CARRAGEENAN extracted from seaweeds and further degraded through irradiation has been found to boost rice yields by 15-30% That was observed in multi-location trials in Bulacan, Nueva Ecija, Laguna and Iloilo.
The product is called Carrageenan Plant Growth Regulator or CPGR for short. In Bulacan, the application of 20 ml per liter of CPGR in addition to 3 and 6 bags of chemical fertilizer per hectare led to 65.4% increase in grain weight. Panicle length also increased from 3.5% to 12.5%.
Productive tillers and panicle length were also found to be significantly higher in the trials compared to those in the farmers’ field.
CPGR has also been observed to make the rice stem stronger and improves resistance to lodging. It is also compatible with farmers’ practice, thus giving higher grain yield. It also promotes resistance to rice tungro virus and bacterial blight. Furthermore, it is environment friendly as it has no harmful effects on natural enemies or beneficial insects.
The Philippine Nuclear Research Institute (PNRI), an agency of DOST, has been producing CPGRs used in the multi-locational trials. For a project in Isabela, almost 8 tons were produced by PNRI. These were turned over by PCAARRD in ceremonies held at the Isabela State University Echague Campus sometime ago. (DOST-STII Press Release)