Most of the farmers under RSAI who are included in the organic and FairTSA program, practice the “Farming by Default”, which means plantations are left unattended in terms of nutritional inputs. Farmers only tend to slash grasses and then commence harvesting every harvesting cycle and leave the farm again without tending any farm inputs to maintain and promote its productivity.
As time goes by, soil nutrients deplete and as a result, most of the coconut trees exhibit early declining stage and start to produce fewer nuts per harvest.
To resolve the issue on the declining yield, it is necessary to introduce farm inputs that will supplement the depleted soil nutrients – which will help coconut trees achieve its maximum yield – and agricultural salt is one of the abundant natural farm inputs that can be distributed to every organic coconut farm.
Application of agricultural salt on soils accelerates the growth and development of the coconut trees. It increases nut production by 36.6%, 44.8% increase in copra/nut and 96.7% increase in copra/tree. In terms of value, application may increase harvest by 15 to 20 nuts per year.
The agricultural salt distribution among farmers of South Cotabato and Sarangani provinces was supposed to commence in 2020 but due to the pandemic which limited the movement of goods and manpower across LGUs, the project was postponed and RSAI team was only able to distribute some Personal Protective Equipment (gloves and boots) in August 2020.
In 2021, Roxas Sigma’s Raw Materials Sourcing (RMS) and Internal Control System (ICS) Departments started the preliminary assessments on the farms which involved collecting a considerable sample size of harvested matured nut count and nut weight from each beneficiary. This data will be reviewed and compared after 12 months to the count and weight of the nuts that grew on the soils with agricultural salt fertilizer.
Distribution of agricultural salt also pushed through as local cases of Covid-19 continued to decline. Final assessment of results will be conducted on July of 2022.
Roxas Sigma has distributed a total of 1, 200 sacks of agricultural salt fertilizers to 66 farmers of South Cotabato and Sarangani provinces.