Thursday, May 24, 2012

JADEITE: New Ampalaya In PH

PAUL BENIGNO AQUINO (aka Bam Bam) shows off a fruit of the Jadeite ampalaya, a variety with spiny skin texture, harvested from the demo farm and training center put up by Congressman Jeci A. Lapus in Concepcion, Tarlac. Aquino is president of Micro Ventures Foundation which is helping sari-sari store owners in sourcing their merchandise. He is studying how he could include marketing of farmers’ produce in the agenda of his foundation. He was one of the visitors who attended the event at the demo farm last May 22, 2012.

KY Bush Sitao

Fruitful Bush Sitao. First harvest can be picked 45 days after planting.
Planting the bush sitao has its advantages. Unlike the viny string beans, KY Bush Sitao, a variety from Known-You Seed of Taiwan, does not require any trellis. The first fruits of this variety can be harvested 45 days after harvesting.  Plants are very vigorous, dwarf, around 50 cm tall, and well-branched. The pods are light green, tender and stringless. Harvesting can run for more than a month. It is one of the varieties showcased at the Demo and Training Center in Concepcion, Tarlac, put up by Congressman Jeci Lapus.

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Productive Life of Mungo Prolonged

Fenando Gabuyo (right) and Zac B. Sarian with mungo
pods being dried in the sun.
Mungo sprayed with Puyat's products
produce long pods and productive life
life is prolonged.

A couple who grows mungo in between the wide rows of their calamansi trees are very happy these days because they have significantly prolonged the productive life of their plants.
They are Fernando and Erlinda Gabuyo of Brgy. Tondod, San Jose City, Nueva Ecija. On the first week of January this year, they planted mungo in between their calamansi trees for two good reasons. One is that mungo can be a profitable cash crop. The other purpose is to increase the organic content of their soil. Mungo is a legume and it can fix nitrogen from the air into the soil.
At first they were very disappointed because they hardly got anything from their first harvest about 45 days from planting. Their plants were ravaged by insect pests. Worms ate the leaves and the fruits so they hardly got anything of value.
Then came Alfonso G. Puyat, an economist who has been doing his own serious agriculture research, particularly in enhancing plant growth with his own formulations, and also working on how to protect the crops from pests and diseases.
Earlier, he had developed the Power Grower Combo which is applied in combination with ANAA, a plant growth regulator that has been used by farmers for a long time now. Then he is coming out with a new formulation that he calls Silikon, also a fertilizer which would discourage plant pests to attack the plants.
Puyat encouraged  the Gabuyo couple to apply his Power Grower Combo and his Silikon to their dying mungo plants that were ravaged by pests. Lo and behold! The insects went away. They were not killed but they must have deserted the place because they probably did not like the plants. Puyat explains that his Silikon is not a poison. In fact, the material is part of what we eat every day. Probably, it just makes the plants not palatable for the insects.
What excites the Gabuyo couple is that their mungo plants have become productive again. Fernando relates that normally, the mungo plant deteriorates after a few harvests. The leaves become brown and the plants die within a short time.
After spraying the plants with Power Grower Combo and Silikon, the stems where the previous fruits were harvested produced new flowers and leaves. And since then, Mrs. Gabuyo said, three women have been harvesting the ripe pods every other day. Sometimes they are able to harvest 15 kilos of seeds which sell for P120 a kilo, or a total of P1,800 worth of seeds per harvest.
They expect to harvest from their mungo plants for at least a few more weeks.

DIANA WATERMELON and Jennifer Remoquillo

JENNIFER REMOQUILLO, national coordinator of the High Value Crops Development Program, shows two fruits of Diana watermelon harvested at the training center in Concepcion, Tarlac.

The Center was inaugurated on May 22, 2012 with a Field Day and Harvest Festival attended by farmers, government officials and other stakeholders.

Diana is a new watermelon variety distributed by Harbest Agribusiness headed by Toto Barcelona. The fruit has an attractive golden-yellow rind and uniform oblong shape. The vigorous plant is early and productive, with strong fruit-setting. Flesh is red, tender and juicy, with 12% sugar content. The rind is thin but good for shipping and storage. The average weight is 2.5 kilos.

Sunday, May 20, 2012

She Does Not Know How To Market Their Produce

Mia (she did not give her full name) has sent a comment to our blog. She says they already have a farm and they produce really delicious fruits and vegetables. She does not know, however, how to market their harvests. She asks, where can she learn to market their produce?Are there seminars she can attend?

We could help Mia more realistically if she had mentioned what are the fruits they are producing. How big is the volume? What months are these available? Where is their farm? What town or city?

