Thursday, May 12, 2016

Boost in Rice Yields Through Use of Seaweed Extracts

Bulacan rice farmers have showed their intention of using carrageenan growth promoter (PGP) in boosting their rice yields. Scientists of the Department of Science and Technology (DOST) have developed PGP and conducted trials in Bulacan, Nueva Ecija, Laguna and Iloilo and these resulted in an increase of 15 – 40% in their rice yields.

 Leonardo Ignacio, a 65-year-old farmer from Bulacan, said that technologies like carrageenan PGP could be very helpful to Filipino farmers like him. “I am interested in carrageenan fertilizer since it is a safer alternative, more usable in small-scale farms, and more affordable,” Ignacio said in Filipino.

Another Bulacan farmer has expressed interest in PGP since his farmlands were affected by Typhoon Nona. He intends to boost his crop yield from his two hectare rice farm that currently has a yield of 56 cavans per harvest season. According to experiments by DOST-Philippine Nuclear Research Institute (PNRI) and Philrice, PGP makes rice plants resistant to natural disasters, increases the size of panicles and promotes hgealthier rice plants as compared to those using commercial fertilizers only.

Currently, the developers of carrageenan PGP are open to expanding its use to other crops like corn, tomato, and other vegetables to the advantage of farmers like Ignacio and Valero, who also plant sitaw, string beans, tomatoes, and okra.

The field testing in Bulacan showed that the application of 9 li/ha of carrageenan PGP in addition to 3 and 6 bags of chemical fertilizer per hectare led to a 65.4% increase in grain weight, and increase in panicle length from 3.5% to 12.5%.

The development of carrageenan PGP is funded by the Philippine Council for Agriculture, Aquatic and Natural Resources Research and Development of the DOST. PGPs were distributed to 650 farmers for testing in Pulilan, Bulacan, and will be field tested in 2,000 hectares of rice in the province. In 2015, Department of Agriculture (DA) Secretary Proceso J. Alcala and DOST Secretary Mario Montejo signed a memorandum of agreement to upscale verification testing in Regions 1, 2, 3, 4A, 6, 9, and 11.

Source: Readings from

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