18 Apr 2018

IPNI SEAP Quarterly Newsletter 2018 - 1

Quarter 1, 2018


Sneak Preview: IPNI Oil Palm Pocket Guides - 4R Series
Coming soon! Four new pocket guides. Look out for our press release when the books are launched in the 2nd quarter of 2018.


Food Aid 2018: The Never-ending Crisis
“According to the UN’s Global Humanitarian Overview for 2018, some $22.5 billion in aid will be required in the coming year to help 90.9 million of the 135.7 million vulnerable people in need of assistance and protection.
Funding can’t keep pace with need, so where are the biggest gaps and which groups are missing out most? This special IRIN report focuses on those who are most food insecure – those on the frontline of humanitarian emergencies who don’t know where their next meal is coming from.”

Source: IRIN News, accessed April 5, 2018

Indonesia Palm Oil Exports to India Seen at Record on Demand
“Palm oil exports from Indonesia to India, the world’s biggest buyer, will probably climb to the highest ever this year as strong demand counters higher import duties. Shipments of palm and kernel oils to India climbed 32 percent to record 7.6 million metric tons in 2017 from a year earlier, according to the Indonesian Palm Oil Association, commonly known as Gapki.”

Source: Bloomberg, February 5, 2018

Indonesia, Malaysia Palm Oil Output to Rise in 2018; May Pressure Prices
“Palm oil output in the world's top two producing countries is forecast to climb to new highs this year as output fully recovers from its El Nino-stunted 2017 level, pushing 2018 average prices down by 7 percent from last year, a Reuters poll showed.”

Source: The Star Online, January 29, 2018

Unilever to Increase Sustainable Palm Oil Production in Indonesia
“Global consumer goods firm Unilever has struck a deal with a government-owned palm oil plantation firm in Indonesia to create a support framework that enables local mills and smallholders to produce palm oil according to standards of no deforestation and no peatland deterioration.”

Source: Edie. Net, January 26, 2018

The EU, Malaysian Smallholders and Big Data-informed Sustainability
“Palm oil is no stranger to controversy and negative market views — including from non-governmental organisations — in the EU and the US. Despite efforts by palm oil exporters to deliver products with high greenhouse gas emission savings (as certified by the International Sustainability and Carbon Certification [ISCC] association), the EU Parliament’s plenary vote on Jan 17 on renewable energy calls for no palm oil in biofuel from 2021; affirming earlier committee-level results.”

Source: The Edge Markets, January 23, 2018

KTIS Expects an Increase in 2018 Sugarcane: Sugar Volumes after Vibrant Growth of Over 15 Billion in 2017
“KTIS Group, a leader in sugar and related industries, believes that the 2017/2018 production season will see even more crushed cane volume fed to mills than the previous one, driving all relevant industries such as sugar, pulp, ethanol, and power. In the first nine month of this year, the revenue has reached 15,305.3 million baht, greater than that of the entire 2016, with the profit of 1,140.2 million baht, 4,307% greater than the same time of the previous year.”

Source: Sugar Asia Magazine, January 15, 2018

Vietnam's Rice Export Surges in 2017
“Vietnam exported roughly 5.9 million tons of rice worth nearly 2.7 billion U.S. dollars in 2017, posting respective year-on-year rises of 20.5 percent and 20.8 percent. Of the rice volume, nearly 40 percent went to China, and 9.3 percent to the Philippines, according to the General Department of Vietnam Customs on Tuesday.”

Source: XinhuaNet, January 2, 2018

This is Where We Should Invest to Keep Hunger at Bay
“….the most pertinent question is where should we invest to enhance food security and thereby help to slow down migration?
Last June, ADB organized an international workshop on knowledge solutions for food security and agricultural transformation. The broad conclusion was that agriculture as a sector rarely innovates itself, but rather benefits from other branches of science. New opportunities can come from new technology such as drones or remote sensors.
However, shifting to knowledge-intensive agriculture faces many formidable hurdles. Participants in the workshop identified 4 priority areas for investment to overcome these obstacles and promote food security.”

Source: World Economic Forum, accessed April 5, 2018

50 Most Important Life-Saving Breakthroughs in History
“For most of civilized history, life expectancy fluctuated in the 30 to 40 year range. Child mortality was all too common, and even for those that made it to adulthood, a long and healthy life was anything but guaranteed. Sanitation was poor, disease was rampant, and many medical practices were based primarily on superstition or guesswork.
By the 20th century, an explosion in new technologies, treatments, and other science-backed practices helped to increase global life expectancy at an unprecedented rate.
From 1900 to 2015, global life expectancy more than doubled, shooting well past the 70 year mark.”

