Davao farmers to test plant growth promoter

Some 2,500 rice farmers in the Davao Region will test the newly-developed Carrageenan Plant Growth Promoter (PGP) set for distribution by the Department of Science and Technology-Region 11 (DOST-11).

DOST-11 Director Anthony Sales said the PGP was developed by Dr. Lucille V. Abad of Philippine Nuclear Research Institute (PNRI) in cooperation with National Crop Protection Center of the University of the Philippines-Los Baños (NCPC-UPLB), and the Philippine Rice Research Institute (PhilRice).

The Carrageenan PGP project is funded by the DA and the Philippine Council for Agriculture, Aquatic and Natural Resources Research and Development (PCAARD) of DOST as one of the programs under the Industry Strategic Science and Technology Plan (ISP) for rice.

Sales said a total of 22,500 PGP bottles will be distributed to identified sites in Davao Region and multi-location trials all over the country will be conducted until 2019.

He said the PGP can help strengthen rice plants against pests and diseases since it is formulated from radiation-processed carrageenan which is an extract from seaweed processed into powder.

“By 2020, the Carrageenan PGP Project aims to increase rice productivity by 34 percent from 4.02–5.40 tons/hectare,” he said.

Sales said the PGP was introduced in the region on September 5. It was attended by Provincial Agriculture Officers (PAOs) in the region and project representatives of the Department of Agriculture (DA), with the NCPC-UPLB to present that possible improvement in rice production.

He said it will also help grow healthier crops compared to crops applied with commercial fertilizers. (Armando Fenequito Jr/PNA)