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BOI, AgriSpecialist partner to promote biofertilizer products in Phl 

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By Victoria “NIKE” De Dios

With the need to bolster the agri sector and address looming food security in the country as the effect of the pandemic and the ongoing Russia’s illegal invasion of Ukraine, the Philippine government through the Board of Investments (BOI) discussed with AgriSpecialist, Inc. (ASI) a possible strategic partnership in the commercialization of the country’s biofertilizer industry.

With the promotion of locally-developed biofertilizer products and technologies in the Philippines, this would certainly bolster the agriculture sector in the country and help local farmers increase their harvest and provide more income for their family, stabilize supply and become self-reliant without depending so much from the importation.

AgriSpecialist, Inc. Director Raquel Echague of the Resource-Based Industries Service (RBIS) (second from right) led the Board of Investments (BOI) delegation on a visit to the site of AgriSpecialist, Inc. in Sta. Rosa, Laguna on Dec. 20, 2023.

Photo shows from left, Catherine Amante, UPLB-TTBDO Technical Staff; Mary-Anne Jiao, Executive Vice President-ASI; Dir. Emil John Cabrera, UPLB-TTBDO, Mario Labadan, Jr., President-ASI, Francis Penafor, RBIS-BOI; Director Echague; andMarikon Bravante, RBIS-BOI.

Director Raquel Echague of the BOI’s Resource-Based Industries Service (RBIS) and Mr. Mario Labadan, Jr., President of AgriSpecialist, Inc., talked about the importance of assuring the market for the producers of biofertilizers. Mr. Labadan pointed out that farmers should be aware of the advantages of using biofertilizers to appreciate the local products.

In particular, Bio-N, a product developed by the UPLB-National Institute of Molecular Biology and Biotechnology can potentially increase crop yields by 11%. Notably, five to six 200-gram sachets of Bio-N can replace two 50-kg bags of urea per hectare planted with rice.

With the product, farmers can save around Php10,000 per hectare. Both BOI and AgriSpecialist agreed that they should place a premium on having an industrialization partner from the beginning of the R&D process.

University of the Philippines Los Baños Professor and National Scientist Dr. Emil Javier also joined the discussion on the enhanced research and development (R&D) for the locally-developed biofertilizer products, which will significantly help Filipino farmers in the long run.

Dr. Javier told the BOI that the public-private partnership has been effective and has the potential to fully optimize existing local researchers in these products.

After the discussion, the BOI representatives visited ASI’s biofertilizer manufacturing facility located in Sta. Rosa, Laguna. Producing Bio-N fertilizer, the facility could be the first commercial-scale manufacturing plant for biofertilizer and its planned expansion could accommodate 100% of the country’s biofertilizer requirement for the lands planted with rice and corn.

During the site visit, Mr. Labadan showed the complete line of biofertilizer production from where the ingredients are stored and mixed to the area where the finished products are packaged.

Encouraging potential technology adaptors to invest in this industry, the BOI and other relevant industry stakeholders aim to strengthen the information dissemination and education campaign for farmers to facilitate the shift from traditional fertilizers to biofertilizers.

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