Revival of an ancient starch crop: A review of the agronomy of the sago palm

TitleRevival of an ancient starch crop: A review of the agronomy of the sago palm
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication1988
AuthorsFlach, M, Schuiling, DL
JournalAgroforestry Systems
Date PublishedDecember 1988
Keywordsagriculture; forestry; metroxylon; natural stands; palm agronomy; perennial crop; planting; sago palm; starches

Since 1971 there has been a revival of interest in the possibilities for cultivation of the true sago palm, Metroxylon spp. Agronomic and economic research shows that the palm can become an important starch producing crop. Many queries concerning the agronomy of the crop have been solved. The palm is especially suited to humid tropical lowlands. It is fairly salinity tolerant, but less tolerant to swampy conditions than generally thought. Research programmes to solve the remaining problems have been started in Sarawak on peat soils and will be started in Indonesia on mineral soils, both regarding the cultivated crop and exploitation of natural stands. Yields of 5 tons of dry starch per ha and year in the first year, increasing to 15 tons in the tenth, are to be expected in good quality natural stands under cultivation and on mineral soils. In new plantings there will be no yield in the first eight years; after that yields will increase rapidly to 25 tons per ha and year, tapering off slowly to 15 tons. Yields on peat soils under cultivation are expected to remain 25% lower. In both natural stands and plantings an extensive drainage system is to be provided, which also allows the trunks, the raw material, to be floated out to the factory. Both systems of cultivation are expected to be economically viable with an internal rate of return estimated at 10%.

Journal Abbreviation

Agroforest Syst


0167-4366; 1572-9680

Short TitleRevival of an ancient starch crop

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