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Wednesday, December 12, 2018

NEW PLANTING OF COCONUT (PART 5)

COCONUT (Cocos nucifera) are an important crop in Malaysia and few other ASEAN countries. The  crop are categorised as ''Plant of Life'' from the locals as there are many uses from this plant.  have been receiving quite a few requests of late regarding information in setting-up a coconut plantation. While I would love to write a comprehensive coverage of all aspects involved in establishing a coconut plantation, it will be an enormous undertaking, and something that cannot be covered simply in blog posts.  Instead, I will give some basics of starting a new coconut plantation, the key cost elements and man-power management al all requirements. In Malaysia currently there are about 96,000 hectare of coconut planted able to produce 650 million nuts annually. However Malaysia import 150 million nuts from Indonesia for processing anually.  Actually there are a number of important stages when attempting to set up a successful coconut plantation. Now, a lot of people may think: “What’s so difficult? Just look for a germinated coconut, dig a hole, and plant it!”. Well, that method may work if all you want is a coconut tree, or if the coconuts are meant to be ornamental plants. But for a thriving, production coconut plantation, extra care and consideration will be needed. This few series article in "Anim Agriculture Technology" I would like to share the stages of planting new coconut farms.

The new coconut planting for Step 5 are the general maintenance of coconut plantation.  Coconut plantations are fairly bare of grasses and weeds during the high productivity years (years 8-18). However, during the immature and late years, when sunlight penetration is high, weeds will be more abundant. For blog writer, nonetheless it is a good practice not to kill off all the weeds and grass, but instead to manage and crop them down. This helps to hold the soil and retain moisture, house beneficial insects, and keep the palm in a good, healthy state. Thus, mowing down the grass and leafy weeds is the suggested option; for broadleaf shrubs, contact weedicides could be used. Chemical fertilizer should be applied to supplement inherent soil nutrients to provide a steady supply of balanced nutrient range required for the healthy growth of palms. The quantity and quality of the fertilizer applied, and their timing and placement, are important aspects to be considered to ensure proper realization of this input. For manuring process there has to follow the recomendation. The manuring regimes are with 2kg Urea, 2kg Muriate of potash (MOP) and 1kg Rock phosphate (RP). Do note that the rates above are for each palm, per year. You will need to split the amount according to how many round of fertilizer application is carried out in a year. It is recommended that at least 4 rounds be carried out, i.e. 500g urea + 500g MOP + 250g RP per application; but preferably, 8 rounds is ideal , i.e. 250g urea + 250g MOP + 125g RP per application. The activity during manuring must able to avoid spreading the fertilizer to broadly. It is important that the fertilizers are applied within the root zone area. One trick that many growers do is to spread some of the fertilizer over the frond heap stacked at the inter-palm area. As the frond heap traps a lot of moisture and organic nutrients, coconut roots tend to congregate beneath the heap. Thus, applying some fertilizer onto the heap would target the coconut roots there, thereby feeding the palms more efficiently. Fertilizer must spread-out frond heap between each palm. 

Another important note is that the fertilizer rates above is not fixed, and will vary according to soil type, productivity, foliar nutrient status, age, and yield targets. But of course, not all growers will have access to the necessary analytical equipment, so engage a government agriculture extension officer for further advice when necessary. Coconuts are normally self-pruning, meaning that dead fronds and bunch stalks will dry and fall on their accord. However, it is still a good practice to remove them off the palm where they don’t fall naturally, and stack them neatly on the inter-palm heap. There is great value in keeping this practice; as the dead fronds and bunch stalks break down, they actually release micronutrients back into the soil. This helps increase the soil nutrient content and biomass over time, which will further improve your coconut palm’s health. In addition, such frond heaps act as moisture traps, and help provide an alternate source of moisture to palm roots. As mentioned earlier, fertilizers may also be applied to this zone, as the coconut root mass tends to congregate here, thereby ensuring that your fertilizer is targeted to the roots of the palms. The article continue for Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, Part 4, and Part 6 respectively. Thank You!!.



