Calbayog City, Samar – Farmers here expressed optimism that the rising cost of farm inputs, particularly fertilizer, will be cushioned by the recommendations promoted in the “Abonong Swak (Swak sa budget. Swak sa Palay)” campaign.

Efren Velasco

Efren Velasco, farmer in Brgy. Malahog, said that balanced fertilization, which he learned from the campaign launched here on June 2, is promising as studies show that it can reduce fertilizer cost by P2,000-P4,000.

Velasco shared that he applies three bags of complete fertilizer and four bags of urea per hectare totaling to P20,640. With the “Abonong Swak,” he is hopeful that he could save up without compromising the yield.

“Who will not give this a try if it offers a lot of savings? I will adopt these recommendations to see if these are effective. I’m hopeful that we could save money from these without compromising yield,” he said in Filipino.

Implemented by Philippine Rice Research Institute together with the Bureau of Soils and Water Management (BSWM), Agricultural Training Institute, and Agriculture and Fisheries Information Division, the “Abonong Swak,” campaign of the Department of Agriculture was also recently launched in other low-yielding provinces like Aklan, Capiz, and Bohol. The launch was held during seed distributions of the Rice Competitiveness Enhancement Fund (RCEF)-Seed Program.

“We’ve received free certified inbred seeds, IEC materials, and learnings on ‘Abonong Swak’. It’s our turn now to help ourselves and apply these technologies to increase our yield,” he said.

Maribel R. Jalalon, chief of BSWM Laboratory Services Division, explained the budget-friendly fertilizer recommendations while Dr. Diadem G. Esmero, head of DA-PhilRice Development Communication Division, encouraged farmers to use diagnostic and decision support tools such as Leaf Color Chart, Minus-One Element Technique, Rice Crop Manager Advisory Service, and Soil Test Kit for a more precise fertilizer recommendation. Information on Abonong Swak could be accessed in this link

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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