10 0 0 4 weeks ago 5 min to read

A DA document on the use of biofertilizers to stop new fertilizer scam

Leocadio Sebastian, an undersecretary in the Department of Agriculture (DA), assured on Friday that the recent directive on biofertilizers was sent to avoid a recurrence of the 2004 fertilizer fund scam.

Sebastian stated during a press conference in Malacaang that Memorandum Order No. 32 provides DA-Regional Field Offices (RFOs) with clear instructions on how to choose and apply these biofertilizers to boost output and encourage growth in the production of rice.

“We don’t want the fertilizer fraud to happen again. Therefore, we devised this guideline to ensure its fair, transparent, and reliable implementation… To achieve the anticipated positive results from employing biofertilizers, Sebastian remarked, “We must first achieve the desired results,”

Sebastian referred to the 2004 election-related incident involving the alleged misappropriation of PHP728 million in DA fertilizer funding.

The memorandum, according to Sebastian, has established criteria to instruct the department’s regional field officers (RFOs) on how to choose the appropriate and applicable biofertilizers in their regions, taking into account the biofertilizer’s efficacy or effectiveness, cost-effectiveness, local source, and availability of technical assistance from the suppliers.

The regional field offices of our biofertilizer program will follow a good guide, he stated, despite the abundance of options on the market.

He emphasized the nation’s rice industry’s difficulties, including the high cost of fertilizer and the rapidly deteriorating oil.

“And it is not viable for us to continue using inorganic fertilizer. Our production is plateauing, and our soil is becoming more acidic as a result, he claimed.

According to him, one of the possibilities to lower costs and restore the deteriorated soil is the large-scale deployment of a balanced fertilization plan that combines the application of organic, inorganic, and biofertilizer.

When applied to soil or plants, biofertilizers, which include living microorganisms, encourage development by increasing the plant’s supply of nutrients.

“In the long run, if we use biofertilizer, we can make our rice production more sustainable, and at the same time, we are going toward an environmental-friendly solution,” he said.

Senator Risa Hontiveros submitted a motion on Thursday asking for an investigation into the DA memorandum on the use of biofertilizers.

Hontiveros claimed that farmer organizations are concerned about the idea of purchasing biofertilizers because it can turn out to be yet another fertilizer fund scam.

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