Mango growers need to secure license to buy potassium nitrate

LAOAG CITY — Owing to occurrence of bombing incidents and terrorist threats, mango growers are now required to secure a license when buying potassium nitrate, an important chemical compound to induce more flowers on trees.

However, it is also being used in the manufacture of explosives making it potentially dangerous.

In view of this, Ricardo Tolentino, president of the mango growers association in this northern part of Luzon said on Thursday that they appealed to local authorities here if they can secure a license as an association to avoid burden to individual farmers.

Tolentino said mango growers here have become dependent on using potassium nitrate in their mango plantations as it is more convenient for them to use it instead of the traditional “smoking” technique which take about 25 days to induce the flowers of mango trees.

“In Ilocos Norte, I am the only one yet who have secured a license from Crame. Only the members of our association can avail of it subject to monthly audit and monitoring from the PNP,” said Tolentino.

Unlike in previous years when an individual farmer could just buy potassium or calcium nitrate in a local farm supply, this is no longer allowed as the Philippine National Police (PNP) is strictly regulating its possible abuse.

Even farm suppliers now need to secure permit to sell this kind of substance.

Anyone caught in possession of potassium nitrate without license from the PNP national headquarters will be penalized.It is considered a non-bailable offense.

The Ilocos region, covering Ilocos Norte, Ilocos Sur, La Union and Pangasinan, is one of the country’s major exporters of quality mangoes to Hongkong, Japan and other neighboring Southeast Asian nations.

Hence, regulating the use of potassium nitrate could somehow affect the mango industry, Tolentino said citing mango growers here are still recovering from previous losses due to typhoon and infestation of fruit flies. LGA/