NBPOL has operated an Integrated Pest Management (IPM) system since 1998. The system follows generally accepted principles of field monitoring, cultural control practices, biological controls and targeted use of pesticides needed to maintain pest damage below economic damage thresholds. This is backed by strong research and development support.
As a first step in our IPM strategy we use good agricultural practices such as ground cover management, maintenance of nectar-producing plants and use of high-quality planting materials to suppress pests and diseases. Manual weeding is undertaken for mature plantings to ensure that minimal chemical application is needed.
We train our field operators to recognise signs of pest and disease outbreaks in order to initiate early control responses. Smaller infestations of weeds or insect pests are limited through manual weeding or hand picking.
Through a long-term active R&D programme we are constantly improving and reviewing our use of biological controls, and currently apply a wide range of methods such hymenoptera egg parasitoids and stichotrema to control Sexava, Baculovirus to control orycytes, psyllid bugs to suppress mimosa and the gall fly Cecidochares connexa to combat Chromolaena.
Access to agrichemicals is highly restricted, and all hazardous substances are stored in designated sheds. We keep a register of accidents and incidences of abuse or misuse of chemicals, as well as monitoring health effects and toxicity. Over the past decade, we have continuously reduced our pesticide usage, and based on available public data suggests that we have one of the lowest levels in the industry.
We do not use bio-accumulative and persistent pesticides. In accordance with our commitment to the Palm Oil Innovation Group (POIG) Charter we do not use chemicals listed as World Health Organisation Class 1A or 1B, Stockholm or Rotterdam Conventions, FSC ‘Highly Hazardous’ list, SAN prohibited pesticide list, or Paraquat (N,N′-dimethyl-4,4′-bipyridinium dichloride).
Some pesticides, such as methamidophos, may be used as a last resort for emergencies such as severe Sexava infestation, but in strict compliance with best management practice as prescribed by the PNG Oil Palm Research Association and only on approval by the Palm Oil Innovation Group (POIG) Organising Committee. Dimehypo, a less toxic alternative to methamidophos has been trialled, Government import approvals have been secured, and we will use this in place of methamidophos in 2016.
Monitoring and reporting
The use of pesticides is monitored by monthly reports from estate offices. Group level pesticide use measured in toxicity units per hectare is reported biennially in our sustainability report. Pesticide usage will typically vary year-on-year in line with climatic conditions, pest levels and crop life-cycle. However, due to our continuous monitoring we are able to track long-term trends and have noted a dramatic decrease in toxicity units over time – particularly linked to the phase-out of Paraquat that was completed in 2012. We limit our reporting to herbicides due to their common usage in plantation management.
Insecticides, rodenticides and other pesticides are used infrequently, targeted, and limited in accordance with the restrictions set out by the RSPO P&C and the POIG Charter Indicators.
Pesticides currently in use
|Herbicides||Metsulfuron Methyl (Ally)
2,4-D Acid Amine
Fluroxypyr meptyl (Starane)
Methamidiphos (Emergency use only) – to be replaced by Dimehypo