After the promising result of multi-location field trials of acarrageenan fertilizer additive, the Department of Science and Technology (DOST) will be partnering with the Department of Agriculture (DA) to further expand its use according to DOST Secretary Mario G. Montejo in a recent press conference.

The said field trials showed that carrageenan, when added to fertilizer, can help make rice crops stronger, give more yield, and more resistant to diseases, among others. Carrageenan is a substance extracted from edible seaweed.

This research on using carrageenan as fertilizer additive was based on an earlier study conducted by the DOST’s Philippine Nuclear Research Institute (PNRI) which organized the said press conference.

In the said research, carrageenan was subjected to irradiation to degrade the substance into minute particles so that it can be absorbed by the plants optimally.

The DOST and DA target to further test the technology inaround 4,000 has. of farms for the next cropping season.

Montejo also revealed that PNRI is developing precision farming methods using nuclear techniquesto determine the right amount and timing of fertilizer application at different growth stages of crops, as well as optimizing irrigation scheduling to help lessen cost of inputs for the farmers.

PNRI’s studies have shown that timely and proper fertilizer application can increase fertilizer efficiency by up to 70 percent. In addition, appropriate irrigation scheduling can minimize losses by around 25 percent.

“These are just two samples of how atoms or nuclear technology can be harnessed for peace and development,” said Montejo.

The Science Secretary also announced the holding of the third Philippine Nuclear Congress from December 7-9 at the Diamond Hotel Manila.

With the theme “Meeting Challenges through Nuclear Science and Technology for Sustainable Growth,” the said congress will feature local and international experts who will discuss the current status of the peaceful use of nuclear science in the field of agriculture, health and medicine, industry, environment, as well as nuclear safety, security and safeguards.

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