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Facing Extreme Weather, Postpone Agronomy Activity in Palm Oil Plantations

Doc. InfoSAWIT
Facing Extreme Weather, Postpone Agronomy Activity in Palm Oil Plantations

InfoSAWIT, JAKARTA – According to Geophysics, Climatology, and Meteorology Agency (GCMA), the average temperature would be at 34 - 36 Celsius degree. In this dry season, GCMA forecasted April to June 2023 would be the peak hot season. Some sources even said, it could be happening until August 2023.

The extreme weather could influence agronomy activity, post – harvest, and productivity both for food, horticulture, and some plantations.

Knowing the information from GCMA, Chairman of Asosiasi Petani Kelapa Sawit Indonesia (Apkasindo), Gulat ME Manurung said that the high temperature would not directly have something to do with palm oil.

But it needs to postpone two agronomy activities, the first is pruning because the midrib is unproductive but would function ‘to calm down’ the climate for micro plantations.

It needs to postpone chemical weed control by spraying herbicide. This would vanish natural soil cover plantations and the heat from sunshine would directly shine the soil surface. This would escalate water release in the same time or evapo -transpiration (water evaporation from the soil and plantation tissue in the same time).

The two agronomic activities have something to do with fire in the land.

He said the output of the two would be something easily burnt out. This could be the trigger to get fire in the forest and areas both in podzolic, peat and other kinds of soil.

“There is no option. Stop agronomic activities to control weeds chemically and pruning to minimize the fire potential, including fertilizer application because it would be inefficient and the physiologic roots would get impacts because of heat from fertilizer reaction,” he said to InfoSAWIT, Friday (28/4/2023).

The potential fire could be twice higher in the peat to happen because dry peat would be very sensitive if there is spark of fire and human activity around plantations. The agronomic activity would multiply the chance to get fire unintentionally.

“I suggest that it needs to be more serious to control plantation in peat in this extreme weather,” he said.

He also admitted, new planting by burning gets decreasing and would be not happening anymore. It has something to do with the strict action from legal officers and the law enforcement to penalty and double fines.

Some fire still took place in many regions but it happened for unintentional action, such as, cigarette, non-agronomic activities, or other natural happenings.

“It needs to anticipate by having internal activity around plantations, such as, having announcement or regular patrol. We suggested the smallholders through their institutions should get local phone numbers from police and army, disaster management agency, fire taskforce,” Manurung who got agro-ecology doctoral degree, said. (T2)