All about Urea Fertilizer

Urea fertilizer is made up of 46 percent of nitrogen. Therefore, it is an ideal source of nitrogen for plants. Urea fertilizer is made up of mainly ammonia. In order for effective absorption to occur, a healthy soil microbiota population is needed in the soil. Having a high nitrogen content, urea fertilizer is excellent for plants that require nitrogen to promote green leafy growth and to make plants look lush. Mainly, urea fertilizer is used for bloom growth due to the high nitrogen content without phosphorus and potassium.

Urea fertilizer should not come in contact directly with the seeds. Therefore, it should be applied as a top dressing during sowing period rather than around the seeds. Urea should also be mixed with earth or sand before application in order to avoid over concentration of nitrogen in the soil around the plant.




How is it produced?

Urea is found as a natural component in animals and human urine. This fertilizer is the very first type of organic fertilizer that can be manufactured using chemical processes. In 1828, a discovery was made when potassium cyanate was treated with ammonium, producing urea from the process. Currently, urea fertilizer is produced by the processing of ammonia and carbon dioxide.




Advantages and Disadvantages of Urea Fertilizer

One of the advantages of urea fertilizer is its high content of nutrient along with its ability to increase crop yields by a great amount. Other than that, this type of fertilizer poses no explosion hazard and is easy to handle while having a wide range of application.

On the other hand, soil quality will be degraded when urea is used excessively in the soil. Over a long term of usage, urea fertilizers deplete the soil quality as there is a loss in beneficial soil microbes in the soil. Excessive usage and leaching can also cause adverse effects on the environment.



Palm Kernel Shell as Bio-fertilizer

What is bio-fertilizer and Palm Kernel Shell (PKS)?

Palm kernel shell (PKS) is the portion of the palm seed left behind once the nut is removed for oil production. Previously, before PKS was used as a recyclable source, the shells were merely buried into the soil or burned in order to dispose them. These activities cause pollution to the environment as well as loss to the producers.



How to produce fertilizer from PKS?

Bio-fertilizer from PKS is mainly produced via the pyrolysis process. During the process, the source is treated in reactors with very high temperatures with the absence of oxygen. The product is mainly in solid form. From the pyrolysis, biochar of PKS will be produced. The biochar is later treated with other biomass such as chicken manure to produce bio-fertilizer that can then be used to directly fertilize plants.



Advantages of using PKS for bio-fertilizer production:

The main use of PKS as discussed in this article is as fertilizer. Studies has shown that using bio-fertilizer produced from PKS has a positive effect on the growth of plants. Soil with high acidity benefits from the application of this bio-fertilizer by being able to provide more nutrients to the plants. Other than that, this bio-fertilizer also has the ability to promote water retention in the soil which aids in the growth and health of the plants.

Another advantage of the usage of PKS is the reduction of waste from palm oil mills. Since unrecycled PKS will only be burned and disposed, recycling the waste into a reusable source could benefit the mill by selling the PKS to companies that produce bio-fertilizer from this material. This, in return, could also reduce the pollution to the environment due to the burning and disposal of the waste.

The PKS charcoal that can be produced from PKS is a precursor for activated carbon. Currently, activated carbon is mostly prepared from coconut shells. This source of raw material is more costly than using PKS for the same product. Therefore, if PKS is recycled to produce activated carbon, the cost of processing could be reduced while increasing the outcome.



Palm Oil Mill Waste as Fertilizer

The palm oil industry is one of the largest industries in Malaysia. This rich with resources country processes palm oil both for local usage and for exports. Being one of the largest palm oil producers, there is also a lot of waste generated by palm oil-producing factories. If mismanaged, the waste could lead to pollution. The good news is that most of the waste from a palm oil factory can be recycled to produce a different product. Several common wastes and their recycled products are discussed here. Palm Kernel Shells (PKS) The kernel shells are the left behind fractions of the palm seed once the nut is removed by the crushing mill. The shells consist of a mixture of large and small particles and dust-like particles. These kernels have a low moisture content. Therefore, it is easier to process the kernels as they require less biological activity, energy, and power consumption during processing (due to their low moisture content). A process known as microwave vacuum pyrolysis converts the PKS into fertilizer. Via this process, the fertilizer is formed as biochar. Biochar is an organic bio-fertilizer that causes less harm to plants than chemical fertilizers. In a study, biochar was used to fertilize oyster mushrooms. The result came out impressive with bigger, heavier as well as faster grown mushrooms.

