banana. Tropical Agriculture, Trinidad 37: 97-106.

14. Nguthi, F.N. 2007. Adoption of agricultural innovations by smallholder farmers in the context of HIV/AIDS: the case of tissue cultured bananas in Kenya. PhD thesis, Wageningen University, The Netherlands.

15. Nyombi, K., P.J.A. van Asten, M. Corbeels, G. Taulya, P.A. Leffelaar, and K.E. Giller. 2010. Mineral fertilizer response and nutrient use efficiencies of East African highland banana (Musa spp., AAA-EAHB, cv. Kisansa). Field Crops Research 117:38–50.

16. Okumu, M.O., P.J.A. van Asten, E. Kahangi, S.H. Okech, J. Jefwa, and B. Vanlauwe. 2011. Production gradients in smallholder banana (cv. Giant Cavendish) farms in Central Kenya. Sci. Hortic. 127:475–481

17. Qaim, M. 1999. A socioeconomic outlook on tissue culture technology in Kenyan banana production. Biotechnol. Dev. Monit. 40:18–22.

18. Silva, I.P, J.T.A. Silva, P.J. Pinho, A.L. Rodas, and J.G. Carvalho. 2013. Vegetative development and yield of the banana cv. ‘Prata Anã’ as a function of magnesium and potassium fertilization. Idesia (Chile) 31:83-88

19. Smithson, P.C., B.D. McIntyre, C.S. Gold, H. Ssali, and I.N. Kashaija. 2001. Nitrogen and potassium fertilizer vs. nematode and weevil effects on yield and foliar nutrient status of banana in Uganda. Nutr. Cycl. Agroecosyst. 59:239–250.

20. Taulya, G. 2013. East African highland bananas (Musa spp. AAA-EA) ‘worry’ more about potassium deficiency than drought stress. Field Crops Research 151:45–55.

21. Turner, D.W. and B. Barkus. 1983. The uptake and distribution of mineral nutrients in the banana in response to the supply of K, Mg and Mn. Fertilizer Research 4:89-99.

22. Turner, D.W. and Bull, J.H. 1970. Some fertiliser problems with bananas. Agricultural Gazette NSW 81: 365-367.

23. Turner, D.W., C. Korawis, and A.D. Robson. 1989. Soil analysis and its relationship with leaf analysis and banana yield with special reference to a study at Carnarvon, Western Australia, Fruits 44: 193-203.

24. Vadivelu, E. and K.G.Shanmugavelu. 1978. Effect of increasing rates of potash on the quality of banana cv. Robusta. Potash Review 24: 1-4.

25. van Asten, P.J.A., C.S. Gold, S.H. Okech, S.V. Gaidashova, W.K. Tushemereirwe, and D. De Waele. 2004. Soil quality problems in East African banana systems and their relation with other yield loss factors. InfoMusa 13:20–23.

26. Vanlauwe, B., N. Sanginga, J. Jefwa, E. Kahangi, L.K. Rutto, D. Odee, C. Gichuki, E. Kibugu, D. Mubiru, H. Ssali, P. Van Asten, S. Okech, C. Gold, and A. Elsen. 2005. Exploration of Integrated Soil fertility management for banana production and marketing in Uganda and Kenya: Arbuscular Mycorrhizal Fungi help establishment and production of tissue culture banana—Final report phase I, January 2004–February 2005.

27. Wairegi, L.W.I., P.J. van Asten, C. Kiwanuka, M. Tenywa, and M. Bekunda. 2007. Assessment of soil management practices in East African highland cooking banana (Musa spp. AAA-EA) systems in Uganda. Paper presented at AFNET workshop, Arusha, Tanzania.

28. Wichmann, W. 1992. World Fertilizer Use Manual. International Fertilizer Industry Association, Paris, France.

29. Yao, L., G. Li, B. Yang, and S. Tu. 2009. Optimal fertilization of banana for high yield, quality and nutrient use efficiency. Better Crops, 93: 10-15.

30. Yao, L., G. Li, and S. Tu. 2015. 4R nutrient management for banana in China. Better Crops, 99: 11-13

Haze: Background information and latest insights
The current haze affecting people in Southeast Asia, specifically Malaysia, Indonesia and Singapore has led to debate and accusations as to who is/ is not responsible for the forest fires. Analyses by Erik Meijaard and Timo Duile have sought to address the issues and they reveal interesting insights into this complex situation. Concerted efforts can address the issues, but there will not be a single silver bullet that solves the problem as the haze has several source points. Meijaard's recent articles explain the origin sources for the haze (Get your facts right on Indonesia's haze problem) and the impact of the haze (Indonesia's fire crisis: The biggest environmental crime of the 21st century).

