It is true that the oil palm takes up a lot of nutrients, and we have to take care to maintain the fertility of the soil, which is our main asset. Soil fertility can be preserved by applying chemical or organic fertilisers.
Planters are down-to-earth people, and they do not waste their money. The cultivation and processing of palm fruit produce a lot of organic waste that planters carefully recycle and compost.
The fronds are left on the ground to degrade there, and the stems and fibres are put back on the soil for composting in situ. In Indonesia, we have built a stem-waste composting unit (a comparable unit is planned in Cameroon), which also enables us to recycle effluent rich in organic matter from our factories.
In addition, we use leguminous ground cover plants (Pueraria and/or Mucuna), which fix nitrogen from the air into the soil.
The widespread composting of our organic waste and the use of nitrogen-fixing plants allow us to minimise the use of chemical fertilisers. Their use is limited to plant nurseries and to a few kilos of potassium per tree during peak production periods.