Research priorities for sago palm development in Indonesia and Sarawak: an agenda for research.

M. Flach

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademic

    Abstract

    During travelling through Indonesia and Sarawak the latest developments in sago palm cultivation have been evaluated in a technical sense. In the coming two decades quite an increase in the production of sago palm starch is to be expected through both new plantings and exploitation of natural stands. The agronomy for this development is based nearly solely on observation of small scale farmers' practices. Research lags dangerously behind, although more so in Indonesia than in Sarawak. Three groups of research questions have been identified. The most pressing is (1) the necessity to apply fertilizer for a sustained high yield. This is of even more importance on the notoriously poor deep peat soils than it already is on mineral soils. Without a solution to this problem the large scale cultivation of the crop is at a dead end. A good second in importance is (2) how to obtain optimum starch yields from trunks per unit of time and area, combined with the reduction of starch losses in processing. On the somewhat longer run should be studied (3) the taxonomy of the sago palm, in relation to its growth pattern. For each group of research questions holds that research personnel working at it should be experienced with or at least be well acquainted with the sago palm. Two pioneer-operations are important to obtain part of the necessary practical experience: (1) the large scale deep peat plantings by Estet Pelita, especially the first close to Mukah in Sarawak; (2) the exploitation by INHUTANI I of a natural stand on mineral soils on Halmahera in the Northern Molucca's. In Sarawak, Estet Pelita just started with a research programme. Agronomic research is developed there also mainly on the deep peat experiment station of the Research Branch of the Sarawak Department of Agriculture at Dalat, close to Mukah. Small collections of genetic material have been started in this experiment station and in Makariki on Seram in the Molucca's. The small model-planting on clay soils run by B.P.P. Teknologi close to Bogor, West Java aims at solving some practical questions. There still is a lack of manpower, trained in sago palm growth and development. Training of sago palm agronomists should be a joint concern of the countries involved in the development.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)19-39
    JournalActa Horticulturae
    Volume389
    DOIs
    Publication statusPublished - 1995

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