Participating in 2019 KAPEX Training conducted by KREI is like getting a light in a dark forest. It indeed broadened my understanding and perspective on how to develop environmental friendly fertilizers in agriculture sectors. The training itself was divided into two activities, namely Lecture and Discussion and Field Trips. I also got good experiences in the food and culture of Korea.
In Lecture, I learned regarding Korea’s Policy on Developing Organic Fertilizer and Korea’s Soil Management Practices. It is very important since I am a researcher at the Indonesian Soil Research Institute. The Field Trips were conducted by visiting Korean Fertilizer Association (KFA), Organic Fertilizer Company, Korea Organic Fertilizer Industry Cooperative (KOFIC), Paprika Farm, National Institute for Agricultural Science (NAS), and KREI. The people I met at these institutes inspired me to be a hard-working and innovative researcher.
Before implementing the use of organic fertilizer in agriculture sectors, the first step conducted by Korea was to identify the problems of the soil itself using soil analysis results. After solving the soil problems, then Korea implemented organic fertilizer to improve soil productivity. As presented by Dr. Yoohak Kim from NAS, the soils in Korea are dominated by acidic soils. Therefore, after applying lime to solve the soil acidity, Korea then applied organic fertilizer. The deficiency of silicate in soil was solved by applying silicate since Korea luckily has silicate resources.
Korea also strictly implemented Liebig’s Law or Law of the Minimum. Based on Liebig’s Law, if a deficient nutrient is supplied, yields may be improved to the point that some other nutrients are needed in a greater quantity than the soil can provide. That is why NAS also developed a soil test kit not only for macronutrients but also micronutrients as required by Liebig’s Law. I was really interested in it.
During the field trip, the participants had a chance to visit NAS Lysimeter Station, the biggest Lysimeter Station in Asia with 36 precision lysimeters. The results of this research are used as the basis for a recommendation on water management. It is very great because water is one of the major factors affecting the growth and yield of crops.
At organic fertilizer factories, I also noticed that the factories have installed air quality sensors, which is seen essential for monitoring ammonia and sulfur in the air around the factory. Besides, in order to implement sustainable agriculture, Korea Fertilizer Association developed Controlled Release Fertilizer (CRF). The use of CRF reduces the losses of fertilizer, labor cost, and time needed to apply fertilizer. Through this way, sustainable agriculture can be realized fast.
Visiting Jeonju Hanok Village was another experience during the field trip. It is a great place for pictures, culture, and wandering. Food was fine with plenty of options. Many restaurants sell Korean local cuisine and street food here. I noticed this is a very good place to rent Korean traditional clothes and try them as we like to take pictures. By visiting Hanok Village, I was able to enjoy the food and culture of Korea.
Finally, I thank a lot for well-organized training and also for the warm hospitality during the training. I really expected that KREI and ISRI will have a good and strong partnership in conducting a collaborative research in the future.