(File photo from Department of Agriculture)

LEGAZPI CITY – At least eight rice farmers belonging to Rangas Agricultural Cooperative will be the initial recipients of certified rice seeds, 10 bags of organic fertilizer per hectare, two bags of urea per hectare, and other farm inputs as part of the Department of Agriculture-Bicol's (DA-5) "Abonong Swak" program.

In an interview on Thursday, Emily Bordado, DA-5 spokesperson, said the beneficiaries will be part of the techno demo aimed at promoting balanced fertilization which combines organic and inorganic fertilizers.

"Through the establishment of a 10-hectare rice techno demo in San Jose town, Abonong Swak urges farmers not to rely so much on inorganic fertilizers which are imported, thus very expensive and scarce nowadays. By following the Abonong Swak combos, farmers can save PHP2,000 – PHP4,000 per hectare," Bordado said.

She said the program was developed by the PhilRice and the DA and advocates three principles -- preservation of soil nutrients through the use of combined organic and inorganic fertilizer, saving on farm inputs and attaining high yield.

Three options based on yield target were presented under Abonong Swak – Combo 1 which can give the farmers 3,000-4,000 kg. per hectare target rice harvest; Combo 2 which offers 5,000 – 6,000 kg. harvest per hectare; and Combo 3, which can give farmers 7,000 – 8,000 kg. per hectare target yield.

All combos require scattering at least 3,000 up to 8,000 kg. rice straws on the field to decompose within 30 days, with the application of 10 bags of chicken manure, organic fertilizer, or vermicompost 14 days before transplanting.

Meanwhile, Christopher Nuñez, Camarines Sur provincial officer of the Fertilizer and Pesticide Authority, in a statement, urged the farmers to use Fertilizer and Pesticide Authority (FPA)-registered fertilizer.

He said there are many kinds of soil fertility enhancers available in the market and even in the environment such as bio-stimulants, controlled-release fertilizer, soil inoculants, and soil conditioners.

"Other sources of fertilizers can also be green manuring, compost, and natural farm inputs," Nuñez said. (PNA)