‘Sun block’ for crops introduced in UPLB

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LOS BAÑOS, Laguna—A crop sun block? Why not?

Grade school science taught us how plants needed sunlight for food production, but too much exposure, as it is for humans, does more harm than good.

Sinochem Philippines, a member of the Chinese state-owned corporation Sinochem Group, on Wednesday launched Purshade, a calcium-based plant protectant described to be effective against “solar stress.”

Basically, “it’s like sun block for the plants,” said Sincohem Philippines country director Bernard Canapi, following a product launch and demo at the University of the Philippines Los Baños (UPLB) campus here.

Purshade is 62-percent calcium carbonate, which is sprayed on crops and forms a protective film against ultraviolet and infrared rays from the sun while allowing “photosynthetic” light to penetrate the plants, its product brochure said.

The product is 100-percent organic, with ingredients commonly used in medicines, toothpaste and preservatives, the brochure said.

In the Philippines, Canapi said the product was first tested in corn plantations in Pangasinan and Isabela over long periods of drought last year.

The field trials, he said, showed a 15-20 percent increase in yield.

“Too much sun exposure affects the plant’s moisture, hence the farmer ends up spending more for irrigation,” said Sinochem Philippines brand manager Katherine Ramos.

The company also launched Roundup Toboplus, an herbicide that its manufacturer said would not be “easily washed away by rain,” Ramos said.

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