Source: Visual Capitalist, March 26, 2018


Pursuing sustainable productivity with millions of smallholder farmers
Abstract: Sustainably feeding a growing population is a grand challenge, and one that is particularly difficult in regions that are dominated by smallholder farming. Despite local successes, mobilizing vast smallholder communities with science- and evidence-based management practices to simultaneously address production and pollution problems has been infeasible. Here we report the outcome of concerted efforts in engaging millions of Chinese smallholder farmers to adopt enhanced management practices for greater yield and environmental performance. First, we conducted field trials across China’s major agroecological zones to develop locally applicable recommendations using a comprehensive decision-support program. Engaging farmers to adopt those recommendations involved the collaboration of a core network of 1,152 researchers with numerous extension agents and agribusiness personnel. From 2005 to 2015, about 20.9 million farmers in 452 counties adopted enhanced management practices in fields with a total of 37.7 million cumulative hectares over the years. Average yields (maize, rice and wheat) increased by 10.8–11.5%, generating a net grain output of 33 million tonnes (Mt). At the same time, application of nitrogen decreased by 14.7–18.1%, saving 1.2 Mt of nitrogen fertilizers. The increased grain output and decreased nitrogen fertilizer use were equivalent to US$12.2 billion. Estimated reactive nitrogen losses averaged 4.5–4.7 kg nitrogen per Megagram (Mg) with the intervention compared to 6.0–6.4 kg nitrogen per Mg without. Greenhouse gas emissions were 328 kg, 812 kg and 434 kg CO2equivalent per Mg of maize, rice and wheat produced, respectively, compared to 422 kg, 941 kg and 549 kg CO2 equivalent per Mg without the intervention. On the basis of a large-scale survey (8.6 million farmer participants) and scenario analyses, we further demonstrate the potential impacts of implementing the enhanced management practices on China’s food security and sustainability outlook. – Z. Cui et al.

Source: Nature 555: 363–366 (2018)

Unlocking the multiple public good services from balanced fertilizers
Abstract: Fertilizers produce over half of the world’s food and permit less encroachment into pristine lands. Yet, the low uptake efficiency by crop plants causes nutrient losses that drive global change. Mitigating measures have been insufficient to address the problems, and policy interventions, NGO involvement, and R&D investments have been too insignificant to transform the fertilizer sector. Here, we discuss the contribution of balanced mineral fertilizers to increasing the nutritional value of crop produce to improve human nutrition and health; healthier plants to reduce biocide use; plant robustness to enhance tolerance to abiotic stresses; and increased metabolite production to improve taste and shelf-life. We reflect on raising awareness about these multiple fertilizer-based public good services for realizing several Sustainable Development Goals which can be achieved through a comprehensive nutrient assessment to catalyze transformation in research, policy and industry. – P.S. Bindraban, C.O. Dimkpa, S. Angle, R. Rabbinge

Source: Food Security vol 10: 1 – 13 (2018)

Arabica Coffee Varieties
A global catalog of varieties covering: Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Jamaica, Kenya, Malawi, Nicaragua, Panama, Peru, Dominican Republic, Rwanda, Uganda, Zambia, Zimbabwe
“This catalog aims to present information for coffee producers and anyone working with coffee plants about how different varieties can be expected to perform under ideal conditions.
Of course, coffee is not always grown under ideal conditions. Factors such as environment, alti­tude, soil nutrition, weather, the age of the tree, and farm management practices can significantly affect a coffee tree’s yield, quality, and health.”

