Lawmaker pushes for better soil test-based fertilizer program

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, September 29) — A lawmaker called for more accurate soil tests that he said could help the government provide farmers with specific fertilizers for better yields.

Agusan del Sur Rep. Eddiebong Plaza said the government's current fertilizer program is "flawed" as it mostly uses rapid test kits for soils.

"The problem with rapid test kits is, sometimes, it overestimates or it underestimates the nutrients available in the soil," Plaza told CNN Philippines.

"The tendency is that we could not really achieve our potential yield because we don't know the health of the soil," he added.

The lawmaker urged the government to take a more scientific approach in solving agricultural issues, which he said could be done through "more modern and more efficient laboratory tests."

Plaza explained that soils in various regions differ in nutrients, which means the government should provide "the right fertilizer."

"Each municipality or each province usually have different soil nutrients or deficiency, this needs to be tested so that the government and most specially the Department of Agriculture could really know the specific kind of fertilizer that would be given to our farmers," Plaza said.

According to Plaza, other countries have already been using soil test-based fertilizer programs, including the United States, China, Thailand, India, Vietnam, and some European nations.

Last month, President Ferdinand "Bongbong" Marcos Jr. met with his Cabinet to tackle food security, and issues hounding the agriculture sector.

Agriculture officials had warned local farm output of some commodities--like onion, garlic, and salt--will not be enough to meet expected demand until the fourth quarter.