DA: Improper use of synthetic fertilizer affects soil fertility

Photo by Bob Dungo Jr.

Department of Agriculture Bureau of Soil and Water Management chief agriculturist Karen Bautista on Monday said improper use of imported synthetic fertilizers has contributed to soil acidity and low fertility.

For this reason, the agency is encouraging farmers to use a combination of organic fertilizers and biofertilizers through a balanced fertilization strategy and crop diversification.

‘Imported synthetic fertilizers contribute to the acidity of soil of our farmlands if used improperly — not in the right time, right amount nor right rate,” Bautista said.

She added that due to the use of these synthetic fertilizers, majority of farmlands in the country have low soil fertility, or the ability to sustain plant growth.

Bautista said 82 percent of farmlands in the country “have moderate to low levels of soil fertility” based on the agency’s National Soil Fertility Mapping Project.

“Ten years ago, the soil fertility of our lands was at moderate level. So, it continues to degrade. There is a degradation over the years due to some unsustainable agriculture practices,” she pointed out, adding that the country’s farmland soil lacks major nutrients such as nitrogen, phosphorus and potassium.

Earlier, DA Undersecretary Leocadio Sebastian expressed his support for the use of biofertilizers, saying the department will push for more of its usage, a program that includes extending support to farmers through vouchers.

“We want to expand the use of biofertilizers because we see it as something that will help our farmers lessen their expenses, especially when we saw an increase in the price of synthetic fertilizer—the inorganic fertilizer—in recent months, starting last year,” Sebastian said during a briefing in Malacañang.

Sebastian said farmers will be given vouchers that they can use in purchasing their preferred brand of biofertilizers next year.

“That’s our plan. This year, it’s like promotion and procurement first, but next year they will receive a voucher that they can use in choosing their preferred biofertilizer,” said the DA official.

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