Ilocos Norte allots P6-M to improve soil health

The province of Ilocos Norte has earmarked PHP6 million for the purchase of organic fertilizers and soil conditioners to help farmers restore soil health conditions and ensure a good quality harvest.

Ma. Theresa Bacnat, officer-in-charge of the Provincial Agriculture Office in Ilocos Norte, said improving soil fertility is among the achievements of the agriculture sector under the administration of Governor Matthew Joseph Manotoc who is set to deliver his first face-to-face State of the Province Address Monday at 4 p.m.

While the province remains one of the top producers of palay and garlic, among others, Manotoc said farmers can have a better chance to earn more if they have a healthy and productive farm lot while minimizing the use of inorganic fertilizers and pesticides in the long run.

However, while the province is the country’s number one producer of garlic with average production of 4,161 metric tons (MT) annually, its output is still considered low compared with other countries.

“We are not producing enough relative to the land (size),” he said, underscoring the need to assist more farmers to acquire farm machinery, improve soil fertility, and undertake clustering for the mass production of other high-value crops.

Under the Ilocos Norte government’s soil restoration program, the agriculture office continues to advocate good agricultural practices and make use of a color-coded map developed to guide farmers on the appropriate mix of fertilizer application for every crop.

Instead of burning farm wastes, farmers are encouraged to collect these and let them decay for humus.

Humus is known to improve soil structure and drainage as it holds moisture and provides nutrients to the soil.

Agriculture experts advised farmers to diversify their crops as a variety of plants could provide a wide range of benefits for the soil.

Source: Philippines News Agency

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