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Profitability assessment of transmigration land use system in dryland peneplain zone of Lampung: continuous annual food crop farming system, degrated to Imperata cylindrica grassland

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Sustainable forms of continuous foodcrop production may be technically feasible in Sumatra’s peneplains, but often are not financially attractive because they require too much labor and too many purchased inputs. The study has focused on cassava, which may be among the most profitable of the continuous foodcrop alternatives for the peneplains. The most profitable cassava system studied was an extensive fallow system without any fertilizer applications. Profitability at private prices was estimated at over Rp 545,000 per ha. However, these systems mine nutrients, exhausting the soil and reducing the range of future land use options. Two cassava systems that use fertilizer are included in the study; one with fertilizer applications from the first year and one with fertilizer beginning in the seventh year after forest clearing. Application of fertilizer from the first year after clearing (30 kg N; 60 kg P; and 60 kg K per year) is not profitable privately (negative Rp 71,000 per ha) or socially (negative Rp 315,000 per ha). These treatments and the agronomic results are taken from experiments conducted at the Biological Maintenance of Soil Fertility (BMSF) research project at the ASB benchmark area in Lampung. However, an intermediate approach with fertilizer applications beginning in year seven (50 kg N; 50 kg P) does produce relatively attractive returns at both private prices (Rp 360,000 per ha) and social prices (Rp 224,000 per ha). However, the longer-run sustainability of this system requires further study. Note that, because of chemical fertilizer price subsidies that were still in effect in mid-1997, cassava is one of the few cases where estimated ‘divergences’ are positive, indicating that policy increases private profitability

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