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DA urges farmers, investors to produce organic fertilizers

By Sally A. Altea

With the soaring prices of commercial fertilizers due to global demand and pandemic restrictions, the Department of Agriculture (DA) has reiterated its call on farmers and potential investors to venture into the production of organic fertilizers.

“From our monitoring, the increase in prices of fertilizer started in March last year. The urea grade increased by 125 percent, with price ranging from P2,500 to P2,900,” DA - Fertilizer and Pesticide Authority Regional Officer Gabriel Atole said at the Talakayan sa PIA Albay program.

Atole also cited the increasing prices of natural gas and other raw materials, Covid-19 restrictions, and advanced massive reservations of several countries to support their domestic food production as factors contributing to the spike of fertilizer prices.

“Supply is a problem as 90 percent of our country’s inorganic fertilizer is imported, 10 percent is from local manufacturers but still, the raw materials used are imported,” he added.

“As such, we are calling our farmers and various organizations to produce more organic fertilizers. We have local producers but they only supply 10 percent of the demand,” he said.

Fast and easy organic fertilizer

Atole said production of organic fertilizer for home use is easy since the raw materials are readily available.

For farms, the chicken dungs and rice hulls or rice straws can be mixed with soil for composting. Trichoderma, a laboratory produced microorganism, can be requested from the DA for faster decomposition, which usually takes a maximum of one month.

For household use, waste from fruits, vegetables and other organic waste can be chopped into small pieces and be mixed with sugar for fermentation. This can be placed in a covered bucket or any container and could be used after two weeks to one month.

Vermicomposting or the use of worm casting or manure can also be done by feeding certain worms like earthworms with shredded fruits, vegetables or other organic waste to have their nutrient-rich manure as fertilizer.

Atole also calls on farmers to adopt balanced fertilization strategy or proper combination of organic and organic fertilizers and inputs to revive the health of the soil and attain maximum potential of farmlands.

“Excessive use of inorganic fertilizer can dry the soil but change is not abrupt. Shift to organic fertilizer must be gradual,” he said.

Farmers and groups interested in production of organic fertilizer can avail the trainings conducted by DA. Learning sites are also open for visiting and learning. (PIA5/Albay - with report from Andrea Antonio,BU intern)


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