82% of farmlands have low soil fertility – DA

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, May 21) – Majority of farmlands in the country have low soil fertility, or the ability to sustain plant growth, the Department of Agriculture (DA) reported Saturday.

Bureau of Soil and Water Management chief agriculturist Karen Bautista said 82% of farmlands in the country have moderate to low levels of soil fertility, based on the agency’s National Soil Fertility Mapping Project.

“Ten years ago, nasa…moderate levels of soil fertility iyong ating mga kalupaan. So, patuloy po na nadi-degrade, nagkakaroon po ng degradation over the years due to some unsustainable agricultural practices,” Bautista said in a statement.

[Translation: Ten years ago, the soil fertility of our lands was at moderate level. So, it continues to degrade. There is a degradation over the years due to some unsustainable agriculture practices.]

She added that the country’s farmland soil lacks major nutrients such as nitrogen, phosphorus and potassium.

Bautista stressed that the improper use of imported synthetic fertilizers has contributed to soil acidity.

Yung ating imported synthetic fertilizers nagko-contribute po iyan sa acidity ng ating lupa kung mali ang paggamit — hindi right time, hindi right amount, hindi right rate,” Bautista said.

[Translation: Imported synthetic fertilizers contribute to the acidity of soil of our farmlands if used improperly — not in the right time, right amount nor right rate.]

To address the problem with the farmland soil, the agriculture department urged farmers to use a combination of organic fertilizers and biofertilizers through a balanced fertilization strategy and crop diversification.