UPLB-BIOTECH biofertilizers and technologies to boost urban agriculture in Cabuyao City

Cabuyao farmers will soon be able to use cost-effective and environment-friendly biofertilizers of the National Institute of Molecular Biology and Biotechnology (BIOTECH) on their various crops.

This was provided for in one of six partnership agreements that UPLB-BIOTECH and local executives of Cabuyao signed on March 17 to strengthen agricultural biotechnology RDE through sustainable agriculture and environmental protection.

The agreement will enable farmers to use Bio-N, a microbial-based fertilizer from bacteria isolated from roots of talahib to enhance shoot and root growth for rice, corn, and vegetables and Mykovam, a soil-based biofertilizer for fruit trees, agricultural crops, reforestation species, and ornamentals.

It will also cover the use of VAMRI, a root inoculant that assists plant roots in absorbing water and nutrients, protects plants from diseases, and improves growth and soil health while reducing chemical fertilizer use.  

The other RDE projects that the two parties will collaborate on are the following: feeding trial of the Protein Enriched Copra Meal (PECM) technology in rabbits; an efficacy study of wood vinegar as biofertilizer, biopesticide, and flower inducer for selected crops; and two projects funded by the Department of Agriculture-Bureau of Agricultural Research (DA-BAR)—a phytochemical nutritional study on sweet potato and cassava, and a pilot testing study of BIOTECH biofertilizers mixed with organic compost on eggplant and tomato farms.

The partnership will enable BIOTECH and Cabuyao City, through its Agriculture Office and Cabuyao Institute of Technology or CITech, as well as farmers from Casile-Guinting Upland Marketing Cooperative and Green Thumb Agricultural Farm to collaborate in research and extension projects in BIOTECH technologies and disseminate its outcomes to Cabuyao and nearby towns and barangays. 

“This is a very important project for us. Why? We need to move forward and start doing things. This pandemic cannot stop us from hoping. Our goal is for our dependents to become independents,” said Cabuyao City Mayor and UPLB 2020 Outstanding Alumni Awardee Atty. Rommel A. Gecolea in his message.

The local chief executive also recognized the importance of using products of biotechnology and the expertise of scientists and researchers in promoting urban agriculture in the city.

He urged the use of evidence-based policy and decision making in Cabuyao, and emphasized the value of scientific research.

BIOTECH Director Marilyn B. Brown said that UPLB will continue to work for and support the farmers of Cabuyao through scientific and agricultural research and its products. She said that technologies derived from local R&D will always be valuable tools for the LGU to empower its people. She also encouraged Cabuyao constituents to support other locally developed products of BIOTECH.

“We are here to provide technical assistance on how to use our BIOTECH technologies. We are hoping that these technologies can help everyone, especially our farmers,” explained Ms. Julieta A. Anarna, program leader of BIOTECH’s Biotechnology for Agriculture and Forestry Program and project leader of the Institute’s Bio-N biofertilizer. 

BIOTECH will be implementing capacity building activities through training and seminars to aid farmers and the LGU on the use of its technologies.

The tripartite agreements were signed by Dr. Brown, Mayor Gecolea, program leader for Technology Transfer and Business Development Ronilo P. Violanta, chairman of Casile-Guinting Upland Marketing Cooperative Gregorio L. Casalme, president of the Green Thumb Agricultural Farm Juanito Andal, and farmer collaborator Gaudencio M. Gonzales.  (Art John I. Agapito and Sophia M. Mercado)

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