DA asked to conduct soil analysis in Benguet farms
by SC Aro
LA TRINIDAD, Benguet (29 October) -- The soil condition of the vegetable farms in the province is highly acidic adversely affecting the vegetable industry.
Governor Nestor Fongwan said they have contacted the Bureau of Soils of the Department of Agriculture (DA) Central Office to do analysis on the soil in vegetable farms which was reportedly acidic causing club root disease in crucifers.
Provincial Agriculturist Lolita Bentres said that not only is the province having problem in the production aspect but the improvement of soil. The acidic property of the soil reduces productivity and affects quality of produce.
Contributory to the acidity of the soil is the excessive use of commercially prepared fertilizers according to Bentres. It was also found out that chicken dung is not purely organic as it contains chemicals found in feeds coupled with the antibiotics given to chickens to prevent them from acquiring infections.
Encouraging the shifting of organic farming, Bentres said there were four organic farming advocates sent to Camarines Norte to undergo training and are expected to reecho their learnings to other farmers.
With less than 4.5 ph value, Bentres said a measure to address the problem is the application of agricultural lime to serve as soil conditioner, application of organic fertilizers, and planting of leguminous crops such as garden pea or potato as an alternative.
Leaving the area without production for three years will also neutralize soil acidity but Fongwan said that this is not possible considering the small farmlot a farmer depends on for subsistence.
Fongwan instead urged farmers to adopt good agricultural practices and shift from the traditional way of managing vegetable farms. He likewise stressed the need to add value to crops adopting post harvest technology for high end users through the utilization of the cold chain system. (PIA-Benguet) [top]