We would be able to give some suggestions if we knew more details about their farm. There are many approaches in selling one's produce. If your products are of really high quality, you can approach an outlet of similar produce. Let them taste your fruits. If they will taste the superior quality of your fruits, we are sure they would like to carry your fruits. They will be happy to buy at a reasonable price.

If you have plenty of production, contact traders ahead of time. If they see your developing fruits, they would be happy to deal with you. Don't contact just one trader or stallholder so you can have a choice.

If you have a steady production of various farm crops, it might be practical for you to get a stall in the nearest market. We remember a fellow from Cagayan de Oro who is planting two kilos of kangkong seeds every three days. He got a stall in the public market manned by his wife. They don't have a problem   where to bring their daily harvest because they have their own stall. Once you have developed a loyal clientele (suki), you will have a steady number of customers that could be increasing every time.

The late David Remandaban of Tacloban City did the same. He started a small poultry project. When he was already producing more eggs than can be bought by his neighbors, he got a small stall in front of a popular grocery where he displayed his eggs complete with the sign "Farm Fress Eggs." His eggs became a favorite because they were really fresh. Later, when he was  producing various vegetables in his farm, he got a stall at the Tacloban public market manned by his wife and a daughter-in-law. They were selling in those early years at least P2,500 a day. That was a big amount in the early '80s.

Friday, May 18, 2012

Bromeliad In A Bamboo Tube

There's a practical way of growing your Neoregelia or some other bromeliads. Instead of the usual pot and potting medium, use a bamboo tube instead.

In our case, we just insert the bromeliad in the bamboo tube (Golden  Buho in our case), without any medium whatsoever. The Neoregelia in photo started as just one plant in a bamboo tube. Now it has become four. The pups were separated from their mother plant and were just inserted in the bamboo tube when they had about eight leaves.

No care whatsoever was done. The plants were simply placed under a net and made to stand between two pipes as can be seen in photo.

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Duku Lanzones in Teresa Orchard and Nursery

DUKU LANZONES in Luzon have started flowering as early as March and they are now laden with young fruitlets that are expected to be harvestable by the later part of July. Duku is a superior variety of lanzones that has a nice flavor, is sweet and without latex. The skin is thicker than those of other varieties (native and longkong) but it is easy to open by just pressing the fruit with the thumb and index finger. This Duku in photo is grown in Teresa, Rizal.

Photo shows a Duku tree at the Teresa Orchard & Nursery laden with young fruits. Grafted planting materials are available in big numbers at the Teresa Orchard & Nursery located along the road, about 30 meters before the Teresa-Morong boundary if one is coming from Antipolo. Teresa is the next town to Antipolo City. Call or text 0917-841-5477 for more info.

Seedless Guava Sprayed With Power Grower Comboo

PHOTO shows the young fruits of a Seedless Guava that was sprayed with the Power Grower Combo of Alfonso G. Puyat about two months ago.

The plant is grown in a No.16 rubberized container and provided with a growing medium that is a mixture of garden soil, Durabloom organic fertilizer and rice hull.

In about a couple of months the fruits should be ready for harvesting. When ripe, the seedless fruit has white flesh that is very fine-textured. It's very nice to eat because it is sweet and seedless.

The Teresa Orchard & Nursery in Teresa, Rizal is propagating this rare fruit tree by means of marcotting.

Take Care of Your Plants (Farming Tip No. 19)

WHATEVER you plant, don't just leave them to Mother Nature. You have to take good care of them. One grievous mistake many aspiring as well as long-time farmers make is to buy expensive planting materials, plant them, and then just wait for them to bear fruit.

No. From the very start you have to provide the necessary care. Prepare the soil properly. If you are planting fruit trees, for instance, give your plants a good headstart. Apply adequate organic fertilizer in the planting hole. Water the plants whenever needed. Provide good drainage, remove the weeds and monitor if there are pests and diseases that should be controlled.

We remember a former governor who was boasting that he had already planted a thousand grafted pummelos. He invited us to see his orchard. We were appalled at what we saw. The trees were heavily laden with fruits but they looked emaciated. There trees were suffering from gummosis and the fruits were   infested by rind borer.

We later learned from the caretaker that he had been nudging the governor to buy fertilizer but his requests were invariably ignored. When the fruits matured, most of them had dry flesh.

The lesson is, it is much better to have just a few trees that are well taken care of than having thousands that are neglected.

Tuesday, May 15, 2012


THESE are fruits of a golden variegated makopa from Thailand grown at the Teresa Orchard & Nursery in Teresa, Rizal.

