SE Asia

Activists' efforts to incite food scares were dismissed by experts, who reassured the public about the safety of palm oil in a recent announcement by the Malaysian Palm Oil Association (MPOA).
In an October 13 article, MPOA chairman Datuk Sabri Ahmad was quoted as saying:
"Palm oil has been thoroughly tested for traces of paraquat in oil extracted from oil palm treated with paraquat. At the limit of detection of 0.02 mg/kg, no paraquat residues were found in the oil."
This information is consistent with over 40 years of experience with paraquat, including extensive analysis of harvested crops, which show that for the vast majority of uses no paraquat residues are expected in harvested crops. This is due the fact that the active ingredient, paraquat, becomes inactive on contact with the soil, and, therefore, cannot be taken up by the roots of plants.
For more information about the safety of paraquat click here.
Oil palm is an important crop in Malaysia and is growing increasingly important around the world, with global production of palm oil now overtaking soybean oil to be the world’s leading vegetable oil. Herbicides like paraquat play a central role in oil palm agriculture, helping to successfully establish the crop by eliminating weeds that compete for vital nutrients and water.
For more information about paraquat use in oil palm, click here.
'Sagip-Lupa' means 'save our soil' and that’s just what the Philippines’ Sagip-Lupa Soil Conservation Project is designed to do.
Soil erosion leads to depletion of nutrient content due to loss of surface soil where, unfortunately, most of the nutrients required by plants are found. Farmers in erosion-prone areas often resort to increased use of fertilizers to augment lost soil nutrients.
The Sagip-Lupa project, which began in December 2004, was created to minimize or eliminate the risk of soil erosion on Philippine farmland using paraquat for effective weed management as part of a zero-tillage system.
Collaborators on the project include regional agricultural and environmental management thought leaders, such as the University of the Philippines Los Baños.
"As a weed science expert, my philosophy is very simple: Bring technologies to the farmers. Hence, I'm very glad to be chosen as overall coordinator of the Sagip-Lupa Soil Conservation Project. This project reaches out to the grassroots level, which are the farmers, offering them technologies that address their concerns about soil erosion and effective weed management,” says Dr. Gil L. Magsino, Head of the Training and Extension Division of the National Crop Protection Center, UP Los Banos, Philippines.
Additional evidence of the benefits of paraquat was revealed at the 20th Asia Pacific Weed Science Society (APWSS) congress in Ho Chi Minh in November 2005, where results of a study showed that no-till rice farming methods using paraquat significantly reduced methane emissions.
The study, entitled, “The Effect of Water Regime and Soil Management on Methane (CH4) Emission from Rice Field” was a collaborative effort between Syngenta Research and Development Station, Cikampek and Agricultural Environment Preservation Research Station, Jakenan, in Indonesia. Syngenta is a leading manufacturer or paraquat.
Field data collected over the one-year study examined the effects of different watering systems as well as different tilling systems and showed that no-till systems reduced methane emissions by 43% compared to normal-till methods in Indonesia’s wet season.
The researchers concluded that “the best CH4 gas mitigation option in terms of benefit gain and CH4 reduction was the zero tillage, combined with intermittent/saturated water regime plus application of 0.4 kg a.i. paraquat/ha before transplanting….”
Methane reduction