The Provincial Agriculture Office here and the Department of Agriculture (DA) are finding ways to lessen the impact of the rising prices of inorganic fertilizers on rice farmers.
Farmers are feeling the surge in prices of commercial urea fertilizers that now cost PHP2,525 per bag, or a more than 100 percent increase from PHP1,200 during the planting season between June and October 2021.
Provincial agriculturist Johanna Dizon said lack of supply is the major cause of the surge.
“According to the Fertilizer and Pesticide Authority, walang dating na abono, nagkakaipitan daw sa pag-import sa China kaya tumaas ng ganyan ang presyo (there is no fertilizer. Importation from China is reportedly tight that is why the price spiked),” she said in an interview on Sunday.
To lessen the dependency on inorganic fertilizers, the provincial government has been producing and distributing trichoderma to speed the decomposition of rice straws left in the farms.
A genus of fungi, trichoderma suppress the growth of plant pathogenic microorganisms and regulate the rate of plant growth. It controls common plant disease such as root rot disease, damping off, wilt, and fruit rot, among others.
“Kapag nabulok ang dayami, madadagdagan ang sustansiya ng lupa at mababawasan ang pangangailangan ng inorganic fertilizers tulad ng urea at 14-14-14 (Once the rice straws decompose, the nutrients of soil will increase and the demand for inorganic fertilizers such as urea and 14-14-14 will decline),” Dizon said.
The 14-14-14 is the so-called complete fertilizer as it has equal percentages of nitrogen, phosphate, and potassium to help plants carry out their full life cycle.
The provincial government also has an ongoing procurement of soil ameliorants to lengthen the roots of rice plants and increase nutrient-absorption capacity.
“Pinaparami nito ang mga microorganism sa lupa na nakakatulong sa pagpapataba ng lupa. With this, mababawasan ang pangangailangan sa inorganic fertilizers (This will increase the microorganism of the soil that could help enrich it. With this, the need for inorganic fertilizers will lessen),” she said.
The DA has likewise been distributing free palay (unhusked rice) seeds and various farm machinery and implements like farm tractors, hand tractors, and engines for water pumps.
Source: Philippines News Agency