By,
M Anem,
Senior Agronomist,
Bandar Baru UDA,
Johor Bahru, Johor,
Malaysia.
(3 September 2018). 

Monday, December 3, 2018

NEW PLANTING OF COCONUT (PART 3)

COCONUT (Cocos nucifera) are an important crop in Malaysia and few other ASEAN countries. The  crop are categorised as ''Plant of Life'' from the locals as there are many uses from this plant.  have been receiving quite a few requests of late regarding information in setting-up a coconut plantation. While I would love to write a comprehensive coverage of all aspects involved in establishing a coconut plantation, it will be an enormous undertaking, and something that cannot be covered simply in blog posts.  Instead, I will give some basics of starting a new coconut plantation, the key cost elements and man-power management al all requirements. In Malaysia currently there are about 96,000 hectare of coconut planted able to produce 650 million nuts annually. However Malaysia import 150 million nuts from Indonesia for processing anually.  Actually there are a number of important stages when attempting to set up a successful coconut plantation. Now, a lot of people may think: “What’s so difficult? Just look for a germinated coconut, dig a hole, and plant it!”. Well, that method may work if all you want is a coconut tree, or if the coconuts are meant to be ornamental plants. But for a thriving, production coconut plantation, extra care and consideration will be needed. This few series article in "Anim Agriculture Technology" I would like to share the stages of planting new coconut farms.

The new coconut planti next steps are Step 2: Setting up a coconut seedling nursery. This is an aspect in coconut planting that seems to be often neglected. After all, coconuts seem to grow so commonly and with ease in this country. For me however, as with all crops of economic value, starting the crop on the right foot is the most important step towards a successful farming enterprise. If one is unable or not willing to make the effort to do so, then they should not venture into agriculture in the first place. It would impractical for most coconut planters to germinate their own coconut seedlings, since doing this would require a lot of time, effort, space and technical expertise. Thus, it would be best for the coconut farmer to source his/her coconut "seednuts" from a certified seed producer. I have already mentioned few previously.  Usually, seednuts are sold as emergents where these would have a growing point of about 30cm height (up to emergent leaf), and very few emerging roots at the base. With certified seed producers, culling and selection of salable seednuts would have already been conducted, so the farmer may buy such materials with confidence. Seednuts will be sold as bareroots, and the farmer will need to purchase and prepare his/her coconut seedlings at least 1 year prior to field planting. Seednuts that are purchased must first be transplanted into polybags and allowed to grow to the ideal field planting sizes. The following series of transplanting steps show how this should be done:  Step 1: Place seednut into polybag half-filled with soil, Step 2: Top up with more soil and Step 3: Firm down the soil, leaving a little bit of husk exposed.

Polybag sizes should be 45cm x 45cm (lay flat), and need to be 500-gauge black with perforations. Do note that for optimized transplanting of seednuts, the polybags should be half-filled 3 days in advance and watered daily, to allow settling of the soil. Once seednuts have been transplanted, make sure to water the seedling adequately. Each seedling will require 2,500ml of water per day in the absence of rain, which can be achieved by water for 30 minutes twice a day (morning & evening) using a sprinkler system. Otherwise, hand-watering using a measured water can is advised. Spacing in the nursery should be 1m x 1m equilateral triangle, amounting to 4,000 plams per acre. But since you will only need less than 100 palms for each acre (71 seedlings if planting hybrid + 10% for supply planting; 88 seedlings if planting Dwarf + 10% for supply planting), you should adjust this figure accordingly. Seedlings are maintained in the nursery up to 1 year before field planting.  Temporary coconut seedling nursery, 6-months old from sowing. From my observation a lot of farmers don't bother with these steps; but there are many good reasons for keeping this practice. Not only will the older and more mature seedlings be quicker to establish, they are also less susceptible to stunting and transplanting shock in the field compared to seednuts that are planted directly into the ground. In particular, the root system of a 1-year old seedling is better developed and robust, compared to a 6-month old seednut. You have to bear in mind that every palm you plant is a 25-30 year investment, so make sure the first steps are the right ones, or you will be stuck with a 25-year long mistake. The article continue for Part 1, Part 2, Part 4, Part 5 and Part 6 respectively. Thank You!!.
By,
M Anem,
Senior Agronomist,
Bandar Baru UDA,
Johor Bahru, Johor,
Malaysia.
(3 September 2018).

