Tuesday, April 24, 2012

What to Plant In Your Dream Farm (Tip No.7)

Visitors at the Teresa Orchard & Nursery p;ose with fruiting Paniyur
 Indian black pepper made to climb a mahogany tree.
(This is one more little piece of advice that can make a big difference in choosing what to plant in your own dream farm. We will keep on posting this type of tips because they are easier to keep in mind. So keep visiting this web site.)

 Plant A Crop That Keeps Well, Easy to Transport

If your farm is far from the market and it would be very expensive to transport your harvest, chose a crop that is light to transport and one that will keep for a long time without cold storage.

Is there such a crop? Yes. One is the black pepper. The dried pepper corn are very light and they can keep for months without any refrigeration. Black pepper also commands a high price.

Another plus in growing black pepper is that it can be made to climb the trunk of live trees, like the mahogany trees at the Teresa Orchard & Nursery in Teresa, Rizal. And once the plant is established, it has a long productive life.

The Paniyur variety from India produces long fruit spikes so that it is much more productive than the ordinary variety. You can source your planting materials from Teresa Orchard & Nursery in Teresa, Rizal. (0917-841-5477).

AANI FARM TOUR: April 29, 2012

Organic pigs at Kota Verde Farm Resort in Alfonso, Cavite.
More and more people are getting interested in organic farming. And that is the reason why tours of organic farms are getting more frequent. On Sunday, April 29, AANI will again be leading a group that will visit the Kota Verde Farm Resort, an organic farm in Alfonso, Cavite operated by Freddie  Pascua.
Earlier, AANI had also brought two batches of farm-tourists to the organic farm of Ronald and Josie Costales in Brgy. Gagalot, Majayjay, Laguna. As can be noted from the number of people joining such trips, there is an increasing keen interest in learning the basics of organic agriculture.
Those who will be joining the visit to Alfonso will be able to observe how Pascua is growing vegetables, farm animals and fish the organic way. He has planted a big portion of his farm to leafy greens like different varieties of lettuce that come in various colors, mustard, bush sitao, broccoli and others.
To make it more convenient to water the plants, a drip irrigation system has been installed in the plots. This way, the water containing the organic fertilizer is delivered to the base of the plants drop by drop. It is not only economical and convenient, it is also effective.
Pascua is also growing ducks for the production of organic eggs that are made into salted eggs. He has a flock of 800 layers which give him a substantial number of eggs every day. The salted duck eggs sell for P7 to P10 apiece, depending on the size. The big ones are sold at P10 apiece ex-farm.
Freddie Pascua also grows free-range chickens. He is raising the Grimaud breed being distributed by Dr. Erwin Cruz. Free-range chickens are also in demand by health-conscious people who are avoiding meat produced with antibiotics.

Those interested to join the farm tour should go to reserve at the AANI weekend market at the St. Vincent Seminary on Tandang Sora, Quezon City. Call Jocelyn at 935-3146 or 936-6556 for reservation and further info.


DR. EMILY FABREGAR is on the cover of the May 2012 issue of Agriculture Magazine which will be off the press shortly. She is a tissue culture expert from the Lapanday Food Corporation in Davao City. She will be tissue-culturing two Cavendish variants from Taiwan which have been proven to be resistant to the FusariumWilt Tropical Race 4 disease that is threatening the banana export industry of the Philippines.
Read about what is being done to address the Fusarium Wilt disease in the May edition of Agriculture which is the most widely circulated magazine of its kind in the Philippines. It is published by the Manila Bulletin and edited by yours truly, Zac B. Sarian.
Agriculture Magazine is distributed nationwide through bookstores and the network of outlets of the Manila Bulletin.

Starting Your Dream Farm (Tip No. 6)

(This is one piece of advice for people interested in farming for money, whether one is a neophyte or one who has been farming for a long time. We will post these tips every now and then so keep on logging to this site.)


IN these times when transport of your harvest is very costly, consider growing something that  you can sell right in your own hometown or province. You will not only save on bringing your product to market, your produce will be more fresh when they reach your buyers.

Also, when the market is near your farm, you can grow crops that don't have a long shelf life but with excellent eating quality. You know, there are certain crops that taste very good but many farmers don't like to grow them because they have poor transport quality and short shelf life. One example is the native tomato in the Ilocos which is very juicy with a desirable acidity. It is something many consumers (especially Ilocanos) are looking for but it is usually not available in the traditional markets. 

The trick in order to succeed is to estimate the volume that the local market could absorb and don't overproduce. You can stagger your production, if that is possible, so that you can have a continuous cash flow.

Monday, April 23, 2012

Guevarra Family Impressed With Mama Sita

Salvador Guevarra and members of his family were truly impressed by the big bunch of Mama Sita banana that they saw at the Teresa Orchard & Nursery that they visited recently. Here, they are posing with a newly fruiting banana. The banana blossom seems to excite Mr. Guevarra who likes not only to eat the ripe fruits but also the blossoms that are cooked with his favorite dish.
Salvador is a retiree who loves farming. Naturally, he got some planting materials for his farm in Sta. Ana, Pampanga. With him in photo are his wife Angela, son Alvin and granddaughter Arella.

MAY C. DUMLAO: New PHSI President

MAY CABALLERO-DUMLAO is the new president-elect of the Philippine Horticultural Society, Inc. (PHSI). Elected with her are Ralph Diaz, vice president; Norma Villanueva, secretary; Elisa Montecastro, treasurer; Butch Duque, auditor; Botchie Canicula, PRO; Dorie S. Bernabe, Edna Felipe and Remedios Santelices, board members. Ex-oficio board member is Dr. Romeo Gutierrez, immediate past president.

The new officers and members of the PHSI board will be inducted into office in the afternoon of April 28 at Mett's Plant Arts Center at the Manila Seedling Bank, Quezon City. Inducting them will be former Sen. Joey Lina.

PHSI is one of the major garden societies in the Philippines that was organized in 1975. It holds its annual garden show every last week of January to early February.

Power Grower Combo Triggers Profuse Key Lime Flowering

The flowers emerged about one week from spraying with
Alfonso G. Puyat's Power Grower Combo, a special fertilizer.
LOOK at what the Power Grower Combo of Alfonso G. Puyat has done to our Key Lime grown in a plastic pail. About one week after spraying, the plant has come up with profuse flowers.
In a couple of months the fruits should be ready for picking. The Key Lime has a very special flavor and people like Dr. Rene Sumaoang of Novatech loves to squeeze the juice on fish sauce or bagoong when eating grilled tilapia or some other fish.