The sweet and juicy fruits come in clusters of three or more fruits. But if bigger fruits are desired, only one fruit should be retained in one cluster. Makopa is ideal for planting in containers because it bears fruit even if it is grown in a drum or some other containers. Makopa is easily multiplied by means of marcotting. Marcots will bear fruit in a year or two for as long as they are well fertilized, watered regularly and protected from pests.
A limited number of marcotted planting materials are available at the Teresa Orchard & Nursery, Km 36.6, along the road, about 30 meters before the Teresa-Morong boundary coming from Antipolo. Teresa is the town next to Antipolo.

Two Types of Bt Eggplant

WHEN the Bt Eggplant will be finally commercialized, there will be two types that will be available for farmers to choose from. This was revealed by Dr. Emil Q. Javier, president of the National Academy of Science and Technology (NAST), during a press conference at a hotel in Pasay City (May 15, 2012).

One will be Hybrid Bt Eggplant while the other will be Open Pollinated Variety (OPV). The hybrid seeds will cost more but the yield will also be higher. On the other hand, the OPV is for farmers who would rather use the seeds that they harvest from their own crops. Usually, these will yield less than the hybrids but then the farmers will have the freedom to choose which type of seed to plant. He might not have enough cash to buy the more expensive hybrid seed.

This will answer the concerns of those who say that this Bt Eggplant will only benefit the multinational companies since they will be the ones producing the seeds which farmers will have to buy every time they plant. Now, the farmers will be able to produce their own Bt Eggplant seeds. 

Bt Eggplant is currently undergoing field testing in different parts of the country. Bt Eggplant will not need any chemical spraying against fruit and stem borer, the most destructive pest of eggplant.

BIOTECH COUPLE: Drs. Randy & Desiree Hautea

DR. RANDY HAUTEA and his wife Dr. Desiree Hautea are deeply committed agri biotechnology advocates.

Dr. Randy is Global Coordinator and SEAsia Center Director of the International Service for the Acquisition of Agri-Biotech Applications (ISAAA).

Dr. Desiree Hautea, on the other hand, is the regional coordinator of the Agricultural Biotechnology Support Project II (ABSPII) and project leader of the Fruit and Shoot Borer Resistant (FSBR) eggplant or Bt Eggplant. This Bt Eggplant is under field trial in different locations in the country. When finally commercialized, it will benefit a lot of eggplant farmers because they will no longer have to spray their crops against the very destructive fruit and stem borer that is the number one enemy of eggplant crops today.

ISAAA is a global non-government organization that is helping disseminate the good news about biotechnology in agriculture. It conducts trainings and seminars on the advantages of planting genetically modified crops that don't require expensive spray chemicals against certain pests. A few days ago, ISAAA conducted a seminar for local officials and farmers in Sta. Barbara, Iloilo regarding Bt eggplant and other biotech crops. Earlier, ISAAA also sponsored a "Lakbay Aral" trip for Sta. Barbara officials and agriculturists in which they visited field testing of Bt eggplant in Los Banos and in Pangasinan.

Dr. Randy Hautea could be contacted at 0917-500-5117 while Dr. Desiree Hautea's contact number is 0917-501-1729.

Monday, May 14, 2012

Farm Tour To Visit Organic Oregano Products Producer

The AANI Farm Tour will visit the Green Rescue Organic Association, Inc. in Tiaong, Quezon, on Sunday, May 20.

The organic group, headed by Dr. Estela Caringal-Tano processes various organic oregano products for human consumption as well as for farm animals.

The various oregano products include wine which is said to contain 4 percent alcohol and is said to be good for people with menstrual and prostate problems. people with poor blood circulation and those suffering from asthma. The other products are vinegar, tea and soap. Dr. Tano claims that the oregano soap can dry up pimples, removes body and foot odor, and cures skin asthma. 

Aside from oregano products, the Green Rescue Organic Association, Inc. produces also calamansi soap which is a natural skin whitener. Another is native guava soap which is claimed to smoothen the skin.

Another new product is Turmeric natural healing cream which can be applied on wounds, insect bites and psoriasis. Their turmeric multipurpose tea is also claimed to lower uric acid, and detoxifies the liver.

Then there is the multipurpose native ginger tea which can be used to make salabat as well as for cooking tinola. This is in powder form contained in a sachet.

Dr. Tano, a senior agriculture researcher based at the DA's agricultural research station in Tiaong, is a graduate of UP Los Banos and De La Salle-Araneta University. Contact her at 0916-640-7855 or 0922-805-6798.

Aside from Green Rescue Organic Association, the AANI Farm Tour will also visit the Alaminos Goat Farm in Laguna operated by Rene Almeda and his two sons Art and Totie.

Those who would like to join the tour should reserve with Jocelyn of AANI at tel. (02) 935-3146 or (02) 936-6556. 

Saturday, May 12, 2012

Always Have Ample Cash (Farming Tip No. 18)

In farming, it pays to have enough cash that's ready for emergency. There are risks in farming that have to be addressed immediately, and usually you can only respond if there is cash available.