Friday, November 23, 2018

CEKUR MANIS (Sauropus androgynus)

CEKUR MANIS are the local name in Malaysia for Sauropus androgynus (SA) the plants under Euphobiceae family. Is was known as medicinal plant with high antioxidant potential. The leaves of this plant have been traditionally used to treat certain diseases, for weight loss, and as vegetable dishes. SA leaves contain an adequate amount of macronutrients and having most of the micronutrients. The micronutrients are phenolic compounds, carotenoids, antioxidant vitamins, and minerals. SA leaves also contain most of the essential minerals, including sodium, potassium, calcium, phosphorus, iron, magnesium, copper, zinc, manganese, and cobalt. Fresh leaves of SA typically consist of 70%-90% moisture, 3%-8% protein, 1%-4% fat, 1%-2% fiber, and about 2% ash. The other percentage of the leaves is carbohydrate. In this review, the types and amounts of phenolic compounds, carotenoids, antioxidant vitamins, and minerals are presented. Antinutrients and heavy metals detected in SA leaves are also revealed. These compounds could have adverse health effects, such as heavy metal toxicity and induce lung injury.

Bronchiolitis obliterans and obstructive ventilatory impairment of the patients are known to be caused by ingestion of uncooked or fresh SA leaves. SA leaves are the staple food in some of the developing nations that provide essential nutrients to the poor people. It also helps to maintain good health of these people. However, fresh consumption and over-consumption of SA leaves are not advisable. It may cause toxicity or lung injury. The antioxidative components of SA leaves have scientifically shown a vast health benefit to the human being, from test tubes to in vivo studies. However, extra precaution should be taken for minimizing the adverse health effect of intake of fresh SA leaves. It is easy to grow this plant in your house area or commerciallya grown in farms. I hope this info benefits all readers from Anim Agriculture Technology articles. Thanks.


By,
M Anem,
Senior Agronomist,
Bandar Baru UDA, Johor Bahru,
Johor, Malaysia.

(3 September 2018).