Key Lime is very hardy and if grown in a commercial scale, it should be a hot item for supermarkets.
Young planting materials as well as fruiting Key Lime plants are now available at the Teresa Orchard and Nursery in Teresa, Rizal. Call or text 0917-841-5477 for more info.

On Starting Your Dream Farm (Tip No.5)

(NOTE: This is another small piece of advice on Starting Your Own Dream Farm. We will post these tips in small doses so they are easier to remember and digest.)


WE remember two cousins in Metro Manila who bought their own farmland in San Juan, Batangas. One fellow is a market stall owner whom we will call Jimmy. The other is Peter who runs a gasoline station. 
Last year, Jimmy invited us to his farm some 8 years after he bought his farm to partake in the harvesting of his Longkong lanzones. Peter was also invited.
Jimmy's farm is really enviable. After paying for his farm, he immediately started developing it. He fenced the same, put up his farm house, and set up the water system. He immediately planted exotic fruit trees like Longkong, Duku, durian, rambutan, mangosteen, latexless  jackfruit and also had a thriving vegetable garden.
Obviously, Peter was very envious because he had not started developing his farm. He said he should have also started planting in his farm. He had already lost so much time!
The lesson here is: Don't Procrastinate! Start right away! Don't be afraid to commit mistakes. But make sure they are just minor mistakes.

Quantity Control: (Farming Tip No.4)

If there's such a thing as Quality Control, there is also Quantity Control which is just as important. If you are producing a certain agricultural item, visualize what the market can absorb and don't overproduce. In fact, our friend Vic who runs more than a dozen market stalls in Metro Manila and who has a farm in Batangas, says that it is better to produce a little less than the requirement of the market. Why? Well, he says, the buyer would buy even what he would normally consider as "reject." 

Saturday, April 21, 2012

Starting Your Own Dream Farm (Tip No.3)

(Every now and then we will post tips on starting your own farm project in small, easy-to-digest doses.)

What Is The Right Agri Project For You?

Check these:
1. It is something that you will love working on.
2. It is something that is suited to the environment where the project is to be undertaken.
3. It is something that you will be able to finance, either with your own money, or with borrowed money.
4. It is something that will give you the best profit.
6. It is something that is sustainable.
7. It is something nobody else is doing in your place.
8. It is something that will make use of waste materials, hence low-cost inputs.
9. It could be something that will keep the cash flowing throughout the year.
10. It could be something you could produce on rented land.
11. It could be something that requires minimal care and management.
12, It could be something that requires only little space.
13. It could be for the short term or for the long term.
14. It could be something that caters to a niche market.
15. It could be a hobby that will provide you the needed exercise.
16. It could be a project that will help you keep your sanity.
17. It could be a project you want to do on a long idle family property.
OH YES, there are endless reasons why a project is right for you.

Boosted by Power Grower Combo

THE Power Grower Combo of Alfonso G. Puyat really works wonder in enhancing the fast growth of plants like the grafted Longkong lanzones in photo at the Teresa Orchard & Nursery in Teresa, Rizal. After being sprayed with the special fertilizer formulated by Mr. Puyat, long new shoots emerged soon after spraying.
Puyat explains that when sprayed on the leaves, the plant will feel very hungry so it absorbs as much plant food in the soil as it can. That's why a lot of organic or chemical fertilizer should be applied at the root zone of the plant before spraying Power Grower Combo.
When plants of fruiting age are sprayed with Power Grower Combo, another formulation is sprayed on the leaves. It is called Heavy Weight Harvest which contains a high percentage of potassium. The potassium facilitates the transfer of the "cooked" nutrients in the leaves to the fruits so that they become bigger, juicier and sweeter.
Both formulations are applied in combination with ANAA, a plant growth regulator. Both formulations are now available at the Teresa Orchard & Nursery. Call or text 0917-841-5477.

Oysters Return to Pantal River in Dagupan City

Dagupan City Agriculturist Emma Molina and Zac B.
Sarian with a basin full of oysters from Pantal River.
Fleshy oyster grown in Pantal River using the floating raft
system advocated by City Agriculturist Emma Molina'
This is the floating bamboo raft used for raising oysters.
For many years in the past, oysters used to be an important source of income for fisherfolk in Dagupan City’s seven rivers, especially the Pantal river. But the good oyster years were overtaken by fish cages that eventually clogged the free flow of water resulting in polluted and silted river beds.
According to city administrator Vladimir Mata and city agriculturist Emma Molina (who is a fisheries expert), the rivers were filled with fish cages that numbered no less than 1,600 which were a goldmine for the fish farmers and their financiers. But they wrought havoc to the environment.
The oyster farms in Pantal river were totally displaced in 1987 by the fish cages where fingerlings of bangus and other species were cultured for a period of three months. Although the cost of putting up and maintaining the cages for a three-month growing cycle needed a capital of P500,000, the returns were very attractive. According to Emma Molina, the profit ranged from 25 to 36 percent. At 25 percent, that’s P125,000 net profit from one cage of 300 square meters in less than 100 days,  and if it is 36 percent, that’s P180,000!
Because of the big return on investment, the river was abused. More fish cages were erected than ccould be maintained for the river’s good health. Because the fish have to be fed with commercial ration, the excess feeds polluted the river. Siltation ensued. According to city administrator Mata, the river used to be six meters deep but by 2008, many portions of the river were only three meters deep.
Something had to be done. The city council passed an ordinance that would demolish the fish cages in the river. Of course, the operators and their financiers did not like the idea because that meant the loss of their profitable income. Many of the fish farmers were financed by 14 big financiers, each financier may be funding at least 30 fish cages. One could just imagine the income from that number of cages considering that the profit margin was from 25 to 36 percent.
So it was not easy for the city authorities to eject the fish cages. But with the political will of the city council, the fish cages were finally demolished in 2010. The next agenda was to dredge the river. The dredging involved a really big amount, at least P6 million, but it was done. The dredged materials were used as landfill  in the low-lying coastal barangays to the joy of the residents there.
The rehabilitated river once again came to life and the endemic species once again thrived. One species that is being revived now is oysters. According to Emma Molina, the city agriculturist who is a fisheries expert, a new system of growing oysters is being introduced in Pantal river. This is the so-called floating raft system.
She explains that in the traditional system of growing oysters, bamboo poles were erected in the river where the spats or baby oysters attached themselves. That’s not good, according to her because the bamboo poles impeded the free flow of water. Under the new system a bamboo raft is used. The raft floats and strips of rubber (the interior of truck tire) are attached under the raft. The spats attach themselves to the rubber strips about two meters long. In about eight months the oysters would be ready for harvesting. What’s good with oysters is that they don’t need commercial feed. Initial trials in growing oysters in floating rafts have been very successful. The cultured oysters are very fleshy.
The fisherfolk will soon be allowed to make their own bamboo rafts for culturing oysters. Also, bangus and other species (samaral, pompano, seabass) and others will be cultured but the area for such projects will be limited to 26 hectares out of the total river area of 649 hectares.
Because of the cleaned up rivers, the small fisherfolk who fish by hook and line are very happy these days. According to Emma Molina, there are no less than 2,000 such small fishers who catch the endemic species like snapper, samaral, lapulapu, a species locally known as Bulasi, and others. The small fishers are happy because now when they go fishing from 10 in the morning up to 3 in the afternoon. In five hours they usually catch 6 to 9 kilos of assorted species at least worth a thousand pesos. Before, there were only about 1,000 fishers who caught fish by hook and line and they used to catch only three kilos in a period of five hours.
Now it is very obvious that if we protect the environment, the good old days would come back to benefit more number of people. And that could only be done if there is the political will to do it.