Duile states that it is insufficient to focus solely on palm oil companies, and neither is it right to blame traditional shifting cultivation, indigenous people and peasants. He added that the Indonesian haze problem should be perceived as a symptom of a wider system of economic and political aims, characterized by claims to develop rural areas but actually serving export-oriented industries and resulting in the destruction of the environment. He further points out that a dialogue is required that goes beyond the interests of individual industries and attempts to reconcile the objectives of diverse land use and farming groups within the framework of sustainable development. (Commentary: The real roots of Indonesia's haze problems)

For further reference, here are three interesting scientific publications of recent years that may help you better understand the current situation:

  • Major atmospheric emissions from peat fires in Southeast Asia during non-drought years: evidence from the 2013 Sumatran fires

Emissions in non-drought years in SEA.pdfEmissions in non-drought years in SEA.pdf
  • Fire emissions and regional air quality impacts from fires in oil palm, timber, and logging concessions in Indonesia

Fire emissions and regional air quality.pdfFire emissions and regional air quality.pdf
  • Fire, people and pixels: linking social science and remote sensing to understand underlying causes and impacts of fire in Indonesia

Fire, people and pixels.pdfFire, people and pixels.pdf
Review of IPNI SEAP publication on oil palm best practices
IPNI SEAP publication Oil Palm: Best Management Practices for Yield Intensification was reviewed by Mr. Sheng Bin Chiu and featured in the July 2015 issue of The Planter, published by the Incorporated Society of Planters (ISP). Excerpts from the review (enclosed below):

"This book reaches out and grabs the planter, the planter who genuinely wants to advance in his career and run a top-notch estate. At the end of each chapter is a bullet summary of the important points for 'practical planters'. You can also view this book as a recipe book for increasing ffb (fresh fruit bunches) and oil yield per hectare. This book is written with confidence and clarity that comes with hands-on experience. "

BMP Book Review in The Planter 7-2015.pdf

Click here to learn more about the publication Oil Palm: Best Management Practices for Yield Intensification.
Staff Update
We are pleased to introduce to all our friends, partners and colleagues our new Administrative and Training Program Executive, Ms. Monique Neoh. Monique holds a Bachelor of Business Administration degree and joins IPNI SEAP with eight years experience as Portfolio Associate from the WorldFish Center HQ. We welcome her warmly into the IPNI family.
News from the Region
Cassava exports show upturn
Vietnam fetched US$84 million from exporting 235,000 tonnes of cassava and tapioca products in September, bringing the total exports volume to 3.27 million tonnes worth US$1.03 billion in nine months, up 28.4% in volume and 24.3% in value.

Source: Vietnam Breaking News, September 28, 2015
Myanmar farmers need help replanting rice after floods
Farmers in flood-hit Myanmar face a scramble to replant damaged paddy fields in the next two weeks to avoid food shortages, and aid efforts in some of the country's hardest hit areas remain a challenge, the United Nations said on Saturday.

Source: Reuters, August 15, 2015
PH may save global cacao shortfall
Shortfall of cacao has been projected to hit global supply. Cacao, also known as cocoa, is the main raw material in making chocolate. Can you imagine a world without chocolates? With cacao production in Africa under question due to child labor issues, the world’s attention is now focused on Asia, especially the Philippines as a potential major source of cacao.

Source: Manila Bulletin, August 9, 2015
Prolonged Thailand drought threatens global rice shortage
Prolonged drought in Thailand may lead to a shortage in world rice supply if adaptation methods to raise rice production are not taken, scientists warn. The drought is putting pressure on Thailand’s economy, the word’s largest rice exporter. Although the nation’s Royal Irrigation Department has estimated rainfall in late July, farmers have been advised to delay planting until August to meet water demands for public consumption.

Source: SciDevNet, July 20, 2015
Lao farmers devastated by severe drought
A lack of rainfall and scorching heat is destroying the livelihoods of Lao farmers, who say their crops are dying amid an ongoing drought in the Southeast Asian region linked to the El Niño phenomenon. The drought since May has left those in Laos who rely on agriculture to earn a living high and dry, with one rice farmer in the capital Vientiane telling RFA’s Lao Service that this year’s rainy season has been a total wash.