For instance, you are growing mangoes. You have induced, say 100 trees to bear flowers. Then there is an unexpected shower. In that case, you will need to spray fungicide on the wet flowers, otherwise the flowers will be destroyed by fungus. Spraying should be done immediately, but if you don't have the cash to buy the chemicals, the flowers will just perish. 

Better still, you should not only have ample cash, you should have the necessary pesticides available anytime right in your farm so that if there is need to spray, you can spray immediately.

Friday, May 11, 2012

They Knew How To Save And They Became Rich

A fully-filled ear of Healer 101, a favorite of the Acoba
couple from Brgy. Buyon, Cauayan City, Isabela.
One farmer may start from scratch but if he knows how to save, he could become rich. That’s just what the couple Abraham and Josephine Acoba of Brgy. Buyon, Cauayan City in Isabela did.
They were just the typical high school graduates from the barrio who did not go to college after finishing their secondary schooling in 1987. They married when Abraham was just 18 and Josephine 22. And as is the usual case in the province, they became farmers.
Of course, they were  quite lucky because Abraham’s parents gave him two hectares to cultivate. And the newly married couple planted corn which is the usual crop planted by most farmers in Isabela up to this time. The province is considered the biggest corn producer in the country today.
From the start, they were also lucky with their corn crop. They were able to sell their first harvest for P3,000. That was a small fortune that time. And what did the couple do with their P3,000? They saved the amount without spending any centavo. They had an important goal. They wanted to save money which they could use to buy more land that they could use to grow more corn.
So where did they get the money for their daily sustenance? Josephine was smiling while relating what Abraham did to earn some money. He would ride his bike to the neighboring barangay to buy 100 pieces of ice candy which Abraham sold to his neighbors. He bought the ice candy at 50 centavos apiece and sold the same at 75 centavos. It took him just a few hours to sell the 100 pieces that made him richer by 25 pesos. By doing that every day, the couple made something like P750 a month which was not bad at all for one residing in the barrio.
They planted their two hectares to corn twice a year and like what they had promised to themselves, they would save everything that they earned from their corn crop. Another project became the source of their increasing requirements when their children came. They planted about 1,000 hills of Latundan banana in the periphery of their farm.
Abraham remembers that in the late ‘80s and early ‘90s, bananas were much cheaper than they are today. He said that they used to sell a hundred pieces of Latundan for only P15. Anyway, they harvested a lot of bunches so that even if the selling price then was low, they were able to earn more than what they needed for their daily upkeep. They were able to send their kids with the help of their income from bananas.
In the meantime, they kept on planting corn. Soon they were able to accumulate P30,000. That was the time when they were able to buy two hectares. As they grew more corn and saved more from the proceeds of their harvest, they continued to buy more farmland. Today, they have a total of 9 hectares which they are planting to their favorite crop. That’s not including the farms that have been mortgaged to them.
He remembers one hectare that was mortgaged to them for only P3,000 more than 20 years ago. Since the owner had been asking for additional amounts in the past several years, the amount has ballooned to P150,000. Abraham believes that the owner won’t care to recover the farm anymore. That’s all right with them.
As their savings from their corn crops grew and grew, they undertook other projects. Today, Josephine is taking charge of a grocery where their barriomates source their daily necessities. But that’s not all. Josephine is also helping Abraham in their financing operation of other farmers who are short of capital.
Today, no less than 100 farmers cultivating more than 200 hectares are depending on the Acoba couple for much of their cash requirements in planting their own corn crops. For every hectare that a farmer cultivates, the Acobas extend financing of inputs as well as cash amounting to P25,000. The borrower has seven months to pay with the proceeds from the sale of his corn harvest.
Usually, there is no problem for the corn farmer to repay his loan. After all, high yielding varieties are now available to the farmers. Many of the farmers can easily harvest six tons per hectare which at present prices are worth about P78,000. After deducting the cost of production and other expenses (shelling, drying, etc.), the farmer could still realize a profit of more than P45,000 per hectare. It is also possible that the  yield is higher than six tons because of the new hybrids that are high-yielding and don’t require spraying with expensive pesticides because they are genetically modified varieties.
One such variety is called Healer 101 distributed by Bioseed which has now become the favorite of the Acoba couple as well as the farmers that they are financing.
Healer 101 can yield as much as ten tons per hectare under ideal conditions. Normally, however, the farmers would already be satisfied with six tons or a bit more per hectare. Besides being high-yielding, it does not have to be sprayed against corn borer. Healer 101 produces big kernels that are deep orange in color, a quality that feedmillers are looking for. The ears are also fully filled to the tip.
The Acoba couple have really gone a long way from their ice candy selling days. They have become prosperous, and their big secret has been that they knew how to save and how to invest their savings. With their savings, they were able to undertake additional sources of income.
The Acobas have two daughters who are now both professionals and are both working. Generous, the elder daughter, is working with the Health Department in Isabela while the younger daughter, Jocelyn, is working for the multinational firm Nestle.
The couple Abraham and Josephine Acoba with
Zac B. Sarian at the Bioseed Office in Cauayan City.

