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Hey Farmers, These Are Types and Functions of Fertilizers for Plants


Fertilizers play an important role in determining the success of farming. As an agricultural country where most of the population works in the agricultural sector, the presence of fertilizer producers in Indonesia gives a major contribution to the realization of national food security. 

PT Pupuk Kalimantan Timur (PKT) is one of domestic fertilizer producers that is committed to providing quality fertilizers to encourage agricultural productivity. This time, will review several types of fertilizers produced by PKT and their functions for plants which have been proven to increase crop yields. Among the fertilizers are NPK Pelangi, NPK for cocoa plants, and various biofertilizers. 

NPK Pelangi

Produced by PKT, the fertilizer is suitable for all types of food crops, horticulture and plantation crops. It is created in a physical mixing technique (bulk blending) using high quality raw materials such as Urea Granules, Diammonium Phosphate (DAP) and KCL which are sources of potassium from original flakes (flakes) that contain 60 percent Potassium Oxide (K2O). 

Some benefits of NPK Pelangi are:

– Releasing nutrients according to the original characteristics or properties of raw materials, because urea granules is a slow release nitrogen fertilizer that is more efficiently absorbed by plants. 

– Has a very high phosphate content and element, with various nutrient compositions that are adapted to the needs of agricultural crops. 

– More effective, efficient and last longer, and could increase crop yields. 

NPK Pelangi is made in various nutrient compositions suitable for food crops, horticulture and plantations, and adjusts plant needs for nutrients in their growth. Some of the compositions of NPK Pelangi are: 

– The compositions of 20-10-10 and 16-16-16 are recommended for food crops and horticulture, such as rice, corn, chili, tomatoes, cabbage and various types of vegetable crops. 

– The compositions of 12-12-17-2, 15-15-6-4 and 12-6-27-4 for plantation types such as palm oil, cocoa, and rubber. 

As the name implies, NPK Pelangi contains these following nutrients:

– Nitrogen (N) for the formation or growth of plant vegetative parts such as leaves, stems and roots. 

– Phosphorus (P) to stimulate root growth, especially in young plants, also accelerate the flowering and marketing of fruit, seeds or grain 

– Potassium (K) which is useful to strengthen parts of plants, such as leaves, flowers and fruit so that they do not fall easily. It also improves plant resistance to drought, pest and disease attacks, and makes plant stems stronger so they are not easy to fall. 

NPK Pelangi is a non-subsidized fertilizer. Although the price is higher than the subsidized fertilizers, the use of NPK Pelangi is much more efficient and its agricultural products are more abundant. The fact is acknowledged by farmers in every demonstration plot (deplot) program for various commodities which has been continuously done by PKT. 

In a demonstration plot program for rice carried out together with Kelompok Tani Makmur in Jember Regency, East Java, the crop yields evidently increased by 30 percent per hectare. Meanwhile, the results of demonstration plot trials on two varieties, Sertani 9 and Logawa, reached 9.5 tons per hectare and 10.6 tons per hectare respectively. 

The same result was seen towards shallots in Ambalawi Village, Bima Regency, West Nusa Tenggara, where the yields increased up to 30 percent per hectare with a planting period of 50 days. Previously, the productivity of local shallots only reached 15 tons per hectare. Thanks to the balanced fertilization of NPK Pelangi, the yields reached 20 tons per hectare. 

“The onion bulbs were also bigger than usual. That’s only 50 days, if we adjust the planting period to 70 days, I’m sure the yields will also be much higher,” said Damrus, one of the shallot farmers in Ambalawi Village as reported by, October 13, 2019. 

The yield increase was also made for Servo F1 tomatoes, which were cultivated by Kelompok Tani Agro Lestari, Bontang Lestari Village, Bontang City, on a 3/4 hectare land area. Entering the 5th  harvest, the yields could reach 1 ton of tomatoes, with an average of 1.2 kg per stem. The amount was not included in the yields during the previous four harvests which reached 2.1 tons. 

“There was a difference in results of about 40 percent higher than before using NPK Pelangi. Even though the price is higher than subsidized fertilizers, the use is much more efficient and the yields have increased dramatically,” said Bambang Tridaryono from Bontang Food Security, Fisheries and Agriculture Service (DKP3). 

Furthermore, based on the independent demonstration plot program on a 0.04 hectare area for cabbage in Songan A Village, Kintamani District, Bangli Regency, Bali Province, on July 23, 2020, the yields increased with a weight reaching 2.53 – 3 kg / fruit, from previously 2.28 kg. The demonstration plot used a balanced fertilization pattern of NPK Pelangi with a composition of 16-16-16, with a planting period of 70 days. 

NPK for Cocoa Plants

PKT also produces NPK Pelangi 14-12-16-4 fertilizer as a new breakthrough in the composition of special fertilization for cocoa plants which has been developed since 2017. It is a subsidized fertilizer distributed in the provinces of South Sulawesi, West Sulawesi, Southeast Sulawesi and Central Sulawesi, with a 50 kg package. 

The special NPK Pelangi is present through a partnership between Pupuk Kaltim and PISAgro, the Cocoa Sustainability Partnership (CSP) and PRISMA (Australia Indonesia Partnership for Promoting Rural Incomes through Support for Markets in Agriculture). 

As reported by, PKT Partnership Manager Muhammad Burmansyah said the pioneering of special cocoa fertilizers was started from learning the upstream to downstream partnerships in West Nusa Tenggara, to be developed in Sulawesi, which becomes a cocoa center in eastern Indonesia. 

NPK 14-12-16-4 was initiated for the commercial (non-subsidized) fertilizer sector. In its journey, the government has been making this product as a Subsidized Fertilizer Program since 2019. 