Start Your Dream Farm (Tip No.2)

(This is the second tip on Starting Your Dream Farm, a series that we will post in this blog every now and then in small, digestible doses.)

If You Don't Have Land Of Your Own, RENT!

YOU say you are not farming now because you don't have your own land? That should not prevent you from doing your own brand of farming. You can borrow or rent land!

  We remember a number of vegetable growers in Batangas, Laguna and other provinces renting the land they are cultivating. One very good example is Benito Magaling of Lipa City. A few years back, he rented 2 hectares from a land reform beneficiary and used it for growing Django pepper from East-West Seed Company.

The rent was just about P7,500 per hectare per growing season - May to January. And do you know how much he made? After planting the two hectares in June, he started harvesting by August. By September, he was harvesting 2 tons every day which he sold to a big dealer in Divisoria and some big buyers in the Tanauan market in Batangas. From September to January, he harvested every day at least P100,000 worth of finger peppers!

There are several advantages in farming on rented land. One is that you don't pay for the realty tax. Another is that you can rent new land season after season so that you avoid the build up of harmful diseases as well as pests as a result of continuous planting in one place.

Of course you usually plant short-term crops on rented land.

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Fusarium Wilt Threat Is Real

Emma Ramillete and Dr.Agustin Molina posing with resistant
Cavendish variant from Taiwan at Lapanday Rarm in Callawa,
Davao City
The Fusarium Wilt disease of Cavendish banana that has been played up in the media is a real threat to the multi-million dollar banana export industry in the Philippines.
This is stressed by Dr. Agustin Molina, the senior scientist of Bioversity International, a non-government agency based in Rome that is particularly interested in promoting the banana industry worldwide.
He e-mailed thanking us for what we have written about Bioversity’s program in in collaboration with the Philippine Council for Agriculture, Aquatic and Natural Resources Research and Development (PCAARRD) and the Bureau of Agricultural Research (BAR) of the Department of Agriculture. “Your articles, I am sure, will be read by international audience since Fusarium Wilt Tropical Race 4 (TR4) is a very important global concern. It is still in the mind of the global banana industry how Panama Wilt devastated the banana industry  in Central America in the ‘50s. It is called Panama Wilt because the first epidemic was in Panama in 1918.”

Dr. Molina said that the wilt disease that attacked that time was the Race 1 which affected the Gros Michel variety which was a favorite of the growers as well as the consumers in the world market. The Gros Michel produced big bunches and the fruits were sweet. It also had good transport quality. But then it was susceptible to the disease. Eventually, Gros Michel was replaced with Cavendish which was resistant to the Fusarium Wilt Race 1.
The Panama disease eventually spread to neighboring countries like Costa Rica, Honduras, Guatemala and Colombia. Dr. Molina said these were the major banana producers at that time. Banana was such an important export crop in these countries, a major source of their foreign currency.  And that’s probably the reason why these countries were called Banana Republics.
He said that it took the big banana companies 40 years of grappling with disease devastations and moving from one place to another to establish plantations. The big companies included United Fruits (now  Chiquita), Dole and Del Monte. They were forced to  change Gros Michel in the late ‘50s with Cavendish which was resistant to Fusarium Wilt Race 1.
Now, the TR4 is threatening not only the Cavendish in the Philippines but also other varieties like Lakatan and Latundan. The disease is a big threat if not given the right R&D attention for its mitigation, according to Dr. Molina. He says that TR4 first appeared in Taiwan in the late ‘60s causing lots of damage in the ‘70s  and ‘80s. Then it appeared in Malaysia and Indonesia in the early ‘90s, making them uncompetitive.
Of course, the threat is not only on the Philippines. India (the biggest banana producer but mostly for domestic use) is also worried just in case the disease gets into that country. So with the growers in Central America and in Africa.

Lechon Festival in Dagupan - April 24, 2012

Lechoneros from different parts of the country will showcase their roasting talents using 30 lechon piglets grown from using Feedpro Natural Hog Feeds at the First Dagupan's Best Special Lechon National Open Competition on Tuesday, April 24, at the Dagupan City Plaza. This was announced by Jeremy Yap, marketing officer of ProNatural Feed Corporation.
Following a successful pre-event held last March, the Dagupan City government decided to create this bigger lechon competition coinciding with their 2012 Bangus Festival with the aim of further promoting natural hog raising and sustainable livelihood opportunities in their city and nearby towns.

Indigofera Pellets Good For Goats

Art Almeda feeding an Anglo Nubian milker with pelleted
Indigofera. This increases milk yield and saves on feed cost.
In livestock production, whether it be pigs, cattle or goats, the dream of practically every raiser is to save on feeds. After all, about 70 percent of the cost of production is attributed to feeds.
Now, our good friend Rene Almeda of Alaminos Goat Farm in Laguna, is excited about the new development in feeding their goats, particularly the dairy goats of Saanen and  their crosses with Anglo Nubian. He reports that since they have been feeding their dairy goats with pelleted concentrate feeds that contain 30 percent shredded Indigofera leaves, their goats have been giving them more milk every day and the cost of feeds consumed is also significantly reduced.
Rene and his two sons, Arthur and Toti, operate one of the most sophisticated goat farms in the country today. They have about a thousand animals of both dairy and meat types. Their dairy goats, purebred Saanen and their crosses with Anglo Nubian, number more than 200 while the meat type animals (Boers and crosses) are more than 600.
In their desire to reduce feeding cost but at the same time maintaining balanced nutrition for their animals, the Almedas established a few years back what they call the Alaminos Salad Garden which is not salad for humans but for their goats. Their aim is to assure enough supply of nutritious green forage for their animals every day.
How? The salad garden consists of 30 long plots of forage grasses and leafy shrubs from which they cut the greens that are fed to their goats. One plot is harvested every day so that after 30 days, the first plot would be ready for harvesting again. Their favorite green feed is Indigofera, a legume that contains a high 26 percent crude protein.
Now the grasses and legumes are not only fed to the animals as fresh green forage. The leaves are shredded and then pelletized together with other ingredients such as palm oil cake, fine rice bran, molasses, soya and a little salt and calcium.
The Almedas are fortunate because there is an ongoing research collaboration between the Bureau of Agricultural Research and  Alaminos Goat Farm regarding the feeding of the dairy animals with pelletized malunggay leaves to find out if malunggay will induce the dairy goats to produce more milk.
So as to validate his suspicion that Indigofera could be excellent for feeding milking goats, he engaged the help of Remedios Acasio of the Bureau of Animal Industry so that they conduct a parallel research on feeding the animals with pelletized shredded Indigofera leaves.

