Improper synthetic fertilizer use a bane, says BoS

The Department of Agriculture’s Bureau of Soil and Water Management on Monday is pushing farmer to use a combination of organic fertilizers and biofertilizers through a balanced fertilization strategy and crop diversification.

This, as Bureau of Soil chief agriculturist Karen Bautista disclosed that improper use of imported synthetic fertilizers has contributed to soil acidity and low fertility.

“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, adding that due to the imported 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 degradation over the years due to some unsustainable agriculture practices,” said Bautista.

She added that the country’s farmland soil lacks major nutrients such as nitrogen, phosphorus and potassium.

Balanced fertilization, using biofertilizers, according to her, nutrients are absorbed by the soil, thereby bearing good harvest.

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

“We want to expand the use of biofertilizer 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 “Laging Handa” public briefing in Malacañang.

Sebastian added that 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 biofertlilizer,” the DA executive said.

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