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Administering soil ameliorant to combat Zinc deficiency in Aklan

By Amelia M. Fermia - Project Assistant III
September 19, 2016

Amid the need for nutrient balance and proper soil management, the Bureau of Soils and Water Management (BSWM) in coordination with the Department of Agriculture-Regional Field Office (DA-RFO) and Provincial and Municipal Local Government Units (LGUs), recently facilitated the Farmer's Field Day to undertake the project "Piloting on the Use of Soil Ameliorant in Zinc Deficient Areas" in Kalibo, Aklan.

Zinc deficient areas in the Philippines are those land planted with rice usually submerged into water or frequently flooded. Based on the 1997 BFS fertilizer group map, the extent of zinc deficient rice soils in the Philippines is about 561,299.42 hectares; This is quite extremely close to the initial estimate made by Castro (1977) of about 500,000 hectares when zinc deficiency was first recognized as a major issue in rice production in the Philippines.

OIC, Director Sonia M. Salguero shared the BSWM initiatives on the use of zinc and other micronutrients, mapping efforts including soil fertility mapping, and establishment of small-scale composting facilities which contributes to nutrient cycling from composted agricultural wastes.

She also gave emphasis on the importance of zinc to crop production as well as in human growth and body protection to diseases.

"Tulad rin nating mga tao, kailangan din ng lupa ang tamang nutrisyon para mabuhay at makapag-pamunga ng mga tanim nating halaman," Salguero underscored.

Angelita C. Marcia, Senior Science Research Specialist of the BSWM Soil and Water Resources Research Division (SWRRD) presented the techno demo results. The objectives of the project are to determine the effectiveness of soil ameliorants in a form of zinc on different soil types and condition and to showcase zinc amelioration technology as a strategy to increase rice yield in zinc deficient soils.

Zinc deficiency was first recognized as a problem of rice in calcareous soils by Yoshida and Tanaka in 1969. As early as 1977, then BSWM and Agricultural Training Institute (ATI) carried out series of cooperative zinc-phosphate “verification” specialist trials on farms with the IR36 rice variety considered as tolerant of zinc deficiency. Continuous efforts were made to identify the areas where zinc deficiency occurred and as well as the symptoms of zinc deficiency.

The project is being conducted in five different regions in Luzon that are identified as zinc deficient soils and knwon as rice-grown areas including Alaminos, Pangasinan (Region I), Jaen, Nueva Ecija (Region III), Naujan, Mindoro (Region IV-B), Banga and New Washington, Aklan (Region VI) and Victoria, Laguna (Region IV-A). It is an undertaking of the DA under the National Rice Program with the BSWM as the primary implementing agency.

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