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In place of inorganic fertilizers, DA promotes Trichoderma.

The Provincial Agriculture Office and the Department of Agriculture (DA) are working together to develop strategies to mitigate the impact of rising fertilizer prices on rice growers.

Farmers are facing the effects of a price hike in commercial urea fertilizers, which now cost PHP2,525 per bag, up from PHP1,200 during the planting season of June to October 2021.

The main cause of the spike, according to provincial agriculturist Johanna Dizon, is a lack of supply.

“Walang dating na abono, nagkakaipitan daw sa pag-import sa China, kaya tumaas ng ganyan ang presyo,” according to the Fertilizer and Pesticide Authority. Importation from China is thought to be constrained, which is why prices have risen),” she said in an interview on Sunday.

The provincial government has been making and distributing Trichoderma to expedite the decomposition of rice straws left on farms to reduce reliance on inorganic fertilizers.

Trichoderma is a fungus genus that suppresses the growth of plant pathogenic bacteria while also controlling the rate of plant growth. It protects plants from diseases like root rot, damping-off, wilt, and fruit rot, among others.

“Kapag nabulok ang dayami, madadagdagan ang sustansiya ng lupa at mababawasan ang pangangailangan ng inorganic fertilizers tulad ng urea at 14-14-14,” Dizon said.

The 14-14-14 fertilizer is referred to as a complete fertilizer since it contains equal amounts of nitrogen, phosphate, and potassium to help plants complete their life cycle.

The province government is also in the process of procuring soil ameliorants to help rice plants grow longer roots and absorb more nutrients.

“Ang mga microorganism sa lupa na nakakatulong sa pagpapataba ng lupa pinaparami nito.” Mababawasan ang pangangailangan sa inorganic fertilizers (This may enhance the soil’s microorganism, which may assist enrich it.) The requirement for inorganic fertilizers will be reduced as a result),” she explained.

In addition, the DA has been giving free palay (unhusked rice) seeds as well as farm machinery and implements such as farm tractors, hand tractors, and water pump engines.

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