‘Most cost-effective, nature-friendly’: What you need to know about root trainer technology

The root trainer (RT) technology which intends to expedite the propagation of quality rubber planting materials has been verified for its adoption as the "most cost-effective and environmentally-friendly" rubber seedling production system, the Department of Science and Technology (DOST) has disclosed.

Rubber seedlings raised in root trainer containers (Photo from DOST)

DOST Secretary Fortunato “Boy” T. de la Peña said the RT technology was verified at the University of Southern Mindanao (USM) "for its adoption and effectiveness in reducing the production period of raising planting materials of rubber, improving rooting system, and increasing plant survival in the field.”

He described root trainer as a container with ridges inside the wall of a conical cup tapering downward with a drainage hole at the bottom.

"Unlike the conventional polybags, the RT system uses coco coir pith as medium mixed with animal manure,” he said during his weekly report on Friday, May 28.

The study on the effectiveness of the RT technology is supported by DOST’s Philippine Council for Agriculture, Aquatic and Natural Resources Research and Development (PCAARRD).

De la Peña cited that the methods followed in the DOST-PCAARRD-funded study were based on the established protocol of the Rubber Research Institute of India (RRII).

"Results showed that RT system is a potential technology to reduce half the time needed to produce one mature whorl ready for transplanting, attaining 98 percent survival in the field,” he said.

"RT system was observed to be the most cost-effective and environmentally-friendly rubber seedling production system.”

The DOST chief noted that in the case of new propagation technique, mini-seedling budding is a promising technology.

"A technology fusion using mini-seedling raised in RT system is a potential provided further verification be made on the different aspects of nursery management.”