[Philippines] A seaweed extract may help farmers boost rice yields by more than 65 percent, according to the Department of Science and Technology (DOST).
In a field trial in Bulacan, the additive, mainly carrageenan, which is extracted from edible seaweeds, was incorporated into the application of a conventional fertilizer regime. Aside from increasing yield, the carrageenan was also observed to improve the resistance of the crop to virus and bacteria and enhance absorption of plant nutrients.
“The trials are part of DOST’s research and development in agriculture, aimed at helping to ensure the country’s food security,” DOST Secretary Mario Montejo said in a statement.
The project was funded by the Philippine Council for Agriculture Aquatic and Natural Resources Research and Development (PCAARRD) of the DOST.
“This innovation of applying seaweed as a fertilizer empowers our farmers to have access to cheaper but highly effective plant growth enhancer that boils down to improved harvest and increased income,” Montejo said.
Farmers have long known about the beneficial results of applying dried sea grasses as mulch and nutrient additive to enrich the topsoil.
Seaweed, on the other hand, has been traditionally used as a thickener or stabilizer by the food industry and as a binding agent for domestic products such as toothpaste and shampoo.
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