Locally-developed organic fertilizer boosts rice yield
BUTUAN CITY—The use of an organic fertilizer developed by Filipino researchers in Laguna has been credited for the high rice production in Northern Mindanao and Caraga Region.
Luis Guillen, president of the Summa Biotechnologies Corp. based here, said there was a 20 percent surge in rice output in Northern Mindanao due to farmers’ use of a locally-produced organic and environment-friendly fertilizer.
“The use of bio-organic inoculant fertilizer has increased palay yield by 20 percent,” Guillen said in a statement.
The fertilizer, known as Nitro-Fix, is made of nitrogen-fixing bacteria developed by researchers at the University of the Philippines in Los Baños.
Rice studies showed that once these bacteria from organic matters capture the nitrogen gas in the atmosphere, it would convert the nitrogen into a usable form needed to sustain the nitrogen requirements of rice, corn, vegetables, and other crops.
Guillen said the palay plants are healthier, and produce impressive results such as broader and greener leaves, extensive root system and sturdier stalks.
Also, the plants are more resistant to pests and diseases than those applied with chemical-based nitrogen fertilizers, which he claimed have proven to be detrimental to soil fertility and contributes greatly to declining farm productivity.
According to Guillen, the successful use of bio-organic fertilizers could serve as a solution to the country’s chronic rice shortage, if replicated in all the other regions in Mindanao, with its ideal rice-growing conditions and functional irrigation systems.
With the long dry spell in Luzon, followed by the recent massive flooding, Mindanao could yet prove to be the country’s solution to a looming grains shortage, he said.
The cost-cutting and yield-increasing benefits of bio-organic fertilizer inputs prompted Agriculture Secretary Arthur Yap to subsidize Nitro-fix.
Recently, Yap ordered the Department of Agriculture in the Caraga Region, headed by acting director Ricardo Regis, to implement a distribution program of the organic fertilizer to farmer-beneficiaries.
For the current cropping period, the DA in Northern Mindanao and the Caraga Region, under the Hunger Mitigation Project, have distributed Nitro-Fix to farmers in the provinces of Agusan del Norte, Agusan del Sur, Surigao del Norte, Surigao del Sur, Misamis Oriental, Misamis Occidental, Lanao del Norte and Bukidnon covering some 20,900 hectares of irrigated rice lands.
Taking a cue from Yap, Butuan Mayor Democrito Plaza also implemented the Nitro-Fix distribution program for farmers working on a total 4,000 hectares of rice lands in the city.