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Japanese soil, fertilizer expert to work in Catanduanes State College

VIRAC, Catanduanes, April 11 – Starting next month, the soil laboratory of the College of Agriculture and Fisheries (CAF) of the Catanduanes State College (CSC) here will be manned by a Japanese expert in soil and fertilizer sciences who would work under the Japan Overseas Cooperation Volunteer (JOCV) program.

CSC president Asuncion Asetre said JOCV Tetsuya Ishikawa will start with his two-year assignment with the CAF in May following his ongoing familiarization tour and cultural interaction here.

A native of Nagoya, Japan, Ishikawa is a 2009 BS in Applied Biosciences graduate at Tokyo University of Agriculture. He studied pedology, plant physiology, fertilizer and plant nutrition, according to Asetre.

He was also a student staff to the laboratory of plant production chemistry of the university and conducted pot cultivation experiment of eggplant and soybean. He was trained by the JOVC training course program on the preparation, adjustment of sample, flame analysis and calometric analysis for soil and plants, she said.

Ishikawa will assist in the continuation of the testing of soil in the province started by Namiko Yamamoto, the first volunteer sent in to the province by the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) who also calibrated the school’s spectro-flame photometer equipment during her six-month assignment in 2009.

The equipment was provided by the JICA for the CSC soil laboratory that spearheaded the conducting of an extensive soil mapping in the province. Yamamoto who led the project has identified and gathered soil samples for testing from 64 soil gradients across the province, Asetre said.

The laboratory has already completed the Nitrogen, Phosporus and pH (potential Hydrogen) test for the soil samples and after the completed macronutrients analysis undertaken by the previous Japanese volunteer, the studying of soil micronutrients will be the next activity of the laboratory with Ishikawa.

The soil laboratory at the CSC is equipped with a Spectro-flame Photometer, a soil analyzer device composed of two main machines, a spectro-photometer and flame photometer. It can test mineral content of soils as well as its alkalinity or acidity and through these tests, proper crops management can be applied.

The island province located amidst the Pacific Ocean is a highly agricultural area that is known as the Philippines’ biggest producer of abaca and top supplier of abaca fiber in the international market. (PNA)

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