The results excites Rene no end. He reports that since they have been feeding their goats with pelletized Indigofera, the animals’ milk production significantly increased. Before they started feeding with pellets, their goats only gave them 120 liters a day. Now they are giving 150 to 160 liters daily.
Rene is all the more excited because they also reduce the cost of feeds by using pellets. Rene explains that usually one dairy goat is given 2.5 kilos of concentrate every day. When the pellets don’t contain Indigofera, the 2.5 kilos consumed daily cost P37.50. But if 30 percent shredded Indigofera leaves is added, the cost of feed consumed by each milking goat is P28.12 only. That’s a saving of about 25 percent on concentrate feed.

Tips On Starting Your Dream Farm (No.1)

(NOTE: Starting with this posting, we will bring to you practical tips on Starting Your Own Dream Farm.  We will do it not every day but every so often. We will put a number in each advice. This should be helpful to beginners as well as long-time farming practitioners.)

Number 1: Don't Wait For Your Retirement Before You Start Farming.

It's wise to start developing your own farm while still young. How young? The younger the better. We remember a fellow who started planting lanzones in his family's coconut farm in San Pablo City many years ago while we were working in Los Banos. He was only 17 then but was farsighted enough to start planting his favorite fruit trees.
There are advantages in starting farming while you are still young. You will know early in life the realities in farming. There are risks in farming but these risks should keep you on your toes. Mistakes are usually inevitable but if you are still young, there's enough time to make amends. Mistakes can make you more creative in your farming strategies.
We will give these farming tips in small doses. They are easier to remember that way.


SOLOMON CARPIO of Davao City is going into commercial production of the native Siling Labuyo for a big manufacturer of sauces and condiments. He has already planted one hectare with a target to plant a total of five hectares in his farm in Marilog district.
He is producing the Siling Labuyo for Marigold Commodities, the maker of the famous Mama Sita sauces and condiments. Siling Labuyo is about the smallest among hot peppers in the country. This has the hotness and flavor desired by Mama Sita. Aside from Siling Labuyo, he plans to grow black pepper also for Mama Sita.
According to Mrs. Clara Lapus of Mama Sita, their company needs big volumes of sour native guava, achuete, small-seeded peanut, sour tamarind, etc.
By the way, Mr. Carpio already produces commercial volumes of high-value vegetables like bell pepper. He is looking for big buyers of bell pepper and other crops he is growing because the Davao market can't absorb all his present production.
Mr. Carpio was born in Davao but he traces his roots to Paoay, Ilocos Norte. His parents migrated to Davao many years ago. He is a business administration graduate from UP in Diliman. He used to work in Quezon City but he got tired of Metro Manila's monstrous traffic so he decided to go back to Davao to do his own brand of farming.

Monday, April 16, 2012

Asking for ZAC's Farming Advice?

We receive a lot of messages (texts, email, phone calls) asking for advice or something else. Many don't give their names and addresses, some just ask what projects are most profitable for them, etc.
Just like an e-mailer who just said he is a new parent with a 21-year-old wife and a new child. He didn't give his name and address where he lives or where to put up his project (city, province or elsewhere). It's not easy to give the right advice without knowing the circumstances he is in and other relevant info about him.

SO HERE'S OUR ADVICE: Please give your Mobile Phone No. so I can respond immediately to your queries  even if I am out in the field (which is very often). If you want a face-to-face encounter, text me. You might want to see me at Teresa Orchard & Nursery in Teresa, Rizal so we can know each other better. But make an appointment. We prefer to meet just a few people at a time, not more than five. We can provide some practical advice and maybe learn from you also. There's no fee for seeing us. 

We prefer to meet people in the afternoon of Saturdays and Sundays. Text or call us at 0917-841-5477. This is Zac B. Sarian, agriculture editor of the Manila Bulletin and a hands-on farmer.

Sunday, April 15, 2012

Urea Aborts Undesired First Watermelon Fruits

The watermelon experts will tell you that the first couple of fruits of the watermelon plant should be removed because it is better to retain the third or fourth fruits. The experts don't tell how to remove the first fruits. The assumption of most is that they could be clipped with the use of scissors.
In Oton , Iloilo, the growers have a practical way of eliminating the first fruits. They water the plants with a solution of urea fertilizer. Because urea is nitrogenous and it is for vegetative growth, applying the same on newly fruiting plants will abort the small fruits.
That's more practical than using scissors to remove the small first fruits. You are fertilizing the plants and removing the fruits that are not desired to develop. It could mean additional labor cost to remove by hand the fruits, especially when one is growing thousands of plants.

Salvador Guevarra Goes To Teresa

Salvador Guevarra of Sta. Ana, Pampanga, is a retiree who is very much interested in farming. He and his wife Angela, son Alvin and granddaughter Arella, recently visited Teresa Orchard & Nursery in Teresa, Rizal. They were really excited about the Mama Sita banana and the Indian black pepper (Paniyur).
The Mama Sita is in fruit in Teresa today and they were very much impressed by its big bunch and stout pseudostem (trunk). They were likewise excited about the Paniyur black pepper growing on mahogany trees and bearing fruits.
They got planting materials of Mama Sita, Paniyur, Abiu, Golden Queen and Peach mangoes, etc.
They were truly glad to see the orchard and nursery. They were able to taste Abiu and a new banana variety from Honduras called FHIA 17 which produces big fruits that are very nice to eat. All the members of the family love fruit trees and farming in general although they reside in Manila. 

