Foliar Fertilizer in Malaysia

Published: 12th February 2010
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Agriculture in Malaysia

Malaysia agriculture is currently undergoing a revival and shifting from its original position as a pillar of the nation's economy to its future strategic role as a provider of food and raw materials for agro-based industries. The Asian economic crisis of 1998, fluctuation in prices of important commodities (rubber, oil palm and pepper) and the impending global trade liberalization are contributory factors to this shift. More emphasis has been given to the production of food crops in order to address the twin problems of the growing national food import bill and food security. The demand for food has shown a steady increase due to the growth in income and population as well as changes in lifestyle.

Food imports have increased by 11% per annum between 1990-1995 compared to a slower growth rate of 4% in domestic production. This increasing trend of the shortfall in production to meet national demand is expected to continue and need to be addressed to ensure food security. In order to meet significant and increased national requirements, domestic food production will be enhanced under the NAP3 (New Agricultural Policy 3) through large-scale involvement and production by the private sector. This area is given great emphasis in the NAP3 and is in line with the call by Prime Minister to make agriculture the second vision after the Multimedia Super Corridor.

Fertilizer is the most important production input in agriculture and is critical to the success of agriculture in the country. It is thus an opportune for Glorious Broadway Sdn Bhd to release the RiteGrow range of foliar fertilizers to help increase agricultural productivity in food production in the country.

Fertilizer Usage in Malaysia

The single most important imported item used in crop production in Malaysia is fertilizers. The use of fertilizers has shown a steady increase from 1,034,956 metric tonnes in 1993 to 1,376,061 tonnes in 1998, an increase of about 33%. This increase is significant in that there was no substantial increase in cultivated hectare. The value of fertilizer imports increased from RM687.33 millions in 1993 to RM1, 157,592 millions in 1997. It is estimated that about 63% of fertilizer used are for oil palm, followed by 16% for rubber, 10% for paddy and 11% for other crops.

Under the New Agricultural Policy, horticultural crops such as fruits, vegetables and ornamental crops have been identified as priority crops with good potential to meet the growing domestic and international demand and to generate higher income for producers. The cultivated area for fruits is projected to increase by 44.7% from 244,471 ha in 1995 to 353,733 ha in 2010. Vegetable production is expected to increase by 77.3% from 54,800 ha to 97,160 ha over the same period. The increasing trend in fertilizer use will continue especially in the use of organic and soluble fertilizers (for foliar fertilizers) instead of the traditional reliance on straight fertilizers for plantation and field crops.

About RiteGrow Foliar Fertilizer

RiteGrow foliar fertilizers are imported from the United States since 1996. Due to different environment, the fertilizers have been modified with the addition of trace elements, adjuvant, seaweed, amino acids and other ingredients to improve its efficiency under local conditions. The fertilizers have been formulated and product efficacy evaluated by researchers from the Putra University Malaysia (UPM) and a professional chemist in laboratory and farm. After confirmation of the quality of the physical and chemical properties, these products were evaluated at a number of locations both in the company's farms in Johor and farmer fields.

On-farm trials in Johor have shown impressive results on vegetables and fruits for the past few seasons. Yields of leafy vegetables in the company's farm at Senai, for instance, have progressively increased over few seasons since the use of the RiteGrow fertilizers. Feedbacks from farmers on the performance of RiteGrow foliar fertilizers have also been promising. Its sale has been very encouraging despite the absence of official launch and other product promotional activities.

RiteGrow fertilizers and their selling points

RiteGrow foliar fertilizers are specially formulated to provide the best response from plants in term of crop yield and quality under tropical conditions. Through careful selection of soluble fertilizer sources and the use of additives including adjuvant (e.g. sticker, spreader and penetrant), humic acid and amino acid, it enhances nutrient absorption through the leaves thus increasing the efficiency of nutrient uptake. Micronutrients are also provided in the chelated form to facilitate absorption. The main characteristics of RiteGrow foliar fertilizers are as follow:-

•Complete and balanced nutrient content.

•Increases productivity of up to 15%-65%.

•Controls secretion of abscissic acid and thus prevents the shedding of buds and flowers.

•Presence of humid acid enhances the absorption of nutrients through leaves while minimizing leaf damage caused by fertilizers.

•Easy application by spraying and watering.

•Environmental friendly.

Potential of these products

There is tremendous potential for increased use of foliar fertilizers due to the inherent properties of soils of the humid tropics and current crop management practices. The physical and chemical properties of soil that prevent uptake of essential elements and thus require corrective supplementary feeding of foliar fertilizers at a later stage of plant growth are as follows:-

•High acidity of soil.

•Low content of available P or liable to P-fixation

•Often low content of K, Mg and S.

•Often low in available N.

•Often have a low storage capacity for nutrients

Growers with exception of big plantations do not have a planned fertilizer application program and use fertilizers based on local experience with the crops. All soils are treated alike and it is often the prevailing prices of the produce that determines the fertilizer rate. Unlike farmers in more developed countries and big plantations, there are no soil or tissue tests to determine the actual nutrient requirements for different crops. As a result the yield and quality of crops are adversely affected by nutrient deficiencies that can occur quite early in the life cycle of the crops.

Under these above situations, foliar fertilizers will play an active role in correcting nutrient deficiencies due to the rapid absorption by the leaves compared to that through the roots. The higher prices and incomes from the improvement in quality and quantity during harvest in a more organized marketing system in the future will boost the use of foliar fertilizers as supplementing nutrient feeding.

For more information about foliar fertilizer, go to

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