In 2011, we visited the biggest chemical fertilizer company in Indonesia, the Petrokimia in Gresik, East Java. We were quite surprised to discover that it was also the biggest organic fertilizer maker in that country. At that time it was producing no less than 1,700,000 tons of Petroganik organic fertilizer a year.
The company had anticipated the increasing demand for organic farming inputs as Indonesia was targeting the big markets for organic produce in Japan and many countries in Europe. The company had observed that buyers of organic produce were getting more and more interested in Indonesia because of the heavy usage of farm chemicals in Thailand.
Petrokimia had an active research department that was not only developing products for farm crops but also for farm animals (poultry and ruminants) as well as for fish. The organic fertilizer was claimed to be free of pathogenic bacteria. Aside from increasing soil fertility, it increased water-holding capacity and enriched the macro and micronutrients in the soil.
When the biofertilizer is applied to the soil, microbes readily and safely convert complex materials into simple compounds so that the nutrients are easily taken up by the plants. It contains nitrogen-fixing bacteria and phosphate solvent bacteria. It also stimulates root growth development and is claimed to increase efficiency of chemical fertilizer that is applied to the soil.
Gresik is a fish farming area and Petrokimia has developed a probiotic product that enables the fishpond owners to produce organic bangus and shrimps. The product is called Petrofish which is claimed to stabilize the gut microflora in fish and shrimps, thus avoiding disease.
The fish and shrimp are claimed to be protected from disease-causing microbes. The product reduces pollution in the pond and also increases natural feeds in the growing area. It does not only increase yield, it also improves the quality of the harvest.
By the way, we visited a thriving business in the fishing villlage where they produced a lot of smoked bangus for sale through commercial establishments. We witnessed the operation of a processor as well as a commercial store specializing in smoked bangus and other marine products.
It was enlightening to know that a big time chemical fertilizer manufacturer in Indonesia was also a major producer of organic fertilizer for the production of more healthful farm produce.–ZAC B. SARIAN