Friday, April 13, 2012

ZAC Invited to Syngenta Demo Day in Singapore

We have been invited to attend  the Syngenta Crop Demonstration Day on April 26 at the Singapore Expo Convention and Exhibition Centre. The event aims to "bring to life Syngenta's new global integrated strategy and provide tangible examples of how it will operate in practice."
The afternoon will begin with an overview of the agricultural challenges we face and how Syngenta is addressing these challenges by helping farmers grow more from less. The attendees will then be invited to tour a series of crop exhibits that will show how Syngenta is innovating to provide an even better, more comprehensive offer in the company's key global crops like rice, corn, soybean, cereals, vegetables, specialty crops, sugarcane, oilseeds and lawn and garden.
The invitation was extended to us by Cindy Lim, Community and Media Relations Manager of Syngenta.

Grafted Longkong Sprayed With Power Grower Combo

Note the broad young leaves, thanks to Puyat's
Power Grower Combo.
These are grafted Longkong lanzones at the Teresa Orchard & Nursery in Teresa, Rizal that were sprayed with the Power Grower Combo formulated by Alfonso G. Puyat, an economist and agricultural researcher-inventor. Note the big new leaves that emerged soon after they were sprayed with Mr. Puyat's formulation.

The Power Grower Combo consists of powdered single fertilizer nutrients applied in combination with Puyat's own improved ANAA, a plant growth regulator.
Power Grower Combo facilitates the rapid uptake of plant nutrients in the soil. It is recommended therefore that adequate organic and non-organic fertilizers be applied within the root zone of the plants.
Mr. Puyat has another formulation for profuse fruit production. This is applied on fruiting trees that were earlier sprayed with Power Grower Combo. Called Heavy Weight Harvest, it facilitates the transport of the "cooked" plant food in the leaves to the flowers and developing fruits.
Mr. Puyat's formulations are effective on rice, corn, vegetables, fruit trees and practically every crop.

Resistant Cavendish for Small Farmers

Dr. Agustin Molina and Dr. Emily Fabregar checking the fruits of
resistant Cavendish variant in the Lapanday banana plantation in
Callawa, Davao City. Two variants have been observed to be resistant
to the Fusarium Wilt disease. These variants will be tissue-cultured for
growing in small farmer's fields in Mindanao under a new project of
Bioversity International and the Bureau of Agricultural Research.
Two banana varieties developed in Taiwan that have been observed to be resistant to Fusarium Wilt will soon be disseminated to small-scale banana farmers in the Davao provinces whose Cavendish bananas are being attacked by the wilt disease.
The new project is a collaboration of the Department of Agriculture’s Bureau of Agricultural Research (DA-BAR) and Bioversity International (BI) represented by Dr. Agustin B. Molina, it’s senior scientist and coordinator of its livelihood programs  in Asia-Pacific.
The project is in response to the increasing threat of the Fusarium Wilt disease in Cavendish banana plantations, both in the large scale farms as well as in the farms of small-scale independent growers.
Lately, the government authorities as well as the big plantation owners themselves have been alarmed by the increasing incidence of infections by the disease in the banana plantations in the Davao provinces and other Cavendish growing areas in Mindanao.

Naturally the different stakeholders are getting alarmed. After all, Fusarium wilt is a very serious banana disease. In the early 1950s the disease wiped out the vast banana plantations in Panama planted with the Gros Michel variety. This was eventually replaced with Cavendish which was found to be resistant to Fusarium Wilt Race 1. 

But there is a Fusarium Wilt that attacks Cavendish, the Tropical Race 4.The TR4 ravaged the Cavendish plantations in Taiwan which was one of the major producers of Cavendish banana for export to Japan and elsewhere in the '70s and ‘80s. Then in the early '90s TR4 prevented the growth of the Cavendish banana industry in Indonesia and Malaysia.
What makes the current Fusarium Wilt in the Philippines (called Tropical Race 4 or TR4) more alarming is that it also infects other locally grown varieties such as Lakatan and Latundan. Only Saba and Cardaba seem to be tolerant.
Under the project with a budget of P16-million, two varieties observed to be resistant to Fusarium TR4 will be planted in at least 20 pilot areas consisting of infected farms of at least four hectares per farmer. The varieties to be planted are GCTCV 119 and 219 that were developed in Taiwan and introduced in the Philippines by Bioversity. GCTCV stands for Giant Cavendish Tissue Culture Variant. Dr. Molina explained that among tissue-cultured plants there are some variants that possess some desirable characteristics.
These variants have been field tested in recent years at the Lapanday Cavendish plantation in Callawa, Davao City. It was Dr. Molina who convinced the owners of Lapanday to field test the said variants in places where Fusarium infection was observed. And of the different varieties tested, No. 119 and No. 219 have proven to be unaffected by the disease even if they were planted near the infected plants that have died.
What’s good about No. 119 and 219 is that the fruits are well accepted in the world market, especially in Japan. Dr. Molina said that the fruits of the variants are sweeter than the standard varieties, and that is a quality preferred by the Japanese buyers.
The only not so major disadvantage, Dr. Molina said, is that the bunches are a little smaller than the Grand Naine and Williams varieties that are currently grown in the Philippines. The plants also mature about two weeks later. But then what is more important is that they are not affected by Fusarium Wilt and the fruit quality is very good.
To make sure that the planting materials that will be grown in farmers’ fields are disease-free, they will be multiplied by means of tissue-culture. Lapanday, through Dr. Emily Fabregar, will be doing the tissue culturing of materials from disease-free mother plants.
The farmers will be involved in the hands-on operation in culturing the banana plants, from land preparation, seedling hardening, fertilization, irrigation and drainage under the guidance of technicians from the Department of Agriculture as well as by Dr. Molina himself. But the farmer has to be actively involved, including having to pay for the fertilizer, so that he will have a strong sense of participation.
The result of the pilot testing will showcase the improved practices that could mitigate the onslaught of the Fusarium disease. The technologies involved will then be disseminated to the rest of the Cavendish growers, particularly the small-scale independent growers.
Dr. Molina said that the independent growers play a major role in the production of bananas for the export market. In fact, they are responsible for producing 50 percent of the Cavendish exports today.

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Big Banana From Honduras

NILDA MONTILLA of Teresa Orchard & Nursery shows an opened ripe fruit of a big banana variety from Honduras, courtesy of Dr. Agustin Molina of Bioversity International who introduced the same in the Philippines.
The plant could produce a bunch that could weigh 30 kilos or more. One hand that consisted of 13 pieces weighed 2.75 kilos. That means 5 pieces weigh more than a kilo!
The flesh is fine-textured with mild sweetness which could be good for diabetics and nondiabeticts, of course.
Dr. Molina suggests that you slice the fruit and place atop a cup or bowl of ice cream. He swears it tastes great. It is also great for making fruit salad together with other ingredients. The good thing about it is that the slices don't oxidize or turn brown after they are exposed to air.  It is also excellent for making banana cake, according to Dr. Molina. 
Moreover, it could be made into banana chips. A bunch could be turned into a lot of banana chips.
We are planting a few suckers in Teresa and we will tell you about our observations in the future. Actually, there are three varieties from Honduras which are all big varieties. They are FHIA 17, FHIA 18 and FHIA 25. FHIA means Fundacion Hondurena de Investigacion Agricola.

