Evaluating long term soil organic matter dynamics on cocoa farms in Indonesia PhD

Application start and end date: 
23rd February 2018 to 30th April 2018
Full time
This studentship will provide a bursary of up to £18,000 (tax free) plus fees* for 3 years.
United Kingdom
Contract type: 
3 years

Indonesia is the third largest producer of cocoa in the world. However its yield potential are not optimum due to challenges such as soil organic matter levels, pest, drought, fertiliser and climate change. This PhD project offers an exciting opportunity for a suitable candidate to investigate the underpinning science on maintaining soil fertility through monitoring healthy organic matter levels in cocoa farms.

Soil degradation is one of the key challenges affecting farming systems today. The cocoa sector is vulnerable to this challenge as it can affect yield and potentially livelihood of many small holder farmers and as well as larger organisations that manufacture and produce chocolate based products. Cocoa is mainly grown in the equatorial zone of the world which is one of the worst affected areas in terms of land degradation.

This project is timely as it will tackle underlying soil fertility challenges in cocoa farms but with a particular focus in Indonesia due to its potential not being fully tapped yet.
This project aims to evaluate effects of adding repeated applications of locally available organic amendments on soil organic matter levels in cocoa farms in Indonesia.

This project entails collaboration between Cranfield University, Cocoa research UK (CRUK), and the Indonesian Coffee and Cocoa Research Institute (ICCRI).

This project will provide under pinning scientific evidence on managing soil fertility in cocoa farms in a sustainable manner to ensure yield fluctuations are minimised.

This project will entail field visits to several locations in Indonesia to collect soil samples and interact with local researchers. Results obtained from this work will be presented at key conferences such as the International Symposium on Cocoa Research and also in peer reviewed journals. 

Student will be trained on field sampling, specialist laboratory analysis, data analysis, report writing and presentation skills. 

For further information please contact:  Dr Ruben Sakrabani Email: r.sakrabani@cranfield.ac.uk  T: (0) 1234 750111 Ext: 2710