According to PKT Production Director Bagya Sugihartana, through the National Program of NPK Fertilizer Cocoa Special Formula, the company is expected to be a pioneer in precision agriculture for the increase of the nation’s cocoa productivity. 

Moreover, the company has established strategic partnerships with the government, and developed strong emotional ties to move forward with farmers who are focused on export-oriented national superior commodities, in accordance with the 2020-2024 RPJMN and the Master Plan of the Ministry of SOEs. 

PKT has also conducted research with independent institutions for NPK fertilizers Special Formula for other commodities, such as coffee, rubber, corn, rice and palm oil. 

Meanwhile, Executive Director of CSP Wahyu Wibowo, said that PKT’s idea through NPK 14-12-16-4 has become an active step for the company in supporting the development of Indonesian cocoa commodities. This is in line with the 2020 CSP Road Map, with a target of 200 million cocoa plants using special fertilizers by 2030. 

He believes the special NPK is a new breakthrough in the Subsidized Fertilizer Program and is very much needed by cocoa farmers, because the results of testing for PKT products are known to prioritize nutritional contents in the right ratio. 

The inappropriate use of fertilizers is the main cause of the decline in soil pH and fertility, thus affecting the national cocoa production, which only reaches around 800 kilograms per hectare currently. Cocoa production commonly has the potential to reach 2 – 2.5 tons per hectare for one harvest period. 

PKT’s efforts are positively welcomed by the Coordinating Ministry for Economic Affairs, through the Deputy for Food and Agriculture Coordination Musdalifah Machmud. According to her, cocoa becomes a comparative excellence for Indonesia, which increases the bargaining power to deal with international pressure. It is believed that it will provide great benefits for farmers, considering the international community’s dependence on domestic agricultural commodities.

To support national cocoa self-sufficiency, the Ministry of Agriculture (Kementan) issued Ministerial Regulation No. 1 of 2020, concerning the Allocation and Highest Retail Price (HET) of Subsidized Fertilizers. Based on the regulation, the allocation of NPK Cocoa Special Formula for the Provinces of Central Sulawesi and South Sulawesi reaches 17,000 tons and farmers who have registered with e-RDKK are entitled to subsidized fertilizers worth Rp3,000/kg through official retailers at the sub-district or village level. 

According to Musdalifah, Indonesian cocoa production has an important contribution to national GDP growth as well as job creation in the agricultural sector and is included in priority commodities for the 2020-2024 RPJMN related to productivity increase and sustainability of precision agricultural resources. 

In view of the 2018 data, Indonesia became the world’s third largest producer and exporter of cocoa beans after Ghana and Ivory Coast. Indonesia’s cocoa export volume reached 380.8 thousand tons, with a total value of US$1,245.8 million, influenced by the high demand for chocolate consumption in Europe, America and Australia. 

Ecofert Biofertilizer

Ecofert is a type of biological fertilizer enriched with superior microorganisms that are beneficial for soil fertility. This fertilizer can be used for food crops, horticulture and plantations 

Ecofert has the shape of granules and gray color, with packaging variations of 1 kg, 5 kg, and 20 kg. The fertilizer contains active ingredients Aspergillus niger, Pseudomonas mendocina, Bacillus subtilis and Bacollus flexus. 

Among the benefits of using Ecofert in plants are to increase the availability of N and P nutrients, promote plant growth, increase soil nutrient absorption, and increase fertilization efficiency that could save NPK fertilizer of up to 25 percent from the standard dose with a dose of Ecofert usage of 20-40 kg/ha during the tillage. 

Biotara Biofertilizer

Biotara is a biological fertilizer that is adaptive to acid soils in swamps and could increase plant productivity. It contains active ingredients Trichoderma sp., Bacillus sp, and Azospirillum sp. 

This fertilizer has the shape of powder and blackish brown color, with packaging variations of 2.5 kg, 10 kg and 12.5 kg. 

The benefits of using Biotara in plants are to bind N and P nutrients in the soil, decompose the remains of organic matter, increase plant growth, increase fertilization efficiency, especially N and P of up to 30 percent and increase the rice yields up to 20 percent in swamp land. The dosage of Biotara is 25 kg/ha  during tillage. 

Biodex Biofertilizer

Biodex is a bioactivator to break down organic matters. It is made using superior microbial active ingredients which have high cellulolytic and lignolytic abilities such as Trichoderma polysporum, T. viride, and Fomitopsis meliae, so that the composting period is relatively shorter. 

The fertilizer has the shape of powder and blackish brown color, sold in a 2.5 kg package. 

Biodex is suitable for solid organic waste, does not require additional nutrients, does not need to be turned over during the composting process and is suitable for tropical areas, with a dosage of 2.5-5 kg/ton of organic matter. 

Superintendent of Product Communication at the PKT Service and Product Communication (Yankomduk) Department, Ludvi Widodo, said in terms of quality and quality assurance, all PKT products are confirmed to have been certified Indonesian National Standard (SNI) by the National Standardization Agency (BSN) as a guarantee to consumers. 

In fact, the company managed to become the first company in Indonesia to achieve the Grand Platinum title in the SNI Award event, after maintaining the Platinum title three times in a row in 2016, 2017 and 2018. 

Therefore, farmers and consumers in general do not need to hesitate to use PKT products, because the quality assurance has been proven to increase community agricultural yields for various commodities. 

“All PKT products have passed several tests, both for distribution and quality. With the SNI Grand Platinum award, it proves that Pupuk Kaltim products have been recognized nationally and are the best products among the best,” said Ludvi. 

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