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

A Peep Into Winning Vegetable Garden

Joshua Maniquis of Almario Elementary School with fruiting
Pipinito at the garden in Jose Rizal Elementary School during
the Community Day on April 11, 2012.
Attendees at the Community Day at the Jose Rizal Elementary
School's vegetable garden look at the pechay grown in discarded
tires and plastic containers from the junk shop.
The above are two of the photos taken at the Community Day at the Jose Rizal Elementary School in Tondo Manila. The Community Day is in connection with the Oh My Gulay Tanim Sa Kinabukasan (OMG-TSK) project on vegetable gardening in public elementary schools. This is a project of Sen Edgardo Angara's Oh My Gulay Project in tandem with the East-West Seed Company.
Eight elementary schools in Tondo are participating in this project aimed at encouraging school children to love eating vegetables as well as to teach them the basics of scientific vegetable growing.
Among the vegetables grown in containers as well as in the ground are pechay, Pipinito cucumber, okra, Morena eggplant, Diamante Max tomato, Himala upo, mustard and others.
The Oh My Gulay is supported by fund donors, most of them profitable corporations or foundations like the BDO Foundation and others.

Best School Vegetable Garden

The vegetable garden of Jose Rizal Elementary School in
Tondo, Manila, was adjudged the Best Vegetable Garden
under the Oh My Gulay - Tanim Sa Kaunlaran project  in
eight public elementary schools in Manila. Showing the
winner's certificate is Dr. Estela Liwanag, principal of the
Jose Rizal Elementary School. The awarding was made during
a Community Day on April 11, 2012 attended by teachers,
students, parents, DepEd officials East-West Seed staff and other

visitors. East-West Seed Company provided the seeds and
 technical supervision of the project
Gerry Galgo and Romulo Marundan of East-West Seed Co. show
trays of eggplant and tomato seedlings displayed during the
Community Day at the Jose Rizal Elementary School in Tondo.
A Community Day was held on March 11, 2012 at the Jose Rizal Elementary School in Tondo, Manila, to show to the public the vegetables grown by students in an urban setting undertaken under the auspices of the Oh My Gulay project of Sen. Edgardo Angara in tandem with the Tanim sa Kinabukasan project of East-West Seed Company.
Eight elementary schools participated in the OMG-TSK project where vegetables are grown in plots as well as in containers. The object is to promote the interest of school kids to plant and eat vegetables for their own good health.
Under the scheme, donors of funds provide the cash requirements of the project. Then the students, under the guidance of East-West technicians do hands-on gardening.They plant improved varieties and production technologies to produce bountiful harvests.
At the end the program during the Community Day, awards were given to winners in various competition categories. These included outstanding student gardeners, best garden design, best adoptors, etc. There was also a competition in cooking vegetables. The winners brought home with them gifts in cash and in kind.

Ship Captain Into Farming

Photo shows Democrito Java, a ship captain who is into his own brand of farming. He is posing here with a fruiting Paniyur, an Indian black pepper variety at the Teresa Orchard & Nursery which he visited lately, The mahogany tree serves as the host tree. He will be planting a lot of  this variety which produces long fruit spikes. 

Dick has bought a farm in Bataan where he has been planting exotic fruit trees and many other crops and farm animals.

Green Alugbati Grown From Seed

THIS is a photo of green alugbati grown from seed at the Teresa Orchard & Nursery in Teresa, Rizal. The initial leaves are very big and the branches that are newly emerged are very tender. They new shoots are just right for harvesting. They could be stir-fried with minced garlic and salt to taste.
Alugbati is a nutritious vegetable which is the favorite of many Ilonggos. The shoots could be used in cooking mungo. 
Aside from seed, alugbati is easily propagated by means of cuttings. 

Monday, April 9, 2012

Power Grower Combo Boosts Pomegranate Growth

THESE are Bhagwa pomegranate which are grown in rubberized containers at the Teresa Orchard & Nursery. These amazingly grew fast in the last two weeks, putting up new shoots and the leaves are very healthy.
This could be the result of spraying with Alfonso G. Puyat's Power Grower Combo about two weeks ago. This is a formulation of single nutrient elements (NPK) plus ANAA, a plant growth regulator.
Before spraying, the plants were applied with about half kilo each of Durabloom organic fertilizer. According to Mr. Puyat, spraying the leaves will make the plant very hungry so that it will take up a lot of plant nutrients from the soil. These are "cooked" in the leaves through photosynthesis for immediate use by the plant. See also the effect of Power Grower Combo on tomatoes at the Teresa Orchard & Nursery in the postings below.

Our Old Tomato Plants Looked Like This

This is how our old tomato plants looked
like last March 24 before they were defoliated
and sprayed with Alfonso Puyat's formulation

of Power Grower Combo..Photo taken 
by Zac B. Sarian on March 24, 2012.
This is how our old tomato plants looked like on March 24, 2012 when we decided to remove all the old rusty leaves and then sprayed them with Alfonso G. Puyat's Power Grower Combo, a plant growth enhancer that contains single elements of fertilizer in combination with ANAA, a plant growth regulator.
These plants were planted early December 2011 in our own vegetable garden at the Teresa Orchard & Nursery. They have been providing us with a lot of fruits since late February 2012. 
What we did was to remove all the rusted leaves and then sprayed Mr. Puyat's formulation for hastening plant growth.
The result is amazing. The plants 14 days after spraying look very young and healthy again. We expect to harvest from them at least a couple of months more. Of course, before spraying, we applied a handful of Durabloom Organic Fertilizer at the base of each plant.
You can see the effect of our treatment in the posting below.

Old Tomato Plants, Young Again

These tomato plants look very young and vigorous
 again, thanks to  Power Grower Combo. Photo taken
April 7, 2012 at the Teresa Orchard & Nursery.
This is how our old tomato plants looked like last April 7, 2012 when the photo was taken.
These are really old because they were planted early last December 2011. We have been harvesting a lot of fruits since late January. Just before March 24, 2012 they looked really old, most of their leaves have become rusted.
So we decided to remove all the drying leaves and just left the few green leaves at the top. Then we sprayed Alfonso G. Puyat's Power Grower Combo. Lo and behold! The plants look completely invigorated now. And they are coming up with fruits and  flowers again.
Puyat's Power Grower Combo works great on practically every crop. According to him, the sprayed plants feel very hungry so they take up a lot of nutrients from the soil, resulting in their renewed vigor. 
Puyat has another formulation for the promotion of heavy fruiting. It is called Heavy Weight Tandem. A jackfruit treated with the two formulations produced more than 100 fruit. It was earlier featured in this blog and in Panorama Magazine on April 1, 2012.
See how our tomato plants looked like before they were defoliated in the posting above.