Friday, November 16, 2018

COCONUT IN MALAYSIA - A HISTORY

COCONUT for me botanically it is a drupe (aka stone fruit), which is also the seed for reproduction of the coconut palm (scientifically termed as Cocos nucifera). Malaysia reported about 97,500 hectare of coconut are grown to produce 650 million nuts anually. It can be found almost along every single coast of Malaysia’s beach and sometimes even inland, which explains why coconut is widely used or consumed in the Malaysians’ daily life. Although coconut is everywhere, it doesn’t take its geological advantage to become the main economical crop that contributes from farmers to our national development, in terms of Gross Domestic Product (GDP), export earnings, as well as livelihood income and provide employment. Why is this happening so?. Let’s take a look back on the historical story of Malaysia’s coconut. A brief coconut history started around 9,000 years ago where the coconut plant was suspected to be found by humans at some place on earth. No evidence shows what is the exact country of origin but Malaysia’s larger islands and continental coast are indicated to be the regions where coconut was then domesticated. Coconut harvesting by a native orang asli family during the 1960s. (Image source from My Far East, Malaysia - see below right). Dating back to the mid-19th century, where a rough data of Malaysia’s coconut production amount was first recorded (on year 1961), coconut palms were being planted by private sectors and small landholders. It acted as a source of food to these households, while remaining ones would then be traded for other daily necessities. The total area of coconut plantations by that time were, however, not stated in any official documents. This article in "Anim Agriculture Technology" I share a history of coconut in Malaysia.
Than during year 1961, the total amount of production of this agricultural commodity hits top oneamong all crops, with the value of 1,344,819 tonnes. However, it did not bring the most income to Malaysia. The reason behind was because almost 70% of the total production was consumed domestically.Sum of coconut production quantities in Malaysia from year 1961 to 2013 (Data source from FAOSTAT). In year 1984, it is officially stated that the total agricultural land use of coconut plantations in Malaysia were 266,202 hectares. The acreage then hit the highest point in the following year with an amount of 334,100 hectares. In 1995, a declination was recorded to roughly 250,000 hectares. Nevertheless, Malaysia was still a net exporter of coconut products, with a total export value of RM165.2 million (US$43 million). Moving on to the early 20th century, the oil crop industry started to flourish in Malaysia. The increased competition from other oils (eg. palm oil, soy bean oil) has caused coconut plantations to be less focused. In year 2012, coconut production quantity significantly dropped to 606,530 tonnes (from top five among Malaysia’s agriculture commodities in year 1985 to top eight in year 2012). In year 2014, Malaysia is no longer a coconut exporter. Supply and Utilization Accounts (SUA) of Selected Agricultural Commodities, Malaysia has shown statistics that the self-sufficiency ratio (SSR) of coconuts was no more 100% (96.7%) while the import dependency ratio (IDR) raised up to 11%. As coconut crop is still being cultivated by smallholdings without using recommended varieties, a declination in yield and farm productivity is now observed in Malaysia, while in the meantime, demands for coconuts are rising in the market. ThankYou!!!..

By,
M Anem,
Senior Agronomist,
Taman Bandar Baru UDA,
Johor Bahru, Johor,
Malaysia.
(1 September 2018).

Saturday, November 10, 2018

COCONUT AND SATURATED OIL

COCONUT MILK and COCONUT WATER are among popular foods in Malaysia. Coconut Tree (Cocos nucifera) are the fourth largest area palnted in Malaysia after OilPalm, Rubber and  PAddy. There is some scientific evidence on the health benefits of coconut oil is sparse. There is only one human study that suggests coconut oil can improve the quality of life for advanced cancer patients when given as a supplement. So far there is no human research that has looked at its impact on Alzheimer’s disease, type 2 diabetes or thyroid function. There is also no study on coconut oil supplementation and improved nutritional status of people with HIV or AIDS that has been published in peer-reviewed literature, she says. Scientist says support for coconut oil’s health benefits can be traced back to the work of Marie-Pierre St-Onge, a professor of nutrition at Columbia University in 2003. St-Onge had found that eating and cooking with medium chain fatty acids - a type of molecule found in coconut oil - can help dieting adults to burn fat. But as St-Onge pointed out, coconut oil has only 16 per cent medium chain fatty acids. The participants in her studies had received 100 per cent medium chain fatty acids, a custom-made mixture. This research has been seized upon by health food marketers and bloggers. Dieting blogs and websites praise coconut oil as a “fat-burning diet miracle” and dietary supplements containing the oil advertise their supposed weight-loss benefits on the label.

Basically, data from the original research on medium chain fatty acids has been extrapolated very liberally. To date, most studies done on coconut oil have been either animal studies or small case control or observational studies, which are not sufficient to support and make a consensus on the claims about coconut oil. Using unsaturated fat such as nuts, seeds, avocados, olives and their oils for cooking is a better choice. Thes scientist says reducing saturated fat alone, without considering what it is replaced with, may not be beneficial. Evidence demonstrates that reducing saturated fat and replacing it with unsaturated fat improves cardiovascular risk factors and reduces the risk of heart disease; replacing it with wholegrains improves some cardiovascular risk factors and reduces the risk of heart disease but not to the same extent as unsaturated fat; and replacing it with refined carbohydrate does not improve cardiovascular risk and does not reduce the risk of heart disease. On the other hand, diets high in trans-fats, regardless of whether they are accompanied by other beneficial food sources, are consistently linked to cardiovascular risk and to heart disease. As such, unsaturated fat is preferred to saturated fat and both are preferred to trans-fat.


