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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 545000 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 fo rest 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 71000 per ha) or socially (negative Rp 315000 per ha). These treatments and the agronomic results are taken from experiments conducted at the Biological Maintenance of Soil Fertility (BMS F) research project at the ASB benchmark area in Lampung. However an intermediate approach w ith fertilizer applications beginning in year seven (50 kg N; 50 kg P) does produce relatively attractive returns at both private prices (Rp 360000 per ha) and social prices (Rp 224000 per ha). However the longer-run sustainability of this system requires further study. Note that because of chemical fertilizer price subsidies that were st ill in effect in mid-1 997 cassava is one of the few cases where estimated ‘divergences’ are positive indicating that policy increases private profitability

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