By Atty. Gilberto Lauengco, J.D.

Biotech solutions for agriculture

September 28, 2022, 1:26 pm

Abandon normal instruments… There are times when one must try new methods to produce different and faster results…

This week, the Philippines was hit by another typhoon. According to the Department of Agriculture, Typhoon Karding destroyed an estimated PHP1.29 billion worth of crops and other agricultural products in agricultural areas of all five regions of Luzon. Among the agricultural subsectors, the rice sector was the worst hit incurring damage reportedly amounting to PHP959.8 million. Assistance to farmers and rehabilitation of farm lands will now be the focus of both the national and local governments. With typhoons hitting us regularly a reexamination of post typhoon rehabilitation must be done.

In terms of rehabilitation, there is a need to repair top soil and prepare for replanting. Normally, government and the industry use urea. Urea or carbamide is a chemical compound used in this country as a default fertilizer. Unfortunately, urea is now in short supply all over the world. With Russia as a No. 2 source for urea, the problems in that area has exacerbated the supply situation and made urea very expensive. Also, some agriculturists have warned of some disadvantages of urea such as possible adverse effects on seed germination, seedling growth, and early plant growth in soil. Therein now lies the problem of rehabilitation. As the great philosopher, Winnie the Pooh once said, “what to do, what to do?”

It is respectfully submitted to our agricultural officials and local government executives that maybe it is time to replace or at the very least, supplement existing methods with new, less expensive and more efficient ones.

Today, local producers and inventors have produced highly efficient and farm friendly organic fertilizers which are cheaper. And since it is produced locally, it will certainly help the local industry. An example of such product is Omnika. Omnika is a microbial based soil inoculant that uses all natural beneficial endophytes or microbes to promotes soil and plant health. Omnika has been tested in some provinces and have proven that it can result in higher yield, higher return on investments and produce non-chemical based products. Omnika also uses chicken manure which can provide additional income for chicken growers and add impetus to another local industry.

Organic fertilizers combined with the new tech of agricultural enzymes, which are bioactive proteins and again organic, can change the face of not only rehabilitation but food production in general. With more savings, the national government can then allocate resources for other aspects of agriculture. Also, local governments with the advent of the Mandanas Garcia implementation can use its additional resources to promote food production projects in a cheaper and environment friendly manner. Our indigenous communities who are well versed in organic farming can also use these new products to supplement their farming inputs in producing their unique crops to add volume.

The recent problems in Ukraine and worldwide financial hiccups have shown everyone our vulnerabilities in relying too much on imports for essential industries. As such, perhaps it is time to reexamine existing paradigms and change. As stated, perhaps it is time to abandon present instruments.

This is just my oblique observation.

In today’s everchanging world, things have become more complex. In trying to understand the problems and issues of today, it may help to view the scattered but interconnected pieces of the puzzle and observe with an oblique point of view.

Editor’s note: The opinions expressed in the foregoing article are solely the author’s and do not reflect the opinions and beliefs of the Philippine News Agency (PNA) or any other office under the Office of the Press Secretary.


About the Columnist

Image of Atty. Gilberto Lauengco, J.D.

ATTY. GILBERTO LAUENGCO, J.D. is a lawyer, educator, political strategist, government consultant, Lego enthusiast, and the director of CAER Think Tank. He is a Former Vice Chairman of MECO, Special Assistant of NFA and City Administrator among others. His broad experience has molded his unique approach to issues analysis which he calls the oblique observation.