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Give Your Pigs A Name (Tip No. 17)

KEEPING FARM records is more important than you think. When you have a record of the performance of your farm animals, you will easily know which to cull and to keep.

A friend of mine who runs a small piggery has christened all his 20 sows with names of celebrities. There's Marilyn, Miriam, Sharon, Pilita and so forth. You see their names prominently displayed in their pens. This is to give them personalized identities, our friend explained. When you do that you can make record keeping more enjoyable and convenient.

He has in fact entered all the pertinent data about each sow in his computer. When you open the record of Marilyn, you will discover what breed she is, her date of birth, first time she was bred, how many piglets she gave in the first farrowing, how many survived, when was it bred again, what medications were given her since she was set aside for breeding, and so forth.

With all the pertinent records about Marilyn, our friend knows if she is a good mother pig. He would know if it would be worthwhile setting aside some of her piglets for breeding. He would also know when to retire her.

1-Year Old Pomegranate That Flowered

THIS is the one-year-old Bhagwa Pomegranate from India that is planted in a No. 16 rubberized container that flowered about three weeks after it was sprayed with Alfonso G. Puyat's Power Grower Combo, a plant growth enhancer. See the flower and flower buds in the post before this one.

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Power Grower Combo Induces Pomegranate to Flower

Unopened flower buds of Pomegranate Bhagwa variety.
This is the opened flower of Bhagwa Pomegranate from India which
flowered after the plant, only one year old, was sprayed with Alfonso
Puyat's Power Grower Combo about three weeks earlier.
WE ARE truly excited to see flowering for the first time our one-year-old Bhagwa Pomegranate which we planted in a No. 16 rubberized container. After we sprayed the plant with the Power Grower Combo, a plant growth enhancer developed by Alfonso G. Puyat, the plant has flowered. There are several flower buds besides the first one that has opened.

The Power Grower Combo, by the way, is a powder of single plant nutrients and applied in combination with ANAA, a long known plant growth regulator. According to Mr. Puyat, when the leaves of the plant are sprayed with his Power Grower Combo, the plant feels very hungry so that it tends to take up as much nutrients as it could from the soil. That is why Mr. Puyat suggests that the soil around the base of the plant be supplied with adequate fertilizers, whether organic or chemical.

We have sprayed the Power Grower Combo on our other plants and the result is amazing. They developed new growth almost immediately.

At the moment, Power Grower Combo is not yet available in regular agri supply stores. Some stocks are available, however, at the Teresa Orchard & Nursery. Unfortunately, LBC won't accept it for delivery because it is a fertilizer. That's why orders from the provinces could not be served.

Any way, Teresa Orchard & Nursery is easy to locate. It is along the road in Teresa, Rizal, about 30 meters before the Teresa-Morong boundary if one is coming from Antipolo. Teresa is the next town to Antipolo.

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

AGRILINK - October 4-6, 2012

The 2012 edition of Agrilink, Foodlink and Aqualink will be staged on October 4 to 6 at the World Trade Center-Metro Manila. Its theme “Improving Animal Productivity Beyond Medication,” will focus on good animal health practices, inputs and technologies that contribute to sustainable farming and economic stability among farmers and the Philippines as a whole. As consumers continue to demand for safe, high-quality animal products at competitive prices, animal health becomes crucial to improving production efficiency, lowering production cost and producing good quality products. Photo shows dairy cows that are needed to augment local milk production. 

AANI Farm Tour: May 20, 2012

Art Almeda feeding Anglo Nubian goat with Indigofera pellets.
Farming enthusiasts will visit the Alaminos Goat Farm in Laguna and the Oregano Organic Farm in Tiaong, Quezon on Sunday, May 20, under the auspices of AANI. The Alaminos Goat Farm, operated by the Almeda family (Rene and his two sons Art and Totie), is considered to have the most modern dairy goat operation. It also has meat type goats, mainly Boer and Anglo Nubian. What is interesting is their Alaminos Salad Garden and their feeding their animals with Indigofera pellets. 

The Green Rescue Organic Products, on the other hand, is processing oregano and other raw materials into various wellness, beauty and culinary products. 

Those interested to join the farm tour should register at the AANI Weekend Market at the St. Vincent Seminary in Tandang Sora. You may call Jocelyn at (02) 935-3146 or (02) 936-6556. Early registrants will get their preferred seat number.