Source: World Coffee Research

Nutritional imbalance in smallholder oil palm plantations in Indonesia
Abstract: In Indonesia more than 40% of the area under oil palm is owned by smallholders. The productivity in smallholder plantations is usually less than in large plantations, and limited fertiliser applications may be one of the key reasons. We investigated the use of fertilisers by > 300 smallholder farmers in Sumatra and Kalimantan, some of whom were involved in training programmes aimed at yield improvement. In our sample, the total applications of N were largest (166 kg ha−1 year−1), followed by K (122 kg) and P (56 kg). The applications of K were insufficient to compensate for the off-take with a production of 20 tonne fruit bunches ha−1year−1, while N applications were excessive. On average, farmers applied 1130 kg fertiliser ha−1year−1, and relied strongly on subsidised fertilisers, especially NPK Ponska (66%) and urea (39%). The average costs for fertiliser application were USD 225 ha−1 year−1. Trained farmers applied significantly more P in one research area, but for the other nutrients and research areas, there was no significant difference between trained and untrained farmers. Plantation size and nutrient application were weakly correlated in some areas, but not in the sample as a whole. Previously reported nutrient application rates were mostly less than our findings indicated, suggesting that actual nutrient limitations may be more severe. To overcome nutrient limitations and enhance nutrient use efficiency, we recommend that fertilisers are used in the correct balance; a ground cover vegetation is maintained to protect against erosion; and the application of empty fruit bunches is encouraged. – L. S. Woittiez, M. Slingerland, R. Rafik, K. E. Giller

Source: Nutr Cycl Agroecosyst: 1 - 14 (2018)

Land-use change and livelihoods of non-farm households: The role of income from employment in oil palm and rubber in rural Indonesia
Abstract: Many tropical regions are experiencing massive land-use change that is often characterized by an expansion of oil palm at the expense of forests and more traditional forms of agricultural cropping. While implications of such land-use change for the environment and for local farm households were examined in previous research, possible effects on the livelihoods of non-farm households are not yet well understood. This study analyzes the role of different types of agricultural and non-agricultural employment income for non-farm households in rural Jambi, one of the hotspot regions of Indonesia’s recent oil palm boom. Data from a survey show that employment in rubber and oil palm are important livelihood components for non-farm households. Employment in oil palm is more lucrative than employment in rubber, so involvement in the oil palm sector as a laborer is positively associated with total household income. Regression models show that whether or not a household works in oil palm is largely determined by factors related to migration background, ethnicity, and the size of the village area grown with this crop. These results suggest that further expansion of the oil palm area will likely benefit non-farm households through gains in employment income. As non-farm households belong to the poorest segments of the rural population, these benefits should not be ignored when designing policies towards sustainable land use. Possible negative environmental and social externalities of further oil palm expansion are also discussed. – J. Bou Diba, V.V. Krishna, Z. Alamsyah, M. Qaim

Source: EFForTS Discussion Paper Series 21

Can our global food system meet food demand within planetary boundaries?
Abstract: Global food demand is expected to increase, affecting required land, nitrogen (N) and phosphorus (P) inputs along with unintended emissions of greenhouse gasses (GHG) and losses of N and P. To quantify these input requirements and associated emissions/ losses as a function of food demand, we built a comprehensive model of the food system and investigated the effects of multiple interventions in the food system on multiple environmental goals. Model outcomes are compared to planetary boundaries for land system change, climate change and the global N and P cycles to identify interventions that direct us towards a safe operating space for humanity. Results show a transgression of most boundaries already for 2010 and a drastic deterioration in the reference scenario for 2050 in which no improvements relative to 2010 were implemented. We defined the following improvements for 2050: reduction of waste, less consumption of animal products, higher feed conversion efficiency, higher crop and grassland yields, reduction of N and P losses from agricultural land and reduction of ammonia (NH3) volatilization. The effects of these measures were quantified individually and in combination. Significant trade-offs and synergies in our results underline the importance of a comprehensive analysis with respect to the entire food system, including multiple measures and environmental goals. The combination of all measures was able to partly prevent transgression of the boundaries for: agricultural area requirement, GHG emission and P flow into the ocean. However, global mineral N and P fertilizer inputs and total N loss to air and water still exceeded their boundaries in our study. The planetary boundary concept is discussed in relation to the selected variables and boundary values, including the additional necessity of eliminating the dependency of our food production on finite P reserves. We argue that total N loss is a better indicator of the environmental impacts of the global N cycle than fertilizer N input. Most measures studied in this paper are also on the agenda of the United Nations for Sustainable Development, which gives added support to their implementation.– J.G. Conijna, P.S. Bindrabanb , J.J. Schrödera , R.E.E. Jongschaapa

Source: Agriculture, Ecosystems & Environment Vol. 251: 244-256 (2018)