Empty Fruit Bunches (EFBs) As the name describes, empty fruit bunches are simply the bunches of fruits that are left behind once the oil palm seeds are removed. Some factories burn these bunches, causing air pollution. Therefore, instead of merely burning the EFBs, steps can be taken to convert the waste into compost fertilizer. The EFBs could be composted into fertilizer that can be used for various plants, fruits, and crops. Larger companies process the EFBs in high pressured machines to quicken the composting process before applying the fertilizer to crops. Small scale farmers however, directly place the EFBs around their oil palm trees where the bunches act as a water storage source, reduce weeds and also fertilize the trees as they slowly decompose. 

Palm Oil Mill Effluent (POME) One of the highly polluting waste of palm oil mills is Palm Oil Mil Effluent (POME). POME is a form of liquid that is normally discarded into nearby ponds, leading to groundwater and soil pollution as well as releasing methane gas into the environment. This liquid effluent can be recycled into fertilizer. For the fertilizer production, the raw effluent is first treated anaerobically before adding to chicken manure. This mixture forms an excellent NPK fertilizer which has been proven to increase the leaves size of kangkung while producing fresher produce. Other than kangkung, it could also be used as a fertilizer for other types of vegetables and fruits. 

MPOC: Palm oil production to increase to 19.6 million tonnes in 2021

Photo Credit: theedgemarkets.com

KUALA LUMPUR (Jan 5): Total Malaysian palm oil production is expected to increase slightly by 200,000 tonnes to 19.6 million tonnes in 2021, versus 19.4 million tonnes a year ago, according to the Malaysian Palm Oil Council (MPOC).

However, this also means that the projected Malaysian palm oil production still fell short of 19.8 million tonnes in 2019.

Going into 2021, MPOC chief executive officer Datuk Dr. Kalyana Sundram, in a virtual conference at the Palm Oil Trade Fair and Seminar 2021 today, said the palm oil global supply is expected to be affected by the La Nina weather pattern.

Meanwhile, Malaysia’s crude palm oil (CPO) export is estimated to be at 4.5 million tonnes, of which India, the Netherlands, Kenya, Italy, and Spain are among the major markets.

“Malaysian CPO export to India in 2021 is likely to stay strong as the current levy on Indonesian CPO export will give a price advantage to Malaysia,” said Kalyana, noting that this is despite the re-imposition of Malaysian CPO export duty from January 2021.

Note that imports to India rose significantly from June onward after the zero CPO export tax from Malaysia, which in turn helped support CPO prices in the second half of last year.

However, palm oil export from China — which also saw strong demand last year — will be challenged due to lower and prices of other oils versus palm oil, said Kalyana.

Credit: theedgemarkets.com | Wong Ee Lin; Surin Murugiah

Palm oil export value will suffer if Malaysia stops exporting to EU, says minister

Credit: Bernama

KUALA LUMPUR (Nov 26): Malaysia’s palm oil export value to the global market would be affected if Malaysia no longer exports the commodity and other palm-based products to the European Union (EU) as the region is the country’s second-largest palm oil market after China, said the Ministry of Plantation Industries and Commodities (KPPK).

Minister Datuk Dr. Mohd Khairuddin Aman Razali said the country’s export of palm oil to the EU amounted to 2.8 million tonnes.

“Out of this total, the export value of palm oil and palm-based products to the EU in the first nine months of this year amounted to RM8.5 billion compared with RM8 billion in the same period in 2019,” he said during his winding up debate on the Supply Bill 2021 in the Dewan Rakyat today.

However, Mohd Khairuddin said the government was always striving to increase the export value of palm oil and palm-based products by exploring new markets which are net importers of oils and fats.

“The market demand for palm oil was encouraging over the past few years.

“The new markets are Central Asia — Uzbekistan, Kazakhstan, Turkmenistan, and Kyrgystan; Europe — Bosnia and Herzegovina, Croatia, Romania, and Montenegro; Africa — Mauritania, Congo, Madagascar, and Kenya; the Middle East and West Asia — Algeria, Morocco, Yemen, and Libya; and America — Haiti, Jamaica, and the Caribbean,” he said.

In a related development, Mohd Khairuddin said the Ministry of Finance (MoF) through Budget 2021 had announced an allocation of RM20 million to address the anti-palm oil campaign.

“KPPK believes the lower allocation is in line with cost savings from the overseas mission and physical engagement sessions which could not be undertaken due to the Covid-19 global pandemic.

“Towards that end, the ministry will continue to carry out promotional efforts to increase the marketability of palm products virtually and through government-to-government cooperation.

“I am confident that with the allocation, we will be able to implement an advocacy strategy that is capable of addressing the concerns expressed,” he said.

Article credit: https://www.theedgemarkets.com/author/Bernama



Phosphorus is a chemical element with the symbol P and atomic number 15. Phosphorus is a vital component in reviving the energy of a plant, especially during the photosynthesis process. Phosphorus brings vigor to all plants. Generally, it helps convert other nutrients within the plant and helps in the growth of the plant.