Source: Radio Free Asia, July 17, 2015
Literature at a Glance
Nitrogen use efficiency and nutrient performance indicators. GPNM Task Team Report and Recommendations
The Task Team recommends using Nitrogen Use Efficiency (NUE) to describe partial nutrient balance (also referred to as removal/use or output/input ratio) and note that it can be configured in different ways to show the current starting point (benchmark) from which future improvements can be assessed (progress indicator). NUE can be expressed at different scales from the farm to the country level. Neither a high nor a low NUE is an implicit target, but raising low values, which usually indicate inefficient use of added nitrogen, and lowering very high values, which usually indicates mining of soil nitrogen, will require appropriate interventions at the farm level, so that the farmer engagement is important in achieving progress. The task team recognizes that NUE relates to production and soil health, so it needs to be put in context to other indicators. We also note that significant lags between improvements in NUE and reductions in N pollution of groundwater and surface waters may occur, but nevertheless, increases in NUE and reductions of surplus N in agriculture should eventually lead to lower N pollution. - Norton, R., E. Davidson and T. Roberts
Source: Position paper from the GPNM’s Task Team Workshop, December 8, 2014 held at Washington, DC.
Loss of Karma transposon methylation underlies the mantled somaclonal variant of oil palm
Somaclonal variation arises in plants and animals when differentiated somatic cells are induced into a pluripotent state, but the
resulting clones differ from each other and from their parents. In agriculture, somaclonal variation has hindered the micropropagation of elite hybrids and genetically modified crops, but the mechanism responsible remains unknown1. The oil palm fruit ‘mantled’ abnormality is a somaclonal variant arising from tissue culture that drastically reduces yield, and has largely halted efforts to clone elite hybrids for oil production2–4. Widely regarded as an epigenetic phenomenon5, ‘mantling’ has defied explanation, but here we identify the MANTLED locus using epigenome-wide association studies of the African oil palm Elaeis guineensis. DNA hypomethylation of a LINE retrotransposon related to rice Karma, in the intron of the homeotic geneDEFICIENS, is common to all mantled clones and is associated with alternative splicing and premature termination. Dense methylation near the Karma splice site (termed the Good Karma epiallele) predicts normal fruit set, whereas hypomethylation (the Bad Karma epiallele) predicts homeotic transformation, parthenocarpy and marked loss of yield. Loss of Karma methylation and of small RNA in tissue culture contributes to the origin of mantled, while restoration in spontaneous revertants accounts for non-Mendelian inheritance. The ability to predict and cull mantling at the plantlet stage will facilitate the introduction of higher performing clones and optimize environmentally sensitive land resources. - Ong-Abdullah,M. et al.
Source: Nature 525 (7570):533-7, 2015
Watershed-scale assessment of oil palm cultivation impact on water quality and nutrient fluxes: A case study in Sumatra (Indonesia)
Abstract: High fertilizer input is necessary to sustain high yields in oil palm agroecosystems, but it may endanger neighboring aquatic ecosystems when excess nutrients are transported to waterways. In this study, the hydrochemical dynamics of groundwater and streams under baseflow conditions were evaluated with bi-monthly measurements for 1 year on 16 watersheds. Hydrochemical measurements were related to the spatial distribution of soil and fertilization practices across a landscape of 100 km(2), dominated by oil palm cultivation, in Central Sumatra, Indonesia. The low nutrient concentrations recorded in streams throughout the landscape indicated that the mature oil palm plantations in this study did not contribute to eutrophication of aquatic ecosystems. This was ascribed to high nutrient uptake by oil palm, a rational fertilizer program, and dilution of nutrient concentrations due to heavy rainfall in the study area. Soil type controlled dissolved inorganic N and total P fluxes, with greater losses of N and P from loamy-sand uplands than loamy lowlands. Organic fertilization helped to reduce nutrient fluxes compared to mineral fertilizers. However, when K inputs exceeded the oil palm requirement threshold, high K export occurred during periods when groundwater had a short residence time. For higher nutrient use efficiency in the long term, the field-scale fertilizer management should be complemented with a landscape-scale strategy of fertilizer applications that accounts for soil variability. - Comte, I., F. Colin, O. Grunberger, J.K. Whalen, R.H. Widodo, and J.P. Caliman
Source: Environmental Science and Pollution Research, Volume 22 (10): 7676 - 7695, 2015
Trade-off between bird diversity and abundance, yields and revenue in smallholder oil palm plantations in Sumatra, Indonesia
Abstract: Global land-use change has drastic consequences for biodiversity leading to losses of ecological functioning, ecosystem services and human well-being. While species dependent on undisturbed natural habitat are most affected by conversion to agriculture, even populations of disturbance-tolerant species can be endangered in landscapes dominated by high-input mono-cultural cropping systems. This has raised the question of how, and at what cost, a diversity of species can be conserved in such habitats. Focusing on birds of smallholder oil palm-dominated landscapes, we investigated the relationship between the ecological and economic outcomes of remnant or planted trees in smallholder oil palm plantations. The study comprised a household and a field component. We gathered plot specific data on yields, revenue and inputs from 120 households owning productive oil palm plantations in the Jambi Province, Sumatra, Indonesia. Bird diversity and abundance as well as vegetation structure was assessed on the same oil palm plots. We tested the effects of a set of economic and ecological variables on measures of bird diversity, bird abundance, oil palm yield, and total revenue. Our results show that a gain in bird diversity and bird abundance conditional on increases in number of trees comes along with a loss in revenue for farmers indicating that there is a win lose relationship between ecological and economic functions. However, since the relationship is non-linear, costs for bird species gain or gain in bird abundance change depending on the number of trees within an oil palm plantation: in a relatively extensively managed oil palm plantation (high number of trees, low oil palm yields), a further increase in the number of bird species or individuals leads to a relatively high loss in total revenue, whereas in an intensively managed oil palm plantation the same increase in number of bird species results in a smaller loss in revenue. An increase in bird abundance can be fostered at smaller costs when compared to the costs for increasing biodiversity. This suggests that there is room for tree-based enrichment of intensively managed oil palm plantations, where a relatively high increase in bird species richness or bird abundance could be achieved at relatively low cost. - Teuscher, M., M. Vorlaufer, M. Wollni, U. Brose, Y. Mulyani, and Y. Clough

