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Agriculture yield estimation using geospatial information

Agricultural land suitability and its production estimation can be assessed using geospatial information. A study was conducted to estimate the optimal post-harvest production of a medicinal herb in order to increase its market value.

Introduction
Curcuma Xanthorrhiza (Curcuma) or more widely known as ‘Temulawak’ is a popular medicinal herb in Indonesia. It is used in treatment of diseases such as liver disorders and hepatitis as it increases bile production, aid digestion, overcoming inflammation of the gall bladder, stomach ulcers and kidney disorders. Real efficacies of Curcuma earn it the title of national medicinal plant.

Regardless of its popularity, Curcuma is facing uncertain market price due to its unpredictable productivity. The estimation of agricultural production is important; especially when the prices are unstable and the crops productivity are unbalanced. The sales turnover of medicinal herbs in Indonesia is still very low, ranging from 0.22% recently, which means it has a tremendous potential to expand. For these reasons, the study on medicinal herb productivity for national and international markets is very important.

This study aims to estimate how optimum is the harvest of Curcuma in Bogor region, and how the national and international needs of herbal medicine can be fulfilled. The desired results are the synergies among agribusiness stakeholders ranging from Curcuma farmers, traders and the herbal medicine industry.

How geospatial information helps
A land suitability information system can help in managing crops. The system can derive information such as farmer’s capacity and productivity levels by using geospatial information. A land suitability map can show the location and the extent of each level of conformance, especially at good or optimum level. In addition, researchers can study more about the actual field feasibility and the suitable plant capacity level according to the capacity of the farmer groups. Land suitability maps also can be used to determine the location of demonstration plots or breeding trials. Demonstration plot model can be used as a reference at production phase to achieve optimum level.

Geospatial and non-geospatial data used
The main data used are (1) Land suitability level map for Curcuma cultivation, in scale of 1:25,000 of Bogor region. The map was taken from PKPP Incentive Research and Technology study result, done by Bakosurtanal survey in 2010 and 2011; (2) Data from Demonstration Plot of Curcuma cultivation trials at medium suitability classes within appropriate levels; (3) Village statistics particularly land ownership or the tilling of the soil; (4) Field survey data, particularly physical fields data; and (5) Farmers’ capacity data according to their respective farmer groups.

In addition to the main data, researchers also used data and information sourced from Curcuma books and scientific papers on medicinal plants, especially Curcuma commodities. Additional data also includes cultivation location comparison, crops productivity, and marketing efforts from several Curcuma production centers.


Land Suitability Map of Curcuma Cultivation in Bogor

Methodology
The methodology involved analysis of the existing “Land Suitability Level Map for Curcuma Cultivation”, field visit of sample area, making demonstration plot for Curcuma pilot project, collect land ownership and land management data as well as conducted meetings between farmer groups to explore their interests (farmers, farm workers and landowners). Results then analysed to describe the purpose of the study. The following figure is a flow diagram of research methods.


Flow Diagram of Research Methods

 


Curcuma cultivation experiments in the Demontration Plot (Demplot)

Results and conclusion
Results of benchmarking in a few selected locations indicate the interrelated relationship between the systems of agriculture, wages of labor, harvest volume and post-harvest price. Based on the findings, the cultivation of Curcuma in the slope of mountainside between 25-40% damages the stability of soil fertility and evokes the environmental degradation. During the site survey, several locations were rejected by two farmer groups. One group’s land consists of a rainfed paddy field and another group’s land spreads out in the mountainside between 25-40%.

From the survey conducted with representatives from two villages, it was derived that with total land of 11.530 hectare, only 230.6 hectares are ready for Curcuma cultivation (2% of the area), with a guaranteed price of Rp. 3.000/kg at harvest-time.

Results of benchmarking with comparable locations:

In conclusion, Curcuma Land Suitability Map can be used as an initial capital level of conformity to determine the suitability level in the demonstration plots. Demonstration plot gives an actual result that can be used as a reference to estimate optimum production. The estimation results indicate that Bogor region has a potential for cultivating plants with a covering area of 5967.342 hectares. It has a production capacity of 94.284 tons. However, the selling price plays a big role to motivate farmers to plant Curcuma.

Acknowledgements

  • To Drs.Sumartoyo for the contribution of data and information systems for land associated with land use data in the study area as well as cooperation in the field survey team.
  • To Ms. Stella Sinaga, SSi. andAlbertusKrisnaPratama Putra, SSi., for helping to compile maps of land suitability for Curcuma cultivation.