Saturday, April 7, 2012

Pangasius People With Indian Black Pepper

These are some of the attendees of the Pangasius Congress in Antipolo City who visited the Teresa Orchard and Nursery at the end of their conference. They came all the way from Northern Luzon down to Cagayan de Oro in Mindanao. Here they are posing with fruiting Indian black pepper growing on a mahogny tree. The Indian black pepper produces long fruit spikes. Planting materials are available in big quantities in Teresa.

Pangasius People Visit Teresa Orchard & Nursery

The attendees of the National Pangasius Congress held in Antipolo City last March 30-31 visited the Teresa Orchard & Nursery in Teresa, Rizal as an extra activity at the end of the Congress. The group numbering over 30 people from Cagayan Valley down to Cagayan de Oro in Mindanao joined the farm tour.
In photo are some of the visitors led by Mercy Parreno (center), the head of the DTI in Rizal province. They are posing with the Mama Sita banana in fruit. At right is Dorecita Delima, assistant regional director of DTI in Mindanao.

Estimating Rice Yield, Bagatsing Way

Manuel S. Bagatsing of Kahariam Organic Farm in Brgy. Calamias, Lipa City, has a practical way of estimating his rice yield. He threshes the grains from one square meter and then weighs them. If the grains weigh 600 grams, he concludes that the yield per hectare (10,000 sq.m.) would be 6,000 kilos or 6 tons.

Bagatsing produces organic rice for seed as well as for commercial rice. He has a 14-hectare organic farm where he also produces a lot of vermicast using horse manure as the main feed for his earthworms.He can be contacted at 0918-854-8668.

Friday, April 6, 2012

Camote Eater: Pat Faylon of PCAARRD

THE previously much-maligned Camote or sweet potato is being recognized as the healthy food today, more healthy than rice. The fellow who would tell you this is no less than PCAARRD  Executive Director Patricio S. Faylon. PCAARRD is Philippine Council for Agriculture, Aquatic and Natural Resources Research and Development, an agency of the Department of Science and Technology.

Dr. Faylon confesses that he eats camote every day instead of rice. He says camote is so easy to cook. He just microwaves it, and in two minutes the root is cooked.

In many instances we also eat camote. We steam the sliced roots half an inch thick. Sometimes we cook it in the Turbo oven. Tastes very good.

Eating more rootcrops is one of the advocacies of the Department of Agriculture today. This could help reduce rice importation. Other rootcrops are gabi, cassava, ubi, tugui, buga, mayatbang, karot and others.

Seedless Fruit Trees In Teresa

Planting materials of seedless fruit trees are now available at the Teresa Orchard & Nursery in Teresa, Rizal. These include Seedless Atis, Seedless Duhat, Seedless Balimbing and Seedless Guava. Of course, these are in limited numbers.
Teresa Orchard & Nursery is very accessible. It is along the road, Km 36.6, about 30 meters before the Teresa-Morong boundary, to the right if coming from Antipolo City. Teresa is the town next to Antipolo. For more info, text or call 0917-841-5477.

Thursday, April 5, 2012

Two Alugbati Seed Ideas

TOTO BARCELONA of Harbest Agribusiness has two bright ideas about Alugbati, a favorite vegetable of Ilonggos. Plant the seeds and harvest the shoots while they are just a couple of inches long. Stir-fry these with salt to taste or with oyster sauce. He swears this is very delicious and nutritious too.
Another idea that Toto wants to share. Grow your alugbati to full maturity so they will bear fruit. The fruits, he says, are superb for making jam. The jam contains, according to him, a lot of antioxidants.
We have two varieties, the green and purple, in our own vegetable garden. The green variety which came from China produces extra large leaves. It readily bears fruits and the young plants from seed are very vigorous. Of course, Alugbati is easily propagated by means of cuttings.

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Lightly Salted Banana Chips

We got an email from Mrs. Clara Lapus from California who has a practical suggestion to makers of banana chips. She writes: "I have just tasted the banana chips served with tuna salad in a Cuban breakfast place in Glendale, Los Angeles, California frequented by Pinoys. Instead of sweetened chips, banana was very lightly salted and sliced longitudinally. With all the diabetic scare, it might be good for banana chip makers to consider changing their formula for banana chips."
Mrs. Lapus and Dr. Bartolome Lapus are the owners of Marigold Commodoties which manufactures the ubiquitous Mama Sita sauces and condiments sold worldwide. She adds: "Mama Sita Foundation would like to develop more nurseries for other produce with unfilled demand such as achuete, langka, siling labuyo, early bearing coconuts, sour guava, black pepper, etc." Mama Sita Foundation, by the way, is largely responsible for introducing the Mama Sita banana which is increasingly becoming popular. The testing and development of the banana introduced from Thailand was also supported by the Philippine Council for Agriculture, Aquatic and Natural Resources Research and Development (PCAARRD) and former Sen. Ramon Magsaysay Jr.

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Tissue Culture - Boon And Bane

Tissue culture is a science-based technique of propagating certain plants fast, very fast. That's a technique used in multiplying orchids, banana and many other crops. This is the technique used in multiplying disease-free banana planting materials just like the ones grown by the big as well as small scale Cavendish banana plantations in Mindanao.
The technique of using tissue-cultured planting materials was also used to rehabilitate the Lakatan banana plantings in Cagayan Valley and other parts of Northern Luzon which were ravaged by the Banana Bunchy Top Virus. The Philippine Council for Agriculture, Aquatic and Natural Resources Research and Development (PCAARRD) teamed up with Bioversity International to come up with a protocol of procuring the tissue-cultured Lakatan from a big tissue-culture laboratory in Davao City.
The tissue-cultured plantlets were air-shipped to Manila which were eventually brought to the province where they had to be hardened in a nursery up to the time they were ready for planting in the field. That's a cheap way of bringing the planting materials to the area where they were to be planted. The project has been successful in reviving the Lakatan banana industry in Northern Luzon, once again making available to local consumers good quality Lakatan bananas.

