Taiwan develops new crop enhancer
Taipei, Taiwan, February 24, 2008
Agriculture researchers at a government-run laboratory have proven the effects of a new eco-friendly crop enhancer in boosting the output of cultivated vegetables and improving land productivity, according to government sources in Taiwan.
Explaining the composition of the bio-enhancer, staffers at the Taoyuan District Agricultural Research and Extension Station under the Cabinet-level Council of Agriculture (COA) said they first carbonise bamboo stems left over by local farmers, and then grind the bamboo charcoal into particles to mix with other ingredients.
In field experiments, the bio-enhancer provides maximal effect at the ratio of 1,000 kg per hectare. However, when the amount exceeds 1,500 kg per hectare, the marginal effect decreases drastically, they said.
'At the optimal ratio, the output volume of lettuce is raised by 4 per cent,' said deputy director of the station Fu Yang-jen.
'Meanwhile, the enhancer can also purify farmland by absorbing toxic chemicals,' Fu explained.
The station researchers said bamboo charcoal has a high pH value, hence it can be used to neutralize acidic soil laced with fertilizer or pesticide residue to provide a more suitable environment for plant growth. Meanwhile, the numerous microscopic holes in charcoal particles also trap these chemicals.
According to COA tallies, most vegetable farmers in northern Taiwan use indoor cultivation facilities, covering a total of 250 hectares in the Keelung, Taipei, Taoyuan and Hsinchu areas. These facilities generate an annual vegetable output of 3,750 tons.
'If they overuse the fertilizer or pesticide, the secluded environment contains too high concentrations of these chemicals, hence the need for an eco-friendly crop enhancer that can raise output while purging the excessive chemicals to support sustainable agriculture,' Fu said. – TradeArabia News Service