Nov 26, 2020

Researchers studying fertilization of laterite topsoil for agriculture

Blitz Paeste, Mining Technology and Geosciences coordinator, said that they are on the stage of determining the best feed mix ratio of solid wastes to upgrade the soil compost into fertilizer status.

Blitz Paeste transferring plants that were planted using the soil compost. // Image courtesy of RTNMC Facebook page.

Rio Tuba Nickel Mining Corporation (RTNMC) continues to improve lateritic topsoil for the purpose of agriculture and rehabilitation projects in the community through a series of experiments since 2018.

Blitz Paeste, Mining Technology and Geosciences coordinator, said that they are on the stage of determining the best feed mix ratio of solid wastes to upgrade the soil compost into fertilizer status.

The soil compost is produced by feeding the feed mix into the bioreactor filled with inoculants to increase the decomposition rate.

Paeste said that they are forming 100 kilograms (kg.) of manure; 100 kg of carbonized rice hull; 100 kg. of sawdust; 150 kg. of kitchen wastes and 50 kg. of soil, compost to meet the 500-kg daily feed requirement of the bioreactor.

“Iti-test namin siya sa lateritic topsoil ng RTN, sabay naming ginagawa namin ‘yong testing stage ng soil compost at paghanap ng feed ratio,” he said.

Paeste said that they have formed a partnership with the community where the wastes are made available for collection.

After the run of the study, he said that the company is aiming to mass-produce a soil compost that could also be a fertilizer. He said that they want to upgrade their product to the country’s standard of soil fertilizer.

 

Image courtesy of RTNMC Facebook page.

Paeste said that the study and the upgrading of the product would run until the year 2023.

Aside from farmers and individuals who venture into agriculture, this could also benefit the community members who are doing ornamental planting, he said. RTNMC is also identifying how much will it cost once produced by the
community.

“Itong project na ito ay in partnership with Department of Science and Technology (DOST), sila ‘yong nag-assist sa amin, basically na-prepare nila ang RTN for this program. Nagkaroon lang ng slight hurdle or challenges sa waste collection kasi medyo nakakaligtaan ang segregation,” he said.

Based on the research of RTNMC, according to Zhao et al. in 2000, ultisols or strongly leached red soils (laterites) in the subtropics, like in the Philippines, have low fertility and organic matter contents.

The company aims to address the deficiency by testing the soil compost using tomatoes and eggplants, and bamboo in the rehabilitation sites of the company.

The company also eyes to help its partner barangays under the SDMP-Development of Host and Neighboring Communities in 2021.

If the project gains good feedback from the community, Nickel Asia Corporation (NAC) will roll out the project to its other subsidiary companies.

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