TISSUE CULTURE COULD BE A BANE - While tissue-culture offers tremendous benefits, it could be a bane if undertaken improperly. It could be the fastest means of spreading disease in banana as well as in other crops. How? Well, if the source of the material to be tissue-cultured is disease-infected, the resulting tissue-cultured plantlets will carry the disease. Since tissue culture could produce thousands if not millions of plantlets tremendously fast, the disease could spread super fast.
 So what is the solution? Dr. Agustin Molina, top man of Bioversity International in this region of Asia-Pacific and Oceania, says that it is very important that the source of tissue-cultured material should be extremely clean. And that is the reason why the material to be tissue-cultured should be tested for any disease infection. Any infected material should be discarded.

Sweet Guyabano in Teresa

Sweet Guyabano seedlings are now available at the Teresa Orchard & Nursery in Teresa, Rizal. With proper care, the trees will bear fruit in two to three years.
Also available are grafted Seedless Duhat and Seedless Atis. The fruits of the Seedless Duhat come in big clusters of small fruits.
Teresa Orchard & Nursery is very accessible. It is along the road, Km 36.6, about 30 meters before the Teresa-Morong boundary, Rizal. Teresa is the town next to Antipolo City. Text 0917-841-5477 for more info.

Monday, April 2, 2012

Banana Outscaling Project in Mindanao

Dr. Agustin Molina with resistant variants
from Taiwan planted at Lapanday plantation
in Callawa, Davao City.
Bioversity International and the Bureau of Agricultural Research of the Department of Agriculture are collaborating to outscale or plant in small Cavendish farmers' farms in Mindanao two Cavendish variants from Taiwan which have been observed to be resistant to the Fusarium Wilt TR4 currently threatening big and small Cavendish plantations in Mindanao.
Dr. Agustin Molina is the top man of Bioversity in the region and he will be working closely with DA-BAR's Nicomedes Eleazar in implementing the project starting next month. The project will run for three years and is expected to enable the farmers to continue producing Cavendish for export. The Bureau of Plant Industry will also be collaborating.
The banana variants from Taiwan that have been observed to be resistant to the Fusarium Wilt Race 4 are No. 119 and 219. These have been previously planted in areas that were infected with the disease in the Callawa plantation of Lapanday Food Corporation and have so far remained uninfected by the disease..
We visited the place last March 19 together with Dr. Molina who had earlier collaborated with Lapanday in testing the said variants, also referred to as somaclones. Dr. Molina told us that somaclones are variants in tissue-cultured plants with desirable characteristics.
The fruit bunches of 119 and 219 are a bit smaller than the conventional Cavendish grown for export but the fruits are sweeter which is one quality that most Japanese importers are looking for.
Lapanday will produce the tissue-cultured planting materials to be used for planting by the small scale farmers, most of them contract growers of the big companies.It is hoped that the farmers will be able to continue producing  export quality bananas with the two resistant variants.
DA-BAR has been helping a lot of private entrepreneurs involved in agricultural pursuits. One of the beneficiaries of DA-BAR's assistance is Antonio Arcangel of Batac City who has been developing various products from Sweet Sorghum.

Another is Engr. Gigi Zaballero of Ahcil Laboratories in Cebu who developed Antica, an organic fungicide with bactericidal properties. Zaballero was given a cash grant by DA-BAR for the field testing of Antica on rice diseases.

Apple Makopa at Teresa Orchard & Nursery

Photo shows Nilda Montilla smiling as she shows a cluster of newly harvested Apple Makopa at the Teresa Orchard & Nursery in Teresa, Rizal.
This is an imported variety that produces big maroon fruits that are fleshy and juicy.
Marcotted planting materials are available at the Teresa Orchard & Nursery. This can be planted in the ground or in a rubberized container. The fruits in photo were harvested from a plant in a container.
The marcotted planting materials will fruit within a year or two as long as it is provided with adequate fertilizers and a good growing medium. 
A well established marcot costs P250. For more info call or text 0917-841-5477. Better still, visit Teresa Orchard & Nursery. It is along the road, about 30 meters before the Teresa-Morong boundary. Teresa is the town next to Antipolo City. There is a big arch at the boundary of Teresa and Morong, Rizal.

Sunday, April 1, 2012

JUN CATAN: Congee Advocate

Our friend Gonzalo "Jun" Catan, a multi-awarded inventor and founder-owner of Mapecon, has a suggestion to cut rice consumption and help cut rice importation.

He suggests that more people should eat congee for breakfast instead of the full meal with rice. He does that everyday, adding malunggay to his lugaw. He swears that this is very healthy and economizes on rice.
Another way of cutting rice consumption is to eat sweet potato instead of rice. Some people are doing this already. One is Fred Yap, a fisheries expert who used to suffer from hypertension. After shifting to a sweet potato diet (in place of rice), he is much healthier now and his food cost has also gone down. He eats sweet potato with all the usual viands that go with rice. Another sweet potato eater is Pio Rodriguez who is a regular member of the Kaunlaran Sa Agrikultura radio program aired every Sunday morning, 4:30 to 7:30, at radio station DWWW, 774 khz on the AM band.
We, too, love to eat steamed sweet potato roots for breakfast together with the usual breakfast fare. 

Sweet Sorghum Syrup Better Than Honey?

A laboratory analysis in India shows that Sweet Sorghum Syrup is superior in some aspects to Honey. For instance, Sweet Sorghum Syrup contains 1,810 mg potassium per 100 g while Honey contains only 90 mg. Syrup contains 160 mg calcium per 100 g while Honey contains only 5 mg per 100 g. Syrup contains 11 mg phosphorus while Honey contains 4.10 mg only. Syrup contains 10 mg Riboflavin (Vitamin B2) while Honey has only 0.06 mg.

The analysis was done by CFTRI of Mysore, India and ITALAB Pvt. Ltd. of Mumbai, India.

In the Philippines, Antonio Arcangel is the only fellow who is producing Sweet Sorghum Syrup commercially. His product is now distributed in 75 outlets from Ilocos in the North up to Metro Manila. Sweet Sorghum Syrup is now used for sweetening coffee, pancake and others. It is also taken by itself. A couple of tablespoons may be taken at a time as food supplement.

Arcangel says he takes Sweet Sorghum Syrup one shot at a time. He claims it has been keeping him alert and in good condition. He can drive his car straight from Ilocos to Manila without resting along the way.
Arcangel also produces Sweet Sorghum vinegar through a protocol he has developed through the help of the Bureau of Agricultural Research. With the financial help from DA-BAR, he has also developed a protocol in making Sweet Sorghum Syrup.
He is also set to produce commercially Sweet Sorghum Sugar Powder, a new product that he developed. Previously, Sweet Sorghum juice could not be made to crystalize. Cooking it only resulted in the production of syrup. Now he can convert syrup into a powder which is said to retain the nutrient contents of the syrup. He is again expecting the support from DA-BAR to pursue his new project.
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