10 Apr 2012

SEAP Quarterly Newsletter 2012-02

In this IssueDevelopments in SEAPs oil palm research projects
IPNI Program Updates
Developments in SEAP's oil palm research

New BMP videos on oil palm and maize

IPNI SEAP distributes 2 new ACT publications

New SEAP journal publications

IPNI 4R Plant Nutrition Management Manual now available

News From the Region

Malaysian investors seek Philippine ventures on oil palm

IRRI partners with micro-finance bank to help rice farmers

Vietnam ministry aims to ensure land for rice farming

Upcoming Events in Oil Palm

Oil Palm Fact Graphs

The IPNI Southeast Asia Program (SEAP) conducted a progress review of the Oil Palm BMP All Stages Project (SEA04) in April with partner IJM Plantations Berhad in Sabah, Malaysia. Joining Dr. Thomas Oberthur, SEAP Director, and Ms. Julie Mae Pasuquin, SEAP agronomist, were Dr. Terry Roberts and Dr. Adrian Johnston, IPNI President and Vice-President, respectively, as well as Dr. James Cock and Mr. Chris Donough, SEAP consultants.

IPNI staff with IJM team during nursery site visit.

The group visited IJM's nursery and field blocks under land preparation and an in-field dialogue between IJM and IPNI ensued. The IJM team was presented with a full review of achievements. During the visit, Drs. Roberts and Johnston had the opportunity to meet with the management team of IJM Plantations, including the CEO, Mr Joseph Tek, and the plantation controller, Mr Siah. During this occasion, the proposal for the new IPNI SEAP Plantation Intelligence (SEA06) project was presented to IJM. IJM plantations agreed to join the SEA06 project.

The same proposal was presented to PT Bakrie Plantations Tbk. in late April during a meeting in Jakarta, Indonesia with top management led by Mr. Howard Sargeant, Operations Director, Dr. Yohannes Samosir, R&D director, and Mr. Kooseni Indrasuara, senior field researcher. Bakrie management received the proposal favorably and has agreed to join the Plantation Intelligence project.

Plantation Intelligence is an information management system designed to help reduce uncertainties and improve decision-making of plantation managers on the deployment of BMPs on a wider-scale through a learning process based on the analysis of performance of a large number of individual management blocks of estates.
New BMP videos now available on YouTube
New video clips on best management practices (BMPs) are now available for viewing on IPNI's YouTube channel. Exploring new dissemination strategies, the IPNI Southeast Asia Program is reaching out to wider audiences with a series of videos on BMPs for oil palm and maize.

Shot on location at the REA Kaltim Plantation in Kalimantan, Indonesia, the oil palm series includes an introductory trilogy about BMP, followed by the core of the film on the use of BMPs in the three growing phases of oil palm nursery, immature, and mature. Finally, three shorter clips highlight the importance of BMP from the perspective of the public, decision makers in the industry, and estate managers.

The videos, also available in DVD format, are another component of the IPNI SEAP training materials for BMP in oil palm that already include books, hand books, pocket guides, as well as posters. Production of the oil palm videos was supported by the Belarusian Potash Company (BPC) and K+S Kali GmbH.

Developed in collaboration with partners in Indonesia, the Philippines, and Vietnam, and with funding assistance from the International Potash Institute (IPI), the maize videos provide recommendations on BMPs for relevant aspects of crop and nutrient management in maize.

The videos are available in DVD format in three languages: Filipino, Indonesian, and Vietnamese. The maize films will be used by country partners to introduce general BMPs and newly developed site-specific fertilizer recommendations based on IPNI’s site-specific nutrient management (SSNM) concept in large scale extension campaigns in the region.

Watch the Oil Palm BMP videos and Maize BMP videos on YouTube! Also, check out other videos available from IPNI.
IPNI SEAP distributes 2 ACT publications
You can now buy these two new publications by Agricultural Crop Trust (ACT) through IPNI:

Agronomic Principles & Practices of Oil Palm Cultivation

This book brings together the reviewed and edited papers presented at the seminar on Agronomic Principles and Practices of Oil Palm Cultivation held in Sarawak on 13-16 October 2008. The authors are experts and practitioners who in their papers condensed and emphasized the most critical factors in agronomy, technologies and practices relevant to efficient and effective inputs in oil palm plantations. This book strives to present the latest agro-management findings on oil palm cultivation and includes much of the “grey literature” in the oil palm research community. This account of agronomic principles and practices of oil palm cultivation provides adequate breadth and depth of knowledge for readers to have a better understanding and wider picture of oil-palm agro-management. There are 6 pictorial guides and over 330 colored photographs to illustrate the crucial recommended practices for sustainable oil palm cultivation.

Read more

Mucuna bracteata: A Cover Crop and Living Green Manure

This book contains reviewed and edited papers presented at the seminar on Mucuna bracteata: A Cover Crop and Living Green Manure (29th November 2006, Sg. Tekam, Pahang) plus a new chapter on “The cultivation of Mucuna bracteata – A pictorial guide”, Q&A session and 102 color photographs.

