Tech­nol­ogy can boost mungbean pro­duc­tion

Agriculture - - Contents - BY JULIO P. YAP, JR.

MUNGBEAN ( Vigna ra­di­ata), which is lo­cally known as “munggo” or “bal­a­tong,” is one of the cheap­est sources of pro­tein in the Filipino diet. It is also a good source of min­er­als, provi­ta­min A and vi­ta­min B com­plex, and ly­sine.

Grow­ing mungbean af­ter rice presents a good op­por­tu­nity for farm­ers to earn ad­di­tional in­come be­cause its pro­duc­tion requires min­i­mal in­puts, and it is a short du­ra­tion crop which can con­trib­ute mil­lions of pe­sos to the lo­cal econ­omy.It can be grown year-round, but is best grown when har­vest­ing co­in­cides with dry pe­ri­ods.

How­ever, there are sev­eral fac­tors that af­fect the pro­duc­tion of mungbean in the coun­try, like the lack of qual­ity seeds for plant­ing, the sus­cep­ti­bil­ity of the mungbean plant to var­i­ous in­sect pests, and in par­tic­u­lar, the low lev­els of lo­cal pro­duc­tion.

Rec­og­niz­ing the vi­tal con­tri­bu­tion of mungbean to the lo­cal econ­omy, the Philip­pine Coun­cil for Agri­cul­ture, Aquatic and Nat­u­ral Re­sources Re­search and De­vel­op­ment of the Depart­ment of Science and Tech­nol­ogy (PCAARRD-DOST) funded the de­vel­op­ment of a car­rageenan plant food sup­ple­ment (PFS) to boost its pro­duc­tion.The project is im­ple­mented by the DOST-Philip­pine Nu­clear Re­search In­sti­tute (DOST-PNRI), Philip­pine Rice Re­search In­sti­tute (PhilRice), and the Na­tional Crop Pro­tec­tion Cen­ter of the Univer­sity of the Philip­pines Los Baños (NCPC-UPLB).

Based on re­search and field tri­als, car­rageenan PFS recorded an av­er­age of a 494 per­cent yield in­crease for three mungbean va­ri­eties:Labo, Pag-asa 7, and Pag-asa 19.The three va­ri­eties, af­ter be­ing treated with car­rageenan, pro­duced 1.2-1.5 tons per hectare (t/ha) com­pared with the mungbean plants in the con­trol field, which only pro­duced 0.15-0.31 t/ha. Car­rageenan PFS is ex­tracted from sea­weeds and fur­ther de­graded through ir­ra­di­a­tion.Ir­ra­di­a­tion is a tech­nol­ogy which has re­sulted in the cre­ation of many of the most widely grown strains of food crops around the world. Ap­plied via fo­liar spray at a rate of 10 ml per liter of water, carageenan PFS pro­moted plant growth, seed ger­mi­na­tion, shoot elon­ga­tion, root growth, flower pro­duc­tion, and sup­pres­sion of heavy me­tals, among oth­ers.

Aside from im­prov­ing the to­tal yield, the num­ber of pods per plant and the num­ber of seeds per pod also in­creased.A pre­lim­i­nary field trial con­ducted at the Pam­panga State Agri­cul­tural Univer­sity (PSAU) pro­duced 12 to 15 pods per plant com­pared with the plants in the con­trol field, which only pro­duced six to seven pods per plant. The num­ber of seeds per pod also dou­bled, from six to 12 seeds.

An­other pre­lim­i­nary field ex­per­i­ment at the PSAU un­der rice-mungbean and veg­etable­mu­ng­bean crop­ping sys­tems us­ing dif­fer­ent fer­til­izer treat­ments showed that mungbean plants treated with­car­rageenan PFS posted the high­est seed yield at 1.8 t/ ha.Plants treated with car­rageenan also pro­duced the high­est num­ber of pods per plant (20), and num­ber of seeds per pod (12).

The other fer­til­iz­ers tested in­cluded or­ganic fer­til­izer, am­mo­nium sul­fate, am­mo­nium sul­fate+, triple su­per­phos­phate (TSP) + muri­ate of potash, and a com­bi­na­tion of am­mo­nium sul­fate + boron.

The in­crease in the pro­duc­tion of mungbean is ex­pected to ben­e­fit farm­ers in the Ilo­cos re­gion, the Au­ton­o­mous Re­gion of Mus­lim Min­danao (ARMM), Western Visayas, Cen­tral Lu­zon, and Ca­gayan Val­ley, and this could, in turn, con­trib­ute greatly to the lo­cal econ­omy.

Photo shows the ad­van­tages and ef­fects of us­ing the car­rageenan plant food sup­ple­ment.

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