"We must open our eyes and find ways to apply our knowledge so we don't end up losing the ground under our feet."
This animated film tells the reality of soil resources around the world, covering the issues of degradation, urbanization, land grabbing and over-exploitation; the film offers options to make the way we manage our soils more sustainable.
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The so called, “modern farming” green revolution allowed the Philippines to achieve surplus rice production sometime in the late 1970’s. Consequently, the Philippines was able to export 200,000 tonnes of rice in 1982. However, said year of surplus was short lived; it was not sustainable. It even resulted to soil impoverishment and exhausted reserve fertility for the farm soil.
Decades of NPK fertilization under the green revolution program practically sapped the Philippine farm lands of their organic matter content.
Typical soil test in rice, sugar and coconut farm lands showed organic matter content levels as follows; 1.17%, 1.04%, 0.62%, 0.28%, 0.08%, and in some cases nothing at all. These levels are way below the 4% level for fertile soil.
In growing a good crop, there is a need to supply the plant with 16 essential nutrients. The plant has to be provided with all the essential plant nutrients. Unfortunately, the present condition of Philippine farm soil with low organic matter content can no longer supply all the essential nutrients despite heavy NPK fertilization. Micro-nutrient fertilization becomes a necessity and organic recycling is mandatory.
Applying NPK fertilizers alone to an infertile farm soil results to nutrient starved crops and that feeding people with nutrient starved crops will deprive said people of many essential nutrients. This results to malnutrition and a malnourished populace.
*Excerpt from an article published in ASIAN BUSINESS magazine, NEWSFOCUS section, 1983
BIOZOME: A source of micro-nutrients
How BIOZOME works
Benefits from use
When a plant absorbs nutrients from the soil, it leaves behind a depleted planting ground. Consequently, the soil must be replenished to provide the optimum nutrition for succeeding plantings.
Through the years, Filipino farmers have applied various fertilization technologies to return essential nutrients to the soil. Unfortunately, traditional "organic" and macro-nutrient (NPK) fertilizers provide an inadequate solution to nutrient depletion.
Bureau of Soils and Water Management findings
Studies conducted by the Bureau of Soils and Water Management (BSWM) have exposed the micro-nutrient deficiency* of soils in the Philippines due to the continuous removal of soil nutrients, through non-stop mono-cropping, without micro-nutrient replenishment.
Lately, the planting of two or more crops a year in irrigated areas or multiple cropping patterns in regions with limited land areas has resulted to the continuous removal of macro- and micro-nutrients without replenishment of the latter. This resulted to what is felt now as micro-nutrient deficiencies in almost all parts of the country. (Soils and Water Technical Bulletin: Foreword)
Planting high-yielding varieties of rice and corn continuously and fertilizing with only NPK fertilizer has caused the depletion of the essential micro-nutrients present in the soil.
Interpretation of the micro-nutrient status
The micro-nutrient deficiency limits for several crops on diethelenetriamine-pentaacetic acid (DTPA) extractable micro-nutrients are as follows:
Zinc: 0.5 ppm
Copper: 0.2 ppm
Iron: 4.5 ppm
Manganese: 1.0 ppm
Nutrient readings below or near these figures will cause nutrient imbalance (due to deficiency) and may result in possible crop failure. On the other hand, values above these numbers, but significantly below the average, will cause a "hidden hunger" that will translate into a less-than-optimum crop yield.
*As reported by the BSWM in their :Soils and Water Technical Bulletin: Special Issue"
The 16 essential nutrients
To achieve the maximum genetic potential of a plant, 16 essential nutrients must be present in the growing environment. Of the 16, three are available in the air and water, and the remaining 13 are derived directly from the soil (see illustration below).
Nutrients from air and water (3)
These three nutrients are part of carbohydrates, fats, proteins and vitamins.
1. Carbon (C)
2. Hydrogen (H)
3. Oxygen (O)
Nutrients from soil (13)
Most of the nutrients utilized by the plant are found in the soil. These nutrients are divided into three categories: macro-nutrients, secondary nutrients, and micro-nutrients.
4. Nitrogen (N) - a major component of protein
5. Phosphorus (P) - an indispensable component of adenosine triphosphate
6. Potassium (K) - regulates osmotic balance and cell turgor
Secondary nutrients (3)
7. Calcium (Ca) - like potassium, also regulates osmotic balance and cell turgor
8. Magnesium (Mg) - an essential constituent of chlorophyll
9. Sulfur (S) - essential for the formation of most proteins
10. Boron (B) - essential in cell division
11. Chlorine (Cl) - helps in the growth and development of plants
12. Copper (Cu) - important in the utilization of protein and in chlorophyll formation
13. Iron (Fe) - essential in chlorophyll formation
14. Manganese (Mn) - part of an enzyme involved in chlorophyll synthesis
15. Molybdenum (Mo) - needed in the reduction of nitrates to nitrite
16. Zinc (Zn) - an essential component of many plant enzymes