Mucuna bracteata was first introduced to the oil palm plantations in Malaysia by a Malaysian planter, Mr. Cheriachangel Mathews, in 1991. His insight, foresight and perseverance have resulted in this remarkable cover crop being widely accepted and grown commercially in all major oil palm growing countries in the world. This book brings together, in one accessible volume, most of what is currently known about Mucuna bracteata, reports on applied research and the practical aspects of its cultivation. The first 5 chapters attempt to bring a better understanding of the sciences and agronomy of Mucuna bracteata to the readers while the remaining chapters translate theory into large scale practice. All the chapters are written by practitioners who are also specialists in various subjects of plantation crop management.

Read more

New SEAP journal publications
Evaluating N management strategies for hybrid maize in Southeast Asia

Published recently in Field Crops Research journal, this paper discusses results of the N management trials conducted at the Indonesian Cereal Research Institute (ICERI) and at the Cuu Long Rice Research Institute (CLRRI) during 2008-2009. The studies sought to define a system of N management for tropical hybrid maize using split dressings (two versus three N applications) with rates adjusted according to leaf color using the leaf color chart (LCC).

Results showed that there was no significant advantage in three splits compared with two either in grain yield, agronomic efficiency, or profit in the two sites – both have medium-textured soils. The LCC proved to be an effective tool in detecting N deficiency in maize, allowing for higher yields and increased profit compared with fixed rates. Trial results indicate opportunities to increase maize yields in Southeast Asia with improved N management strategies that take into account the dynamic relationship between soil N supply and crop N demand in time and space.

The N management trials in Indonesia and Vietnam were conducted through the IPNI SEAP collaborative project Site-Specific Nutrient Management (SSNM) for Maize.

Pasuquin JM, Saenong S, Tan PS, Witt C, Fisher MJ. 2012. Evaluating N management strategies for hybrid maize in Southeast Asia. Field Crops Res. 134, 153-157

Farmer knowledge of the relationships among soil macrofauna, soil quality and tree species in a smallholder agroforestry system of western Honduras

This research looks into the extent to which farmers in a hillside agroforestry system of western Honduras have incorporated their observations of native and ecological processes into farm management practices. The study took place in an area where smallholders have made considerable changes to their farming techniques since the early 1990s, most notably the abandonment of traditional slash-and-burn techniques to prepare cropping fields. Smallholder farmers were interviewed to elicit information on their knowledge of soils, biodiversity, and land management.

Farmers interviewed distinguish several local soil types on the basis of soil texture, colour, structure, and stone content, with each soil type having varying suitability for the major crops grown in the district (maize, beans, sorghum and pasture). The most highly valued tree species are those that fulfil multiple economic and agricultural functions, including having a positive influence on soil quality through decomposition, nutrient cycling, and provision of soil cover. In particular, species with small, fine leaves that gave dappled shade (rather than solid shade) and decomposed rapidly were preferred. Farmers named 16 commonly recognised, distinct soil macrofauna taxa. The most detailed knowledge on the relationship between soil fauna and soil quality was held on taxa considered to have either beneficial or harmful effects on farming activities, such as earthworms and beetle larvae. Farmers had complex understanding of the influence of fire on soils, vegetation, crop yield and soil biota over various lengths of time, which may have been gained through a combination of first-hand experience, interaction with agricultural extension workers, and information gained from other farmers. It is likely that local ecological knowledge of the effect of different species on soil quality, the interactions among species, and the role of vegetation in maintaining agricultural productivity and landscape integrity, is an important component of the adoption and success of the agroforestry system.

Pauli N, Barrios E, Conacher AJ, Oberthür T. 2012. Farmer knowledge of the relationships among soil macrofauna, soil quality and tree species in a smallholder agroforestry system of western Honduras. Geoderma (In press).
IPNI 4R Plant Nutrition Management Manual now available
4R Nutrient Stewardship is one of IPNI’s core strategies to support agriculture’s ability to meet the world’s production needs in a sustainable manner. The 4R concept is simple — apply the right source of nutrient, at the right rate, at the right time, and in the right place — but it’s implementation is knowledge-intensive and site-specific. 4R Nutrient Stewardship also considers economic, social, and environmental dimensions of nutrient management and because of these considerations 4R Nutrient Stewardship has been recognized by the world’s fertilizer industry as an essential approach to ensuring the sustainability of agricultural systems.

The 4R Plant Nutrition Manual includes chapters on the scientific principles behind each of the four R’s or “rights”. It discusses adoption of 4R practices on the farm, approaches to nutrient management planning, and measurement of sustainability performance. The manual is intended to help the reader adapt and integrate the fundamental 4R principles into a comprehensive method of nutrient management that meets the criteria of sustainability. A mix of learning modules and case studies demonstrate the universality of the 4R Nutrient Stewardship concept through its application to diverse cropping systems used within small enterprises, large commercial farms, and plantations.

There are currently two versions of the manual: a fully Metric Version, and a North American Version that predominantly uses US (Imperial) units.