Sweet Guyabano in Teresa

Among the fruit trees in demand today is the Sweet Guyabano. This is one fruit tree that will bear fruit in three to four years from planting as long as it is given the right fertilizer, right light exposure, proper watering and drainage.
That is why the Teresa Orchard & Nursery in Teresa, Rizal, is propagating seedlings in big numbers.
Photo shows the ready-to-plant Sweet Guyabano, perfect for planting at the start of the rainy season.
We recommend the application of a kilo of Durabloom organic fertilizer mixed with the garden soil placed in the planting hole. Spraying with Alfonso Puyat's Power Grower Combo will also hasten the growth of the plants.

Choosing Your Type of Farming (Tip No. 16)

(This is another piece of advice that could help you in starting your dream farm. It was excerpted from my book titled "How to Start and Manage Your Own Dream Farm" which is now out of print.)

There Are Many Types of Farming

THERE are more types of farming than you think. And you should choose what suits your situation best.

When you want to start your own farm, ask yourself why in the first place you are going into farming. Is it for making money? Is it for relaxation? Is it for show to friends and peers? Is it for all these three reasons?

You should identify your own preferences. Some people love farm animals. Others go for fruit trees. A number would choose vegetables. Still, others would go for the unusual, the high-priced produce for a special market.

Of course you have to consider your resources. That means the money you have available for financing your farm project. Is it your own savings or is it borrowed?

Beware of borrowed capital. Farming is a very risky business. If you are just a beginner, it would be more prudent to just use your own savings. Present interest rates are much too high and you could lose your farm with just one misstep. 

Keep in mind also that some farm projects require much more capital than others. Choose one that will suit your budget.

Other resources to consider are your education, training, special skills and the people you know who could help you.

Monday, May 7, 2012

JOSELITO JOSE: Jollirice and Honeydew

JOSELITO JOSE and his honeydew melons.
JOSELITO JOSE, 50, of Brgy. Faustino, Cauayan City in Isabela is a progressive diversified farmer who plants hybrid rice and high-value crops.

One high-value crop that he is harvesting at this time (May 6, 2012) is Ilocos Gold honeydew melon. This produces fruits that are about a kilo each. The rind is golden yellow while the flesh is sweet and fine-textured. He is selling the fruits at P60 per kilo at farmgate.

Unlike other growers who just let their honeydew vines crawl on the ground, he grows his melon on trellises. The fruits are cleaner and he can also grow more plants per hectare. On a hundred square meter, as many as 200 hills can be planted. If each hill produces three kilos, that's P180 per hill, or a gross of P36,000 per 100 square meters. On a per hectare basis, that's about P360,000. In this cropping season, Joselito planted just a thousand hills. That should yield a good income to pay for his inputs for his next cropping of Jollirice, his favorite hybrid rice from Bioseed.

Joselito has been doing his own experiment in growing hybrid rice. Unlike most hybrid rice planters, he planted his last crop by direct seeding instead of transplanting. He direct-seeded Jollirice on three hectares last season. He harvested an average of 167 cavans of 54 kg. per cavan per hectare. Not bad at all. It was a profitable crop considering the fact that he saved at least P4.500 for not having to pay for planters and those who pulled the seedlings from the seedbed.

He likes Jollirice because it is high-yielding and it has about the best eating quality among hybrid varieties. The rice is soft and aromatic. The direct-seeded Jollirice was profitable for Joselito. He spent only about P40,000 per hectare in the direct-seeded rice while the yield was worth about P121,000 per hectare.

Sunday, May 6, 2012

Recruiting The Right Farm Worker (Tip No. 15)

(This is another tip for the aspiring as well as the veteran farm entrepreneur. It's a digest of a chapter in our  book titled "How To Start And Manage Your Own Dream Farm" which is now out of print.)

How To Recruit The Right Farm Worker

There's no single best way to recruit farm workers. It all depends on prevailing circumstances. Who you are, where you are, what your available resources are, and what your project is would have something to do with the way you get people to work for you.

One doctor who farms in Tanay had heard that Boholanos are hard working. So he asked a patient from Tagbilaran to look for a suitable farmhand from there. He got a newly married couple who have been farming all their lives. So far, the doctor has been very satisfied with his Boholano worker. In fact, he has asked his patient to recruit two more bachelor workers from his hometown.

Our doctor friend said that getting workers from a distant province has its advantages. First, the worker is not tempted to go home very often. So work on the farm is not disrupted.

He related that one time he had a worker from Laguna. Every time there was a barrio fiesta or whenever a relative would have a wedding or baptismal party, he would rush back home for at least a day or two. Which was not so good for the farm.

