Bio-Fertilizers and Bio-Pesticides Research and Development at UPLB
With the establishment of the National Institutes of Biotechnology and Applied Microbiology (BIOTECH), University of the Philippines Los Baños (UPLB) researches were done to look for cheaper and locally available but efficient substitutes or supplements to inorganic fertilizer, such as bio-fertilizers and bio-pesticides. Technologies on bio-fertilizers developed by UPLB include BIO-N, the most popular and one of the most effective; Vesicular Arbuscular Mycorrhiza Root Inoculant or VAMRI; Brown Magic; BioGroe; Mykovam; NitroPlus; microbial inoculants for the bioconversion of crop residues and agro-industrial by-products into bio-fertilizers; Cocogro or plant growth hormones from coconut water; and BioCon. bio-pesticides derived from such natural materials as animals, plants, bacteria, and certain minerals were also discussed in this paper. Three major types of bio-pesticides were studied: microbial, plant, and biochemical pesticides. Results of experiments and tests showed that these kinds of pesticides may serve as effective and safe alternatives to chemical ones. Bio-fertilizers and bio-pesticides in the Philippines are very promising. Bio-fertilizers are very cheap, easy to use, safe and do not require repeated applications. Several training courses and workshops have already been conducted to disseminate and transfer the bio-fertilizer technologies to target clientele. However, they still lack availability outside UPLB. On the other hand, some bio-pesticides are still unpopular among farmers. The area-wide use of bio-pesticides could be enhanced if village-level mass production and utilization of this technology will be aggressively extended to Filipino farmers by the local government units through organized integrated pest management programs.