DA Encourages Use of Organic Fertilizers as Input Costs Continue to Rise

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The Department of Agriculture (DA) on Wednesday approved the use of an organic fertilizer that uses nanotechnology to reduce production costs for farmers amid soaring prices for synthetic fertilizers and other planting inputs.

The DA said it facilitated the development of BioPrime 555, an organic fertilizer from BioPrime Agri Industries Inc. The product underwent various independent trials by the Philippine Rice Research Institute for more than two years and showed “promising results,” according to the AD. .

The agency said organic fertilizer can reduce the use of synthetic fertilizers by up to 50% while maintaining optimal crop yield. He added that BioPrime 555 has shown a 7-15% increase in yield and reduced farmers’ production costs by up to 50%.

“We need more production of scientifically tested biofertilizers because we fear the war between Ukraine and Russia will prevent us from getting the urea our farmers are asking for,” said Agriculture Secretary William D. Dar, in a statement.

The DA stated that BioPrime 555, based on product testing trials, may also reduce farmers’ use of pesticides and insecticides due to “reduction of predatory pests” and “more strong” disease resistance in crops.

“Similarly, a reduction in water/irrigation costs of up to 20% resulted from improved soil and root water retention,” he added.

Dar said organic fertilizers like Bioprime and Bio-N are indispensable in the government’s efforts to reduce farmers’ production costs in the face of soaring prices for inorganic and synthetic fertilizers in the global market.

“The technologies we need in our campaign for balanced fertilization, the main objective of which is to improve soil-based productivity, provide soil nutrient-enhancing qualities for soil sustainability,” a- he declared.

“If we want to increase the level of productivity and income of farmers, we must promote balanced fertilization. To achieve food security, we must adopt a balanced fertilization strategy.

The DA said BioPrime 555 has also shown “promising results” in other crops such as sugar cane, coffee and corn.

“In sugarcane, it recorded a 14.5% yield increase and a 40% reduction in the use of synthetic fertilizers; coffee showed a 100 percent yield increase and showed healing and rust prevention; and maize resulted in an 11-20% yield increase and a 30% reduction in the use of chemical fertilizers,” he added.

The DA has promoted biofertilizers as substitutes for synthetic and inorganic fertilizers to help farmers cope with rising prices of planting inputs which have reached almost P3,000 per 50 kilogram bag.

Soaring fertilizer prices, fueled by the war in Ukraine, have been cited as one of the main factors behind the contraction in the country’s agricultural output in the first quarter.

The country’s agricultural output value in the first quarter fell 0.3 percent after output contracted in the crop, fishery and livestock sectors.

The value of agricultural production from January to March (at 2018 constant prices) decreased by 75.246 billion pesos to 419.922 billion pesos, compared to 495.168 billion pesos recorded last year, according to data from the Philippine Statistics Authority. (Related story: https://businessmirror.com.ph/2022/05/11/farm-output-dips-slightly-in-q1-fertilizer-price-spikes-blamed/). Jasper Emmanuel Y. Arcalas

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