A recent study has proven that rice grown with azolla between its rows can yield 4-5.3t/ha at a production cost of only P3.84/kg after continuous incorporation.

Azolla is an aquatic fern that hosts Anabaena azollea cyanobacteria, which convert nitrogen into ammonia that nourishes rice plants when incorporated into the soil.

Cielo Luz Mondejar-Bello, a member of the Negros station-based research team, said they tested azolla as the source of nutrients of the rice crop for three seasons; no other fertilizers were applied. Its effect was first observed in the second season, when the plants matured well, but the significant increase in yield was recorded after the third cropping.

“In our demo, we only introduced 0.1kg/ha of azolla fresh biomass during the first two seasons. The fern grew and fully covered the farm during the third season. Based on soil analysis, rice-azolla intercropping areas have increased organic matter and the total nitrogen available in the ricefield. Our computation shows that farmers can save P17,500 for two cropping seasons if they use Azolla as biofertilizer for rice,” Mondejar-Bello said.

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Philippine Rice Research Institute (PhilRice) is a government corporate entity attached to the Department of Agriculture created through Executive Order 1061 on 5 November 1985 (as amended) to help develop high-yielding and cost-reducing technologies so farmers can produce enough rice for all Filipinos.

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Philippine Rice Research Institute