Having a married worker as a head worker on the farm is advantageous. A married worker tends to be more mature and would not think of abandoning his work anytime he wishes.

Of course, Boholanos don't have the monopoly of being hard workers. We know of reliable farmhands coming from Mindanao, Bicol, Cagayan, Ilocos and elsewhere.

Sometimes, it is a matter of good luck. The thing is, when you have recruited a good one, be sure you will be able to keep him for as long as necessary. Up to his retirement if that's possible.

One management consultant pointed out that most workers are basically good. Even if they are not very adept in the beginning, they could be developed into conscientious workers if they are treated the right way.

What is important, our friend said, is to spell out right from the very beginning what is expected of them to do. Tell them what the project is all about and make them feel they have a stake in the project. If the farm makes good, they will get their just reward.

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

How to Save a Big Amount (Farming Tip No. 14)

(Here is one more farming tip that you might want to try. We will continue posting practical tips in this web site so keep visiting.)

He Focused on Saving a Big Amount

IN early 1990s I met a fellow from Bulacan who was constructing his dream house worth P4 million. That was a big amount then. It could easily be the equivalent of P15 million today. What impressed me most was that he did not borrow any money from the bank or from someone else to build his dream house. He saved the big amount from farming in a clever but doable manner. How did he do it?

Well, Cornelio (his real first name) saved the big amount in a period of 8 years. He had a big rice mill and he got a lot of rice bran. Because he knew that rice bran is a good feed for cattle,  he decided to raise cattle with the aim in mind of eventually using his income from cattle to build his dream home on a 4,000-sqm lot.

For a start, he bought 18 top quality females for breeding, including purebred Brahmans. He multiplied his cattle as fast as possible.  Whenever a female cow gave birth, he retained the female for breeding and sold only the male as breeder or as fattener. He used the proceeds from his sales to buy pregnant cows. Not a single peso would be spent on anything else. He was that disciplined.

Eight years later in 1992, he already had 250 animals. He sold 150 of the mature ones for four million pesos and that was what he used to build his dream house. He did not have to borrow money from anybody.

A very clever and systematic way to accumulate a big amount, if you ask us.  Why not give the idea a try? You can produce something else for that big amount. Not necessarily for a house. It could be for a new car. Or a more modest amount for a new TV set. 

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

FREDDIE PASCUA: Natural Farming Practitioner

That's me, Zac B. Sarian, at right signing the book we wrote
which Freddie Pascua bought more than 12 years ago
That's Freddie Pascua at left and me, Zac B. Sarian, at right. The two of us met for the first time last April 29 when we joined the AANI Farm Tour that visited Fred's Kota Verde Farm Resort in Brgy. Marahan, Alfonso, Cavite.
Freddie is a retired Chief Marine Engineer who served an international shipping company for many years. After he retired, he decided to do his own brand of natural farming on a rented land in Cavite.
He said he had been longing to meet us because he wanted us to autograph our book which he bought more than 12 years ago. The book is "How To Start And Manage Your Own Dream Farm" which is now out of print after two reprints. 
Freddie produces vegetables (lettuce, tomato, broccoli, etc) and farm animals like mallard ducks for salted egg production, free-range chicken and naturally-farmed pigs.

Grow Something For The Rich (Tip No. 13)

(This is another strategy for those who are aspiring to make money from their farming. Keep on logging to this blog for more doable tips.)


If you are farming for money, aim at the big spenders. Grow something for the rich, the famous and the powerful. Find out what the affluent people need and produce them. It can be much easier to sell something special and expensive to people who have the money.

And what are the things rich people need? They usually need high-value products of the highest quality. These are the usually hard-to-find ones that they could use for themselves or for giving to friends or special clients who are also rich and powerful.

Examples are first class mangoes like the big and luscious carabao mango. Or the Golden Queen mango that is big and very nice to eat both as green or ripe fruit. Or the Arancillo durian and other top quality varieties. Specialty vegetables like French beans, organic lettuce and many others.

Other rich people are also looking for special farm animals and fish. Examples are purebred Boer goats and other exotic breeds, free-range chickens, turkey, wild pigs, native pigs, Arowana (high-priced aquarium fish), mini horses and many more.

If they are into ornamental plants, they might be looking for first class bonsai, mutant or variegated plants, new orchid varieties, exotic bamboos like black bamboo, and many more.

Try to figure out who are the rich, famous and powerful (even the notorious) within your territory. They could be politicians, business tycoons, highly paid professionals like doctors, lawyers, CPAs, architects, job placement operators, etc. Find out their favorite hobbies, the food they eat, their likes and dislikes. Based on your findings, produce something for them. then when you have produced what you think will interest your rich targets, find a way to reach them.