To order, please choose the quantity and the version you would like, then fill out the order form below. Or please visit our on-line store. 4R brochure_0712_rev1.pdf
News from the Region
Malaysian investors seek Philippine ventures in oil palm
The Malaysian Palm Oil Council (MPOC) wants the Philippine government to open up more investment opportunities in oil palm cultivation to meet the growing demand for oil palm products. In an interview with reporters, MPOC chief executive Tan Sri Datuk Dr. Yusof Basiron said “the council is keen on encouraging more investments or joint ventures to increase the Philippines’ palm oil production.”

The council intends to work closely with the Philippine government to facilitate investments in the cultivation of oil palm trees in the country. The Philippines has the potential to improve oil palm production and increase per capita consumption to about 25 kgs – the world standard on oil palm consumption, Basiron noted. Per capital palm oil consumption in the Philippines is 10 kgs.

Despite the growing demand for palm oil in the Philippines, less than 1% of farmlands in the country are planted with oil palm. The Philippines imported 512,000 metric tons (MT) of palm oil from Malaysia, up 150% from 204,731 in 2010. "The year 2011 was a 'special year' because the shortage of local supply caused maybe by drought. Production did not increase as expected... imports supplemented local demand," said Basiron.

This year Malaysian palm oil producers would increase their shipments to the Philippines by up to 11% on higher demand, he added. Global palm oil production hit 50.1 million MT in 2011 with Malaysia accounting for 38% of the world's palm oil production and 46% of palm oil exports last year.

Source: GMA News, April 18 2012, http://www.gmanetwork.com
IRRI partners with micro-finance bank to help rice farmers
Using mobile technology, Filipino rice farmers now have access to personalized fertilizer advice and micro-loans to buy fertilizer for their crop, thanks to a new partnership between a microfinance bank and a farmer-focused organization.

The International Rice Research Institute (IRRI), in partnership with the Department of Agriculture, developed Nutrient Manager for Rice (NMRice), an Internet-based tool which provides rice farmers with a fertilizer recommendation precisely matching their crops’ nutrient needs. The Internet version was supplemented last year by a mobile phone service, and early this year as an Android application that can be downloaded for free. NMRice is now being linked with the services of BPI Globe BanKO Inc. (BanKO), the first mobile-based, microfinance-focused savings bank in the Philippines.

BanKO has agreed to partner with Alalay sa Kaunlaran (ASKI), Inc., a farmer-focused group in Central Luzon, to provide micro-agri loans for agricultural inputs for Filipino rice farmers. The provision of the micro-agri loans is being pilot-tested with rice farmers receiving a crop management recommendation from NMRice.

The initial number of farmer-beneficiaries targeted by ASKI in the pilot is 1,500. The agreement between BanKO and ASKI was signed on May 25, 2012. Disbursement for the loans will start in late June to early July. 

Source: Philippine Star, 01 July 2012, http://www.philstar.com
Vietnam ministry aims to ensure land for rice farming
The Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development announced VND4 trillion (US$190.5 million) has been earmarked for preserving rice-growing land. Under a decree to take effect next month the Vietnamese Government will provide VND500,000 per ha per year to everyone growing wet rice. It will also subsidize 70% of fertilizer and pesticide costs if the crop sustains more than 70% damage from natural disasters and other causes, and 50% if the damage is 30 – 70%. The main goal of Decree 42 is to maintain 3.8 million ha of land under rice, Nguyen Tri Ngoc, head of the ministry's Cultivation Department, explained.

Tran Xuan Dinh, deputy director of the Thai Binh Province Department of Agriculture and Rural Development, said the decree would play a significant role in motivating farmers to grow rice since they otherwise faced a lot of risk from natural disasters and diseases caused by climate change. Currently the northern province gets a Government subsidy of around VND40 billion ($1.9 million) to sustain rice production on 76,000 – 82,000 ha every year.

In 2000-2010, the country's rice-growing area dropped by nearly 370,000 ha, according to a report from the ministry. The decreasing trend has continued due to industrialization, urbanization, and infrastructure development. By 2020 at least another 300,000 ha will be converted for use for other purposes, according to the Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment. It is estimated that around 6,000 ha would be lost due to the impact of climate change by 2020 and nearly 20,000 ha by 2030, mostly in the Cuu Long (Mekong) Delta, the ministry said.

Source: Viet Nam News, June 16 2012, http://vietnamnews.vnagency.com.vn
Oil Palm Upcoming Events
Asia Palm Oil Conference
30 – 31 August 2012
Krabi, Thailand
Maritime Park & Spa Resort

Theme: Establishing Thailand as a Leader for Sustainable Palm Oil

Key highlights:
  • Palm oil networking nite
  • Palm oil refinery facility visit
  • Biofuel plant visit
  • Palm oil technology seminars
  • Asia Palm Oil conference

Read More

Palm Oil Africa
5 – 6 Sept 2012
Accra, Africa
Hotel to be advised

Theme: Reviving the Palm Oil Industry in Africa - Challenges & Opportunities

Key highlights:
  • Financing & Investment Prospects
  • Land regulations, labour laws, logistics & infrastructure support
  • Applying large-scale cultivation expertise from Asia & opportunities for downstream processing
  • R & D on improved planting materials & techniques

Read More
Oil Palm Fact Graphs

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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 SEAP 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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