The Department of Science and Technology (DOST) has provided ready-to-apply Carrageenan Plant Growth Promoter (PGP) products worth more than P200,000 to farmers in Ilocos Norte to help them increase their harvests.
DOST Secretary Fortunato “Boy” T. de la Peña said DOST-I has assisted Laoag City-based Balacad and Calayab Farmers Association in adopting the DOST-Philippine Nuclear Research Institute’s PGP technology.
DOST Provincial Science and Technology Center (PSTC)-Ilocos Norte provided ready-to-apply Carrageenan Plant Growth Promoter (PGP) product to the Balacad and Calayab Farmers Association of Laoag City valued at Php 214,200,” he said in a report.
The PNRI team of scientists and researchers developed PGP from carrageenan, a natural polymer extracted from red seaweed.
Using the fabricated liquid handling system at PNRI’s Electron Beam Irradiation Facility, the carrageenan solution was processed using electron beam into a foliar fertilizer sprayed at certain stages in the plant’s life, the DOST-PNRI said.
“Carrageenan PGP is a DOST-PNRI technology that has been shown to boost rice yield potential, stimulate increase in crop production, and give resistance to the tungro virus and bacterial leaf blight,” de la Peña noted.
He said the PGP products will be distributed to the members of the association.
The DOST-PNRI said the PGP has been proven to increase rice yields by an average of 20 percent versus the yield from average farmer practices, while also making the crops more resistant to blight and infestation caused by tungro virus.
“The PGP also strengthened the crops’ extensive root systems to better withstand the effects of lodging during typhoons. The PGP does not only increase the number of cavans, but it also makes each cavan heavier and fully-laden with rice. With the PGP, farmers could earn up to an additional P 16,000, or more than $300–an increase in income by over 19 percent,” it said.
“The PGP also helps to drive away harmful pests without harming insects and arthropods that are naturally beneficial to crops,” it added.
The DOST-Philippine Council for Agriculture, Aquatic and Natural Resources Research and Development (DOST-PCAARRD) funded the development of the PGP. The DOST-PNRI technology was tested in cooperation with the University of the Philippines-Los Baños National Crop Protection Center (UPLB-NCPC), with funding from the Department of Agriculture (DA) for multilocation trials.