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“Saan kami pwedeng makabili at kailan magiging available ang Carageenan PGP sa merkado.”

Farmer attendees of the field day on Field Verification Testing of Carageenan Plant Growth Promoter (PGP) for Enhanced Growth and Induced Pests and Diseases Resistance in Rice clamored this to the Carageenan Techno Demo Team after hearing the testimonies of the farmer-cooperators who have tried and tested the Carageenan PGP in their own field during the field day program conducted at the DA-Ilocos Norte Research and Experiment Center in Dingras, Ilocos Norte held on March 14, 2019.

The Carageenan PGP is a plant food supplement extracted from red edible seaweed that can be treated to break its particles down into very small pieces which are readily absorbed by plants. Discovered by the Department of Science and Technology - Philippine Nuclear Research Institute (PNRI) and funded by the Philippine Council for Agriculture and Aquatic Natural Resources Research & Development (PCARRD), the product with a brand name Carageenan PGP foliar fertilizer is used for rice production.

The Carageenan Techno Demo Team composed of the National Crop Protection Center (NCPC) – University of the Philippines in Los Baños, the DOST-PNRI and DOST-PCARRD gladly answered that the product will be made available soon in the market after ending the field verification in all the regions with the help of a private company which will mass produce and commercialize the product.

“This is the last field verification that the team is conducting from the nine selected regions in the country and hopefully it will be made available next year for commercialization,” Mr. Angelito Carpio, Supervising Research Specialists of PCARRD has confirmed.

Dir. Gil Magsino, the project leader and Director of the NCPC in UPLB in his message during the program underscored the essential function of the carageenan PGP in enhancing the growth and development of rice plant as it supplies the needed nutrient requirements of the plants in absorbing all other essential elements.

“The plant could absorb 95-98% of the essential nutrients it requires when the carageenan is applied to the rice plant,” Dir. Magsino said.

Serving as vitamins of the plant, Mr. Magsino said that the carageenan consistently provides 15% increase in yield in all the field testing trials conducted by the Carageenan Team.

Aside from this benefit, Dir. Magsano also emphasized that a farmer could save 18% on its cost of production with the reduction on the use of pesticides as the product could attract natural enemies.

“Right now, we are also on process of conducting trials on corn production in Isabela and eventually in all other crops like banana, sugarcane and vegetables to improve the production of these crops,” Dir. Magsano added.

Based on the result of the field trials conducted in Ilocos Region which were established in Laoag City, Dingras, Bacarra, Solsona, Marcos and Vintar in Ilocos Norte in both wet and dry cropping seasons, the use of carageenan PGP have consistently enhanced the yield of inbred seeds because of the plants’ resistance to leaf blight, thickening and increasing of rice straw and panicle and shows more vigorous plants.

The on-station trials as managed by the researchers of INREC in Dingras gained an increase of 14% in yield with the combination of full recommendation of inorganic and 9 liters/ha. of carageenan during wet season while 15% increase in yield using the same fertilizer combination in the on station-trials conducted at Pangasinan Research and Experiment Center in Sta. Barbara, Pangasinan.

In terms of the agronomic characteristics of the inbred rice planted in both stations, a significant performance of the rice plant was observed in terms of the plant height, no. of tillers, panicle length, and the weight of 1,000 grms of seeds as compared to the non-usage of carageenan PDP.

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