Although coconut oil does not have healthy properties, it is possible to include it in your diet as long as it is consumed in moderation. Just like other saturated fats, coconut oil should be limited to between seven and 10 per cent of total calories. As one tablespoon of coconut oil contain 115 calories, use it occasionally. Using too much coconut oil is not a good way to cut down on calorie intake. A better choice is virgin coconut oil as the manufacturing process allows the oil to retain the scent and taste of coconut, as well as high levels of antioxidants and polyphenols. Virgin coconut oil has been found to contain up to seven times higher concentrations of polyphenols than refined coconut oil. But even if the coconut oil you are using is virgin, the saturated fats effects outweigh any beneficial effects of the antioxidants. Unsaturated fats are preferred to both refined and virgin coconut oils. The bottom line is, no one food alone will make you healthy. It’s important to recognise that the entire picture is what matters the most. The combined evidence suggests that improving our whole eating pattern, not just altering one nutrient is what’s required to promote cardiovascular health. Thank You. Wasallam!!!.

By,
M Anem,
Senior Agronomist,
Bandar Baru UDA,
Johor Bahru, Johor,
Malaysia.

Saturday, October 20, 2018

NUTRITIONAL COCONUT

COCONUT OIL are the product from Coconut Tree (Cocos nucifera) in which will have their detractors and supporters. Whichever study one chooses to believe in, the key is to consume it in moderation. We have heard countless times that broccoli, blueberries, kale and salmon are superfoods. And this is because they contain high levels of vitamins, minerals and antioxidants as well as fibre. Many believe that these nutrients can prevent cancer, stroke, heart attack and Alzheimer’s disease. They are also believed to have anti-ageing properties. In recent years, coconut oil has been added to this list. A quick Google search will reveal thousands of links on its health benefits. Coconut oil is said to be able to reduce the risk of heart disease, aid in weight loss, kill bacteria and viruses, boost digestion, and even help in HIV/AIDS and cancer treatment. A The New York Times survey showed that 72 per cent of the public, compared with 37 per cent of nutritionists, believed that coconut oil was healthy. Hollywood celebrities have also been touting the wonders of coconut oil for health and beauty. Angelina Jolie reportedly includes virgin coconut oil in her breakfast cereal while model Miranda Kerr takes four teaspoons of coconut oil per day either in her salad, through cooking or in green tea to manage her weight. However, the question remains whether it is really as healthy as people claim.

This is because coconut oil contains high saturated fat which is associated with high low-density lipoprotein (LDL) or bad cholesterol that increases the risk of coronary heart disease and stroke. Last year, the American Heart Association (AHA) released a report advising against the use of coconut oil. Its Dietary Fats and Cardiovascular Disease advisory reviewed existing data on saturated fat, showing that coconut oil increased LDL in seven out of seven controlled trials.  According to the researchers, 82 per cent of the fat in coconut oil is saturated, far beyond butter (63 per cent), beef fat (50 per cent) and pork lard (39 per cent). Saturated fat is commonly found in animal fats, but it is also found in tropical plant oils. Some scientific evidence on the health benefits of coconut oil is sparse. There is only one human study that suggests coconut oil can improve the quality of life for advanced cancer patients when given as a supplement.

