2016 in INDONESIA: Role of Boron in Cocoa Intensification - IPNI Cocoa Care Program

Project code: IDN-29

The overall purpose of this project is to strengthen and add additional value related to micronutrient boron to current efforts on sustainable intensification of cacao production systems, increasing the yield and profitability of smallholder cacao production systems in Indonesia and elsewhere in Southeast Asia. The provided resources enable the generation of boron nutrition information and knowledge dissemination processes that help farmers and the fertilizer industry to benefit from strong markets for cocoa. The provided resources make it possible that the project facilitates effective agronomic nutrient management in intensive cacao smallholder production systems through the development and deployment of 4R Nutrient Stewardship practices related to boron.

The project has commenced in September 2016 and will run until August 2019.

Treatment overview:
The provided support will be channeled to on farm trials that include Boron nutrition with 15 smallholder cacao farmers in the Soppeng / Bone area. Smallholders will be identified and integrated into ongoing IPNI Cocoa Care work. These cacao farmers will be trained both “in class” and “in field” how to implement good agricultural practices on their farms for maximum productivity. Where necessary, dead or non-productive cacao trees will be rehabilitated or replaced with the best available planting materials. Soil and leaf and fruit sampling will be undertaken within the farms to establish nutritional and other soil needs. The concept of 4R Nutrient Stewardship will be used to implement the nutrition program. There will be three treatment areas: 1- general good agricultural management practices, but will not receive fertilizer applications (GAP only). 2- good agricultural management practices plus Boron containing fertilizer applications (GAP fertilizer + Boron). 3- good agricultural management practices less Boron containing fertilizer applications (GAP fertilizer - Boron).

Results to date:
The 15 farms have been selected. Farm mapping and tree rehabilitation has been completed. Farmers received training at the Mars Cocoa Academy. Soil and tissue base line sampling has been conducted, and samples are being analyzed. Fertilizer recommendations have been developed, and fertilizers ordered. The first application of fertilizers will take place with the onset of the rains in Quarter 1 of 2017.

Importantly, the project will demonstrate to farmers the benefits of good agricultural practices, including fertilization with Boron, and thereby provide motivation to growers for management change.

More about: Southeast Asia Projects