Biofertilizers: Friend to the Earth & Air
They’re cheap, potent, safe and totally environment friendly. Greenland Farms’ Tony Luna explains why biofertilizers are the smarter way to growing crops.
Spending more on chemical fertilizers these days is considered a “win-lose” endeavor. Not only do you increase your production expense, you are also contributing to the planet’s decay and at the same time jeopardizing the health of others. This is why more and more farmers are shifting their mindsets and embracing the clean and green perspective. The smarter alternative? Shifting to biofertilizers.
Biofertilizers consist of microorganisms (bacteria and fungi) which fix atmospheric nitrogen solubilize phosphorus and promote uptake of immobile ions of zinc and other micronutrients. These include bacteria like Azolla, Azospirillum, Azotobacter, Rhizobium, cyanobacteria (blugreen algae), phosphobacteria, Sesbania, etc. Biofertizers also provide growth promoting substances like vitamins, hormones, amino acids etc. to the plants. (www.mictobiologysuite101com). In layman’s parlance, “bio” means life and the introduction of live microorganisms into organic fertilizers explains the term.
Several environment-conscious farmers have been using biofertilizers for quite sometime, but it has only been recently when the effects of Nature’s wrath enlightened the minds of mainstream agri-entrepreneurs to use them in growing their crops.
Take the case of Greenland Farms in San Jose Batangas. Years ago, poultry farmer Engr. Rolly Lagaya thought of a way to solve the glut of chicken manure in his farm, the stench of which had some of his neighbors complaining. Researching intensively on biofertilizers, the maverick Batangueno entrepreneur formed his own team and made his version of a biofertilizer using 80% chicken manure and 20% organic matter. By May, 2005, he established his own Greenland Farms and began the commercial selling of his bioferttilizers.
Greenland Farms’ agriculturist and technical consultant Tony Luna explains their product: “We can guarantee that our biofertilizers are t00% organic. We mix this with beneficial microorganism. In addition to that, we also add in tuna hydroiysate which enriches the soil. Our microorganism and hydrosylate, came from Japan and Australia and are certified worldwide.”
In terms of benefits, Mr. Luna reveals three things: “Number one, it’s cheap,” he explains. “You buy any chemical fertilizer and the cheapest you can get is Php800 per 50 kgs. Ours is only Php150! Second, it’s healthy because it’s chemically free. You’ll be safer from cancer-causing diseases brought about by chemicals. Third, it’s environment-friendly. Anyone who uses this will be contributing to the efforts to mitigate the ill effects of climate change.”
Mr. Luna, who also happens to be an organic farming advocate, wants to clear that when using biofertilizers, one should not expect dramatic changes to happen in his farm during the first yield. “If you’ve been using chemical fertilizers and suddenly decided to shit to biofertilizers, you have to remember that the soil needs time to rehabilitate itself. This means changing the pH and soil structure. By the second time you apply it, you can experience relatively an increase of 20%. By the third application, this will already increase to 50%. By the time you reach your fourth application, you can already experience an increase of 100%. In our experience with using biofertiizer with rice, we have had increases from 80 to 120 to 180 cavans per hectare.”
Greenland biofertilizers, according to Mr. Luna, are applied basally, during land preparation and just before planting. For newly opened areas, he recommends applying 50 bags per hectare. After that, he recommends the farmers to have their soil analyzed. The results of the analysis will then determine the amount of biofertilizers that needs to be applied. The biofertilizers are sold at the following prices: Php5/kilo; Php20/4 kilos and Php150/50 kgs. These are used in almost all kinds of agricultural crops from tomatoes, papaya, black pepper, sugarcane, yellow corn, peanuts, etc.
With Greenland Farms’ production capacity ranging from 9,000 bags to 24,000 per month, their biofertilizers are now being sold and utilized by environment friendly farmers in different parts of the country like Agusan, Davao, Butuan City, Bacolod, Bohol, Mountain Province, Isabela, Cagayan and in Luzon—Batangas Laguna, Quezon and Mindoro.
Shouldn’t we all cash in on the biofertiizers bandwagon?
You can contact Greenland Farms at 043 726-2281/ 09178860033 and look for Anne.
By Ronald G. Mangubat