So far there is no human research that has looked at its impact on Alzheimer’s disease, type 2 diabetes or thyroid function. There is also no study on coconut oil supplementation and improved nutritional status of people with HIV or AIDS that has been published in peer-reviewed literature. Scientist says support for coconut oil’s health benefits can be traced back to the work of Marie-Pierre St-Onge, a professor of nutrition at Columbia University in 2003. And St-Onge had found that eating and cooking with medium chain fatty acids - a type of molecule found in coconut oil - can help dieting adults to burn fat. But as St-Onge pointed out, coconut oil has only 16 per cent medium chain fatty acids. The participants in her studies had received 100 per cent medium chain fatty acids, a custom-made mixture. They says this research has been seized upon by health food marketers and bloggers. Dieting blogs and websites praise coconut oil as a “fat-burning diet miracle” and dietary supplements containing the oil advertise their supposed weight-loss benefits on the label. Basically, data from the original research on medium chain fatty acids has been extrapolated very liberally. To date, most studies done on coconut oil have been either animal studies or small case control or observational studies, which are not sufficient to support and make a consensus on the claims about coconut oil. Thank You.

By,
M Anem,
Senior Agronomist,
Taman Cendana,Bukit Beruang,
Bandar Melaka,
Melaka, Malaysia.
(13 Ramadan 1439H).

Thursday, October 18, 2018

COCONUT HISTORY IN MALAYSIA

COCONUT (Cocos nucifera) it is a drupe (aka stone fruit). It can be found almost along every single coast of Malaysia’s beach and sometimes even inland, which explains why coconut is widely used or consumed in Malaysians’ daily life. From my observation although coconut is everywhere, it doesn’t take its geological advantage to become the main economical crop that contributes to our national Malaysia development, in terms of Gross Domestic Product (GDP), export earnings, as well as livelihood income and employment. Why is this happening so?. Let’s take a look back on the historical story of Malaysia’s coconut. When I talk about a brief coconut history it started around 9,000 years ago, coconut was suspected to be found by humans at some place on earth. No evidence shows what is the exact country of origin but Malaysia’s larger islands and continental coast are indicated to be the regions where coconut was domesticated. Coconut harvesting by a native orang asli family during the 1960s. Dating back to the mid-19th century, where a rough data of Malaysia’s coconut production amount was first recorded (on year 1961), coconut palms were being planted by private sectors and small landholders. It acted as a source of food to these households, while remaining ones would then be traded for other daily necessities. The total area of coconut plantations by that time were, however, not stated in any official documents.

During year 1961, the total amount of production of this agricultural commodity hits top oneamong all crops, with the value of 1,344,819 tonnes. However, it did not bring the most income to Malaysia. The reason behind was because almost 70% of the total production was consumed domestically.Sum of coconut production quantities in Malaysia from year 1961 to 2013. (Data source from FAOSTAT). Than in year 1984, it is officially stated that the total agricultural land use of coconut plantations in Malaysia were 266,202 hectares. The acreage then hit the highest point in the following year with an amount of 334,100 hectares. In 1995, a declination was recorded to roughly 250,000 hectares. Nevertheless, Malaysia was still a net exporter of coconut products, with a total export value of RM165.2 million (US$43 million). Moving on to the early 20th century, the oil crop industry started to flourish in Malaysia. The increased competition from other oils (eg. palm oil, soy bean oil) has caused coconut plantations to be less focused. In year 2012, coconut production quantity significantly dropped to 606,530 tonnes (from top five among Malaysia’s agriculture commodities in year 1985 to top eight in year 2012). In year 2014, Malaysia is no longer a coconut exporter. Supply and Utilization Accounts (SUA) of Selected Agricultural Commodities, Malaysia has shown statistics that the self-sufficiency ratio (SSR) of coconuts was no more 100% (96.7%) while the import dependency ratio (IDR) raised up to 11%. As coconut crop is still being cultivated by smallholdings without using recommended varieties, a declination in yield and farm productivity is now observed in Malaysia, while in the meantime, demands for coconuts are rising in the market. Thanks to all readers regarding thi article.


By,
M Anem,
Senior Agronomist,
Bandar Baru UDA,
Johor Bahru,
Johor.