One of my staff has a piece of land in Ayer Hitam, Johor where the land initially was planted with pineapple. Later, his family use this land to plant oil palm (OP) due to the high demand of this crop because they believe OP can give better profit margin compare with pineapple. They faced a lot of problems in planting OP in peat soils and the most common scenario is palm leaning/bend due to the quality of the soil.
Generally, peat soil regarded as fragile environment that require great care in land preparation and management to have “impressive” crop establishment and productivity and one of the crops has been grown successfully on peat area is pineapple.
The question raised if any tendency for OP to replace other crops such as pineapple and below are many success cases:-
- The earliest large scale planting on peat were done in Perak
- Establishment of the Western Johor Integrated Agricultural Development Project (IADP) around Pontian, Johor
- Lately, estimated 100 000 ha of Sarawak peat had been planted with OP
Mr. IAN E HENSON has published a paper titled as “ Plantation on Peat: How sustainable are They? Environmental aspects of developing peat lands for agriculture”
In this article, there are a few vital issues being discussed such as
Use of peat lands in Malaysia for agriculture
- Environment aspect
- Operation aspect
- Clearance (zero burning)
- Drainage system
- Palm densities and stand maintenance-Ganoderma
- Lifetime of cultivated peat land
The above information can be read in magazine Planter on Jan 2007. Please kindly email me if you want the magazine. Only one copy available.