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Digital agriculture meets plantation management

July 09, 2019

An interview with Sinarmas Forestry’s Kong-Ming Chok

A leader in sustainable plantation management, Indonesia-based Sinarmas Forestry manages companies that operate forest plantations in Sumatra and Kalimantan. The company aims to balance sustainability with profitability, implementing environmentally-conscious plantation practices while creating jobs and opportunities for local communities without compromising the quality material it supplies to customers including pulp and paper mills. To further optimise industrial plantation management, Sinarmas’ Research and Development department focuses on the improvement of tree quality, silviculture, soil and nutrition research, biotechnology, pest and disease control, as well as the improvement of breeding practices.

Managing multiple companies— and even more plantations— doesn’t come without its challenges. The company deployed 30MHz technology at Minas Modern Nursery, which produces 10 million seedlings annually. We spoke to Kong-Ming Chok, Region Head for Nurseries in Riau about his experiences with the ZENSIE platform, and the impact of digital agriculture on Sinarmas.

How did you select 30MHz?

“I have been with Sinarmas Forestry for 8 years, and am currently responsible for nurseries in Riau province. Riau has 18 nurseries, produces 130 million of Acacia Crassicarpa and Eucalyptus seedlings annually, while the entire Sinarmas Forestry produces more than 500 million annually. We were looking for technology to help us optimise our nursery plantation management. The aim of deployment [of 30MHz] was to gather data to streamline routine, correct fertilization dosage, and help manage temperature fluctuations. We first came across 30MHz through discussions with other growers, who recommended the solution. Besides the technology itself, we appreciated that representatives were quick to respond to us, with good support and quick solutions.”

How have you experienced the technology?

“I find the software very user-friendly, and it helps me easily monitor live as well as historical data for temperature, EC and permeability. The products have been surprisingly easy to install. There were no technical skills required to install and go live. Aftersales service has been incredibly efficient with very quick solutions, and the videos were helpful along the way.”

What impact have you seen?

“Data is crucial to plantation management. We invested around $6K in the 30MHz solution, and see minimum gains of investments many times over from our ability to understand the issues and correct the problems. I see the importance of digital agriculture in Indonesia’s future, as information will reduce assumptions within the sector. Specifically, I see 30MHz playing a promising role within the greater industry— large industrial agriculture requires data in order to understand what the plants are experiencing, and respond accordingly.”

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