If the plants are not growing, or the flowers are little are non at all with weak root systems, it shows that the plant lacks phosphorus.
Phosphorus in minerals is called phosphates from the earth. Phosphorus can also be found, in the human body.

The main function of phosphorus in a human body is in the formation of bones and teeth, as the body needs phosphorus to make protein for the development and growth of the body, for maintenance and in repairing cells and tissues in a human body.

Some of the food that is rich with phosphorus includes eggs, cottage cheese, milk, hard cheese, sunflower seeds, chicken, pumpkin seeds, and canned sardines in oil.

White phosphorus is used in some explosives, including rockets and poison for rats. The red phosphorus is used in safety matches, tracer bullets, incendiary devices, pesticides, pyrotechnic devices, and fireworks

Experts Say Malaysia’s Palm Oil Industry Can Do Better

She said the industry needs to tackle the interlinked sustainability challenges, particularly relating to environmental, climate change and social issues.

“In order to do that, it will require leadership and I urge the Malaysian government, which has enormous muscle power, to get into this in a big way as it did when it chose palm oil (to be one of the income generators to the economy),” she said during the International Palm Oil Sustainability Conference 2020 (IPOSC 2020) virtual question and answer (Q&A) session today.

Among the challenges she highlighted is the European Union’s (EU) decision to phase out palm oil in transport fuels from 2030, the reduction in biodiversity and the threat of extinction of rare species.

Tsakok, who was one of the panellists during the two-hour Q&A session, noted that the industry should find solutions to increase fresh fruit bunches (FFB) production, despite the climate change that lowers the FFB and other agricultural yields, and address the alleged labour rights violation and land grabs from indigenous communities.

The crop, she noted, has been driving agricultural transformation, inclusive growth and poverty reduction in the country, and it is the most efficient way of satisfying the growing global demand for vegetable oil as it uses one-tenth of the land of its rival crops.

However, its very success makes it controversial, she said.

“Palm oil is new to me as I am from Mauritius and we grow coconut there… so it is fascinating to me to see how powerful palm oil is to Malaysia and how it has helped to eradicate poverty.

“However, as someone who is observing the industry from the outside, I also see that palm oil has ‘two faces’. On one hand, there are many wonderful things that you are doing, and you have, but on the other hand, there are a lot of ugly things too,” she said.

She noted that notable issues include the empowerment of the B40 group in the industry — namely the smallholders, issues of indigenous land, labour rights and deforestation.

Tsakok, who holds a PhD in Economics from Harvard University and a World Bank retiree, noted that despite the challenges, the industry can do better as palm oil is a versatile oil which has a lot to offer to the world.

Meanwhile, another panellist, IOI Corporation Bhd’s Head of Sustainability Dr Surina Ismail said that working with the Government is one of the best ways to manage the challenges faced by the industry.

“All along the supply chain, everybody must play their part in the upstream or the downstream sector.

“We must help and encourage the growers, especially the smallholders, to produce sustainably and get the recognition from big companies locally and abroad,” she said.

Meanwhile, commenting on the Certified Sustainable Palm Oil (CSPO), Roundtable Sustainable Palm Oil strategic stakeholder relations director Salahudin Yaacob said the certification is necessary for big and small players, allowing them to enter more markets.

“Currently, CSPO’s production is low. The Government, consumers and industry stakeholders need to work together to increase awareness on the CSPO.

“We need to enforce the requirement to make sustainable palm oil renowned and this can be achieved by producing only CSPO,” he said.

Two EU representatives, Frans Claassen and Paivi Makkonen said there should be more constructive dialogues between palm oil-producing countries and the EU Government.

They also stressed that having good governance to promote a healthy supply chain in the industry is crucial, as well as ensuring that no human rights are violated.

Closing the discussion, Sime Darby Plantation sustainability head Rashyid Redza Anwarudin said there are still a lot of work that needs to be done to improve the industry.

“We need to ensure the work we do is as inclusive. We have to remember that it’s an important industry in this part of the world. It has contributed in a major way to the social economy and development of the region.

“It has, more importantly, touched the everyday lives of the people,” he said.

The IPOSC 2020 is the Malaysian Palm Oil Council’s biannual conference that highlights the sustainability challenges and opportunities in the Malaysian palm oil industry.

This year’s conference is being hosted on a virtual platform, comprising two modules, in response to the global COVID-19 pandemic.

Module 1 today featured presentations from sustainability experts from the agriculture, research and palm oil sectors who shared their views on the efforts by global agricultural commodities towards achieving sustainability and carbon neutrality.

Module 2, on renewable energy, climate change and food security will take place from Oct 12-20, 2020.

Source : The Edge Markets

Credit: MPOC