Monday, April 30, 2012

Bonsai Show at QM Circle - May 4 -14

DORIE S. BERNABE and her prize-winning bonsai
Bonsai Master Li Tiong Hong is shown hanging ribbon on
Best Bonsai In Show owned by Letty Ligon, a tamarind tree.

The Bonsai & Suiseki Alliance of the Philippines, Inc. (BSAPI) will stage its 2012 National Bonsai and Suiseki Show & Competition at the Flower Garden, Quezon Memorial Circle in Quezon City. The ceremonial opening will be held at 4 p.m., May 4, and will be open to the public from May 5 to May 14.

There will be daily seminar-workshops throughout the duration of the show. On May 5, 3 p.m., Li Tiong Hong will conduct a bonsai workshop from 1 to 3 p.m. Then from 3 to 5 p.m. he will demonstrate Bonsai Branching Techniques.

On May 6, from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m., there will be On the Spot Painting Contest open to non-pro painters.From 3 to 5 p.m. Dr. Romeo Gutierrez, James Joseph Obnamia and Fernando Sena will do the judging of the paintings.Also on May 6, 1 to 5 p.m., Robert Stevens will conduct bonsai demo/workshop, and Penjing demo/workshop.

Other speakers in succeeding days include Al Villareal on Basic Bonsai; Vic de Rona on Zen Garden;  Serapion Metilla on Indoor and Vertical Landscaping; DENR representative on PAWD CITES Regulations; Fernando Aurigue on Use of Gamma Rays in Plant Variety Development; Serapion Metilla on Innovative Bonsai; and Elmer Villareal on Guide on Selection and Appreciation of Suiseki.

The Allied Bonsai Clubs will stage a Bonsai Challenge on May 7, 3-5 p.m. 

Cultivate A Loyal Market (Farming Tip No. 12)

(This is another practical tip which we would like to pass on to aspiring farmers. It is lifted from our book "How to Start and Manage Your Dream Farm" which, unfortunately, is out of print. Anyway, we can still share the doable pointers through this web site.)


WE REMEMBER the late Osmundo Mondonedo who used to produce a lot of turkeys in Los Banos. He did not only sell plenty during Thanksgiving Day but also at Christmas time.

He developed a loyal market that bought his turkeys every December. This market consisted of advertising agencies which bought his oversized turkeys for gift-giving during Christmas.

Mondonedo explained that once an agency gave its special clients a turkey for Christmas, the recipient would expect no less than a turkey the next time around. It would not look good for an agency to do otherwise, he said. Thus, repeat orders are almost a certainty come next December.

Bal Evangelista, a businessman whose sideline is raising turkeys, has another way of grossing at least P180,000 every December from just 60 big turkeys that he raises in Antipolo.

He has mastered not only the raising of turkeys but also cooking them. He broils his turkeys and sells them ready for serving, complete with all the "works", including cranberry sauce. One ready-to-serve turkey fetches at least P3,200. And he sells them mostly to well-off friends who have placed their reservations in advance. One December, he recounted, he could not even meet the orders of his friends so he had to buy elsewhere for his own family's Christmas turkey.

My good friend Vic Yasis calls that creative marketing. It is very clever of Bal to be raising not so many turkeys so that there is no oversupply. By doing so, buyers don't usually haggle. It's a seller's market. And that holds true with many other farm products. When the supply is short, even the rejects are bought at a high price.

Sunday, April 29, 2012

Fair Warning On Starting Your Farm (Tip No. 11)

(This is the first chapter of our book, How To Start And Manage Your Own Dream Farm, which is now out of print. This could serve as fair warning to those who are intending to go into farming.)

Farming Has Its Risks and Rewards

SO YOU want to be a farmer. You want to start and develop your own dream farm.

Fine! You are not unlike so many other professionals in the city and elsewhere who dream of having a small piece of paradise.

But don't be carried away by your fantasies.

Farming has its problems as well as its rewards. Farming can be enjoyable but it can also be frustrating.

You can lose your shirt and your pants in farming. You can even lose your sanity. But farming can also make you rich not only in terms of money but also in experience and self-fulfillment.

When you decide to go into farming, be prepared to sweat and work the soil with your own hands. Be ready to spend money. Be prepared to face the fury of Mother Nture and its consequences. But you should also be prepared to reap the bounty of your hard work and share it with your loved ones.

Of course, you want your farming to be successful, rewarding and enjoyable.So keep logging on to this website. Or regularly read our columns and articles in the Manila Bulletin and its other publications like Panorama Magazine, Agriculture Magazine, Bannawag (Ilocano), Liwayway (Pilipino or Tagalog), Bisaya and Hiligaynon (Ilonggo).
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