Gov't promotes use of organic fertilizers
Davao City (29 February) -- The government is encouraging the use of at least two affordable bio-fertilizer brands that increase crop yields by as much as 20%, as part of a long-term strategy to wean farmers away from the use of costly, imported chemical inputs.
The microbial-based fertilizers, with the trademark names: Bio-Con and Bio-N, were developed by experts at the University of the Philippines campus in Los Banos, Laguna (UPLB).
Bio-N is a microbial-based inoculant that is available from suppliers in 49 newly established mixing plants nationwide, while Bio-Con is a commercially produced variety that is now being tested in the corn clusters of Mindanao, the Ilocos Region, Cagayan Valley and Central Luzon and Palawan.
DA Secretary Arthur Yap said experts from the UPLB and the Philippine Rice Research Institute have recommended the use of Bio-N and Biocon as affordable growth-boosting and environment-friendly alternatives to imported chemical fertilizers after these were screened for their effectiveness on a variety of agricultural crops.
The use of organic fertilizers will not only increase yields per hectare but will, in the long haul, actually save us hundreds of millions of pesos because this will help reduce the use of expensive, imported chemical fertilizers in palay and corn farms, Secretary Yap said.
He noted that Bio-N, for instance, already supplies at least 50% of the nitrogen requirements for rice, corn and vegetables, with only five 200-gram packets needed for seeds that are enough to plant one hectare of rice or corn.
Bio-N promotes shoot growth and root development in crops, increase the yields per hectare, and develops the resistance of corn to wind and certain especially in loose soils.
Biocon, on the other hand, also promotes growth, reduces the use of chemical fertilizers by 30%-50%, with increases in yield ranging from 10% to 20%.
Secretary Yap noted that when Biocon was tested in rainfed rice farms in Koronadal, South Cotabato, the highest yield recorded with the use of this biofertilizer reached 6,583 kilograms compared with only 4,524 kilos without Biocon.
In Dalaguete, Cebu, tomato growers using Biocon earned additional incomes of up to P29,000 due to increased yields and a drop in the use of costly chemical inputs. For each hectare planted and fertilized with Biocon, yields increased to 44.9 tons as compared with lands that did not use Biocon, which averaged only 32.8 tons per hectare.
Biocon, Secretary Yap said, is currently being used in selected areas of the Ginintuang Masaganang Ani Corn Program in Mindanao, Central Luzon, the Ilocos region and Cagayan valley and approved for testing by Mayor Edward Hagedorn in Palawan. (PIA) [top]