Closing yield gaps in China by empowering smallholder farmers
Abstract: Sustainably feeding the world’s growing population is a challenge, and closing yield gaps (that is, differences between farmers’ yields and what are attainable for a given region) is a vital strategy to address this challenge. The magnitude of yield gaps is particularly large in developing countries where smallholder farming dominates the agricultural landscape. Many factors and constraints interact to limit yields, and progress in problem-solving to bring about changes at the ground level is rare. Here we present an innovative approach for enabling smallholders to achieve yield and economic gains sustainably via the Science and Technology Backyard (STB) platform. STB involves agricultural scientists living in villages among farmers, advancing participatory innovation and technology transfer, and garnering public and private support. We identified multifaceted yield-limiting factors involving agronomic, infrastructural, and socioeconomic conditions. When these limitations and farmers’ concerns were addressed, the farmers adopted recommended management practices, thereby improving production outcomes. In one region in China, the five-year average yield increased from 67.9% of the attainable level to 97.0% among 71 leading farmers, and from 62.8% to 79.6% countywide (93,074 households); this was accompanied by resource and economic benefits. – W. Zhang, G. Cao, X. Li, H. Zhang, C. Wang, Q. Liu, X. Chen, Z. Cui, J. Shen, R. Jiang, G. Mi, Y. Miao, F. Zhang, Z. Dou

Source: Nature 537: 671 – 674 (2016)


We have updated our SEAP Reference Database with references on the following topics: soil fertility and crops such as cassava, oil palm and coffee/cocoa. For a complete listing of these references, please click here. For a complete listing of these references, please click here.


Press Release
IPNI Southeast Asia Program has disseminated the following press releases in the first quarter of 2018:
Quick Glance
Shared some photos we love in "Photo of The Month" on our website:
BOOK PROMOTION: IPNI Oil Palm Field Handbooks - Nursery, Immature, Mature
Due to numerous requests from friends of IPNI, we are extending this promotion to EVERYONE! Do take this opportunity to own a set of the Oil Palm Field Handbooks.
Click here for more information.


Webinar - Taking Innovations to the Next Level: Strategies in Scaling 4R Nutrient Management to Smallholder Farmers
19 April 2018

Webinar - Evidence-Based Agriculture
25 April 2018

AgriResearch Conference - Innovating for the future of farming and rural communities
2 - 3 May 2018
Le Charlemagne, Brussels, Belgium

Dialogue event: Agricultural Trade and the Development of the local Food Economy in Sub-Saharan Africa
4 May 2018
Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin, Universität Hohenheim, Berlin

N8 AgriFood Annual Conference 2018 - People, Health and Food SystemsCall for Abstracts (deadline 30 April 2018)
13 - 14 June 2018
Hilton Liverpool City Centre, Liverpool, UK

Argus NPK Fertilizers 2018
27 - 28 Jun 2018
Yangon, Myanmar

International Oil Palm Conference (IOPC) 2018
17 - 19 July 2018
Medan, North Sumatera, Indonesia

PALMEX Malaysia 2018
24 – 26 July 2018
Sibu, Sarawak, Malaysia

Asia Palm Oil Conference (APOC) and PALMEX Thailand 2018
16 – 17 August 2018
Krabi, Thailand

FOOD 2030: Towards sustainable agri-food systemsCall for Abstracts (deadline 18 May 2018)
5 – 6 September 2018
Stuttgart, Germany

International conference on Smallholder Targeted Agriculture 4.0 in Temperature limited Cropping Systems – STATCROPSCall for Abstracts (deadline 11 May 2018)
20-21 September 2018
Stuttgart, Germany

10th PALMEX Indonesia 2018 & 7th Indonesia Palm Oil Conference (IIPOC)
9 - 11 Oct 2018
Medan, Indonesia

Oils and Fats International Congress (OFIC) 2018
16 – 18 October 2018
Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia

World Sugar Conference 2018
17 – 18 October 2018
Bangkok, Thailand

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Disclaimer: News from the Region is a selection of regional agriculture-related articles extracted from internet sources. IPNI does not verify, endorse, or take responsibility for the accuracy, currency, completeness or quality of the content in these sites. Due to the nature of this service, IPNI cannot always verify every single news item. Be sure to check with the official websites of the companies, universities, research centers, and government agencies before using any information in the IPNI SEAP Quarterly Newsletters or webpages, as IPNI cannot vouch for news items submitted by the public. Links to external websites are included for the sole purpose of providing easy access to the source. The inclusion of external hyperlinks does not constitute IPNI’s endorsement of the views expressed by these websites. IPNI shall not be responsible for any damages caused directly or indirectly by the use of any information or content from within linked websites.

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