The Jakarta Post
State-owned plantation firm PT Perkebunan Nusantara (PTPN) VIII is planning to establish cooperation with various research institutions next year in an effort to improve productivity levels in the company’s tea plantations amid recent volatile weather conditions.
The company will also continue its collaboration with a biotechnology research institution in Bogor, West Java, to find the right technology that could boost the annual productivity of its tea plantations, which amounted to only 1,200 kilograms per hectare last year as a result of the El Niño weather phenomenon.
“Technology introduced by the institution will help us to maximize the number of plucking points. For instance, with our current system, a 1-square-meter plot can only produce 200 plucking points. With the new technology, it could increase to 350 plucking points,” PTPN VIII operation director Tatang Supriatna said in a discussion on Monday.
Tatang explained that the major threat to tea plantation productivity was climate change, which caused the temperature around the company’s plantation areas rise by 5-7 degrees Celsius.
“This is a big challenge for the industry since the growth of tea plants will be heavily influenced should the temperature be higher than 27 degrees Celsius,” he said.
The government’s plantation business is operated by 14 state plantation firms nationwide, with Medan-based PTPN III serving as the holding company.
PTPN VIII, which is based in Bandung, West Java, currently manages over 40 plantations in 11 regions in the province and two other regions in Banten.
Its annual production capacity ranges from 45,000 to 50,000 tons of tea, around 40 percent of the national’s total production of 129,000 tons in 2015. Nearly 90 percent of the company’s production output is exported to countries in the Middle East and Europe. (win/hwa)
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