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Planting material as key input for sustainable palm oil

Baskett J.P.C., Jacquemard J.C., Durand-Gasselin T., Suryana E., Zaelanie H., Dermawan E.. 2007. In : MPOB. MPOB International Palm Oil Congress (PIPOC 2007), 26 to 30 August 2007, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. s.l. : s.n., p. 1-25. MPOB International Palm Oil Congress, 2007-08-26/2007-08-30, Kuala Lumpur (Malaisie).

The trends generally agreed for the future of palm oil as an important commodity are the combination of a demand for food that will double over the next 20 years, the emergence of new uses as a renewable energy source, and (until the recent price exuberance over biodiesel) the falling price trend of palm oil in real terms on the world market. For more than 30 years, the average crop yield of the land under exploitation in the world does not exceed 3 t CPO / hectare / year. The boom in availability of the commodity is thus almost entirely due to the large increase in cultivated surface area, resulting in competition with the other food crops for arable land, and participating in the disappearance of tropical rainforest and needless environmental degradation. In turn, this fuels the regular disparaging media campaigns against the oil palm industry. The principles and criteria for sustainable palm oil were adopted by the general assembly of the Round Table for Sustainable Palm Oil in November 2005. They embody a commitment to long-term economic and financial viability, the use of appropriate best management practices, and an improvement of environmental and socially positive impacts whilst reducing the negative ones. The planting of improved and adapted oil palm planting material is a key input to achieve these commitments. This paper presents evidence of the effects of continuous improvement of planting material on the profitability of the crop. Highlighted is the widespread use of poor quality material, and the alternative value of PT Socfindo planting materials enhanced by the cooperation of Cirad - France and its network. The challenges to be faced for the future by breeders and seed producers, as well as plantation management are discussed.

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