Source: Biological Conservation, Volume 186: 306 - 318, 2015
Retaining biodiversity in intensive farmland: epiphyte removal in oil palm plantations does not affect yield
Abstract: The expansion of agriculture into tropical forest frontiers is one of the primary drivers of the global extinction crisis, resulting in calls to intensify tropical agriculture to reduce demand for more forest land and thus spare land for nature. Intensification is likely to reduce habitat complexity, with profound consequences for biodiversity within agricultural landscapes. Understanding which features of habitat complexity are essential for maintaining biodiversity and associated ecosystem services within agricultural landscapes without compromising productivity is therefore key to limiting the environmental damage associated with producing food intensively. Here, we focus on oil palm, a rapidly expanding crop in the tropics and subject to frequent calls for increased intensification. One promoted strategy is to remove epiphytes that cover the trunks of oil palms, and we ask whether this treatment affects either biodiversity or yield. We experimentally tested this by removing epiphytes from four-hectare plots and seeing if the biodiversity and production of fruit bunches 2 months and 16 months later differed from equivalent control plots where epiphytes were left uncut. We found a species-rich and taxonomically diverse epiphyte community of 58 species from 31 families. Epiphyte removal did not affect the production of fresh fruit bunches, or the species richness and community composition of birds and ants, although the impact on other components of biodiversity remains unknown. We conclude that as they do not adversely affect palm oil production, the diverse epiphyte flora should be left uncut. Our results underscore the importance of experimentally determining the effects of habitat complexity on yield before introducing intensive methods with no discernible benefits. - Prescott, G.W., D.P. Edwards, and W.A. Foster
Source: Ecology and Evolution, Volume 5 (10): 1944 - 1954, 2015
Information networks that generate economic value: study on adopters of new/ improved technologies among oil palm growers in Mexico
Abstract: The area under cultivation of oil palm has undergone considerable growth in Mexico, but yields are far below their potential. This is related to the low rate of adoption of new or improved technologies and practices in areas such as plantation management and farm administration. This study determines the factors that have an influence on adoption of new or improved technologies and practices and their relationship with the generation of economic value of oil palm. A cluster analysis of 33 key new or improved technologies and practices adopted by 104 growers was performed, and the main adoption categories and the variables influencing adoption are described. The results indicate that three clusters of growers can be discerned that differ in terms of their levels of adoption. The highest level of adoption of new or improved technologies and practices is related to higher yields and vice versa. The new or improved technologies and practices that differentiate the cluster of the advanced adopters from the cluster of the basic adopters are those related to plantation health, grower associations and production unit management. The cluster of the intermediate adopters is outstanding for their levels of adoption of new or improved technologies and practices in the aspects of plant nutrition, harvest, and genetics and reproduction. The advanced adopters set up better links for getting information, generally from their extensionists. The three clusters each exhibit a great degree of homophily, indicating little information flow between the different clusters of growers, while these can learn from each other. These results make it evident that better articulation among different clusters of growers and other actors should be encouraged, and that diversified and tailor-made extension strategies should be designed to optimally support different clusters of growers. - Aguilar-Gallegos, N., M. Munoz-Rodriguez, H. Santoyo-Cortes, J. Aguilar-Avila and L. Klerkx

