Indonesia is the largest producer of oil palm in the world, and more than 43% of the oil palm plantations is owned by smallholder farmers. Smallholders have a poor yield compared with large plantations, and one reason is that they often use sub-optimal management practices.
Indonesia is the largest producer of oil palm in the world, and more than 43% of the oil palm plantations is owned by smallholder farmers. Smallholders have a poor yield compared with large plantations, and one reason is that they often use sub-optimal management practices. In this project, we work since 2014 with 14 farmers in two different areas of Indonesia (West Kalimantan and Jambi) to test the use of Better Management Practices (BMPs) in demonstration plots. We would like to know to what extent farmers participating in the project implement the better practices in their other fields, and if any learning happens by the farmers in the community who are not participating in the project but who can see the Better Practices when they are implemented in the experimental plots. Are there any enabling factors that allow some farmers to learn and implement the better practices, or constraining factors that lead to non-adoption?
As a comparison, classroom trainings about better practices, with and without field exercises, have been implemented in a second research area in Jambi, Sumatra. Classroom trainings are faster and cheaper than experimental plots, but it is unclear to what extent farmers adopt the trained practices, and why. We would like to know more about this, and to compare the classroom training approach with the use of experimental plots. Are there common ‘attractive’ practices that all farmers like to implement? And are there practices which most farmers perceive as useless or too difficult? What is the difference between farmers and between areas? These and many other questions we would like to answer.
The student working on this project is expected to develop a research plan, carry out two to three months of field work in Indonesia accompanied by a translator, process and analyse the results, and write a thesis report. We are specifically looking for a student with a broad interest who is able to work in the field independently.
Organisation: Cooperation between the Knowledge, Technology and Innovation (KTI) group and the Plant Production Systems (PPS) group of Wageningen UR.
Start and duration: a.s.a.p.
Allowance: Funding is available for the air ticket, transportation in the field, a translator, visa costs. All other costs are to be paid by the student.