Source: Agricultural Systems, Volume 135: 122 - 132, 2015

Oil palm natural diversity and potential for yield improvement
Abstract: African oil palm has the highest productivity amongst cultivated oleaginous crops. Species can constitute a single crop capable to fulfill the growing global demand for vegetable oils, which is estimated to reach 240 million tons by 2050. Two types of vegetable oil are extracted from the palm fruit on commercial scale. The crude palm oil and kernel palm oil have different fatty acid profiles, which increases versatility of the crop in industrial applications. Plantations of the current varieties have economic life-span around 25-30 years and produce fruits around the year. Thus, predictable annual palm oil supply enables marketing plans and adjustments in line with the economic forecasts. Oil palm cultivation is one of the most profitable land uses in the humid tropics. Oil palm fruits are the richest plant source of pro-vitamin A and vitamin E. Hence, crop both alleviates poverty, and could provide a simple practical solution to eliminate global pro-vitamin A deficiency. Oil palm is a perennial, evergreen tree adapted to cultivation in biodiversity rich equatorial land areas. The growing demand for the palm oil threatens the future of the rain forests and has a large negative impact on biodiversity. Plant science faces three major challenges to make oil palm the key element of building the future sustainable world. The global average yield of 3.5 tons of oil per hectare (t) should be raised to the full yield potential estimated at 11-18t. The tree architecture must be changed to lower labor intensity and improve mechanization of the harvest. Oil composition should be tailored to the evolving needs of the food, oleochemical and fuel industries. The release of the oil palm reference genome sequence in 2013 was the key step toward this goal. The molecular bases of agronomically important traits can be and are beginning to be understood at the single base pair resolution, enabling gene-centered breeding and engineering of this remarkable crop. - Barcelos, E., S.D. Rios, R.N.V. Cunha, R. Lopes, S.Y. Motoike, E. Babiychuk, A. Skirycz and S. Kushnir
Source: Frontiers in Plant Science, Volume 6, no. 190, 2015
Water Footprint: fresh fruit bunch production for oil palm planted in Malaysia
Abstract: Water accounting across the production of fresh fruit bunch (FFB) in the oil palm's life cycle is gaining momentum arising from the importance placed on the need to quantify water footprint (WE). This article quantifies the WE of FFB production from oil palms grown in some areas in Malaysia, from an inventory data gathered from 2009-2012. The WE methodology of Hoekstra et al. (2009) was applied for calculating WE of FFB production. The data for crop evapotranspiration (ET) of 5.5 mm per day (Roslan and Mohd Haniff, 2004) was used to calculate green and blue WF. The results showed that for oil palm, the FFB yield average of 25-year life span was 20.7 t ha(-1) yr(-1). The FFB production WE was 1166 m(3) t(-1) FFB (WFgreen' 1055; WFblue' 3.56; and WFgrey' 107 m(3) t(-1)). The results showed that the green WE was higher than the grey or the blue WE as planting of oil palm in Malaysia is without irrigation. Oil palm requires a lot of green water (rain water), but when the amount of rain water is lower than ET, it becomes necessary to determine the water deficit of the soil in the oil palm-growing areas. This is to ensure that any shortcoming of water can be provided through irrigation. - Hashim, Z., H. Muhamad, V. Subramaniam, and C.Y. May
Source: Journal of Oil Palm Research, Volume 26 (4): 282 - 291, 2014
New Entries to the IPNI Library
We have also updated our SEAP Reference Database with references dealing mainly with the following topics: oil palm, cocoa, and nutrient and fertilizer management. For a complete listing of these references, please click on the attachment below.
New Entries to RM September 2015.pdf
Upcoming Events
Webinar Series - Soil Acidity Evaluation and Management
Dr. Luis Prochnow, Director IPNI Brasil Program
28 October 2015
13th Annual Roundtable Conference on Sustainable Palm Oil
16 - 19 November 2015

Bangkok, Thailand
Moringa Symposium and Congress “Moringa: a decade of advances in research and development”
19 Nov 2015 - 22 Nov 2015

Manila, Philippines
11th Indonesian Palm Oil Conference
25 Nov 2015 - 27 Nov 2015

Bali, Indonesia
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