Monday, July 23, 2012

Grow Fruit Trees In Containers!


FRUIT TREES usually require a big space to grow them. That is why people who don’t have spacious farms or gardens usually don’t think of growing their favorite fruit trees. The truth, however, is that you can grow a good number of fruit trees even if you have a limited area. The trick is to grow them in containers.

That’s what we have been doing the past many years. Not all fruit trees, however, are suitable for growing in containers. But there are many choices that could include your own favorites.

Here are our favorite fruit trees for growing in containers:

IMPORTED MAKOPA – There are at least six imported Makopa varieties that we are growing in containers. These include the Mini Makopa from Indonesia, Star Ruby, Chompupet, Golden variegated and Green Makopa from Thailand, and Apple or Maroon Makopa from Malaysia.

What’s good about these imported Makopa varieties is that their fruits taste much better then what we call the native Makopa. And all these varieties produce a lot of fruits under local conditions.

Makopa trees are easily propagated by means of marcotting and the marcots will bear fruit in just a couple of years from planting in the container. One variety, the Mini, will bear fruit in just one year or even less. The small fruits are small and seedless, coming in clusters. The fruits could be eaten fresh right from picking or they can be used to lend color in fruit salads.

VARIEGATED ORANGE – This citrus variety grows and fruits well in a container, either in a medium-size container or a large one. This is an attractive plant because of its variegated leaves that are a combination of green, cream and yellow. Even more attractive are its fruits which are a combination of yellow and green. The fruits are also juicy and sweet.

PUMMELO – The pummelo will produce full-sized fruits even if it is grown in a container. We have produced fruits of Magallanes, Vietnam varieties, Thai and Florida varieties in big and medium-size containers.

OTHER CITRUS VARIETIES – There are other citrus varieties that will produce a good number of fruits in containers. One of them is the Perante orange developed by a Filipino from Nueva Vizcaya many years back. This is a slicing type that is juicy and sweet.
Calamansi is another citrus that will bear a lot of fruits in a container. You can grow the native variety or the so-called Luz calamansi named after the late Mrs. Luz Banzon Magsaysay. This variety was introduced from Thailand by the Mama Sita Foundation. It is more juicy than the native variety because it usually has only two seeds.

Lemons and limes are also advantageous to have in the home and they can be grown even in medium-size containers. Our favorite is the Key Lime which has medium-size fruits that are very juicy and with a distinctive desirable flavor. Our own lime, the native Dayap is also nice to grow in a container for one’s home consumption. Others are Bears Lime and Persian Lime. There are also the Eureka and Meyer’s Lemons.

GUAVAS – There are a number of varieties to choose from. These include the Guapple with big fruits (several cultivars), the Vietnam variety with red flesh, the Queso de Bola popularized by Jaime Goyena, the Senorita guava and our native variety which is often used for cooking sinigang.

BERBA – This is a minor fruit that is not usually encountered in plant nurseries. This produces small, bright yellow fruits that are sweetish-sour that is agreeable to the taste. This is a small tree that you might like to include in your collection.

SWEET & SOUR TAMARIND – You can grow the sweet as well as the sour tamarind in a container. With adequate fertilization, they will bear a lot of fruits. The sweet variety could be for fresh eating while the sour variety could be used for cooking sinigang. We have been told that somebody in Bulacan is growing sour tamarind in a container. He harvests the young leaves for cooking “sinampalokang manok.”
MANY OTHER FRUIT TREES – Actually there are many other fruit trees that could be grown in containers. These include Duhat, Balimbing, Chico, Barbados Cherry, Miracle Fruit, Lipote, Bago tree, Longan, Tiessa, mangoes, cacao and others.
TIPS IN PLANTING AND GROWING – Grow your fruit trees in containers that are big enough for their proper growth. Use a growing medium that is rich in organic matter. This could be a mixture of topsoil, organic fertilizer (we use a lot of Durabloom), and rice hull. Besides the organic fertilizer, add some complete fertilizer when the tree is planted. Plant either a grafted or marcotted tree. It is best to use the large planting materials so that you don’t have to wait for a long time.
Maintain a low-growing tree by judicious pruning. Situate your plants in full sun if possible although partial shade is possible for some varieties. Fertilize regularly. Once a month apply complete fertilizer, the amount depending on the size of the tree. You may supplement your feeding with foliar fertilizer, either organic or non-organic. Make sure the growing medium does not become too dry. But don’t overwater also.

ADVANTAGES – Growing fruit trees in containers has its own advantages. For one, they are portable so they can be transferred to a desired location any time. During inclement weather such as strong typhoons, they can be evacuated to a safe place.

Growing fruit trees in containers can also be a good business. Fruit trees in containers that are fully laden with fruits fetch a high price. So why don’t you try growing some today? You can use half drum containers or the more expensive rubberized ones

Gawad Saka Winners From Rizal

A farmer and a barangay food terminal in Rizal won the Gawad Saka awards in the Calabarzon region. The farmer is Adrenico Zubiaga of Tanay who was adjudged Outstanding Rice Farmer who adopted the integrated farming system. On the other hand, the food terminal in Barangay Darangan  in Binangonan was chosen as the Outstanding Barangay Food Terminal in the whole Calabarzon region.

The two were winners in the Gawad Saka Search for Outstanding Farmers for 2011-2012. Every year, farmers and fisherfolks from Rizal province have been consistent in winning awards and recognition from the Gawad Saka in the regional and national levels.

Friday, July 20, 2012

We Need To Plant More Oil Palm

Oil Palm is a profitable crop to grow.
THE LEADERS of the oil palm industry in the Philippines are deploring the apparent lack of interest of the government in encouraging oil palm production in the country.
A paper newly released by the Philippine Palmoil Development Council, Inc. (PPDCI), states that the country’s palm oil imports from Malaysia alone have been soaring since the time President Aquino took office. For instance, in 2009, the Philippines imported only 119,229 metric tons of palm oil from Malaysia.  This increased to 204,731 tons in 2010, and soaring to 543,000 metric tons in 2011 worth P28.03 billion.  If the trend holds, the palm oil imports of the Philippines from Malaysia could reach 597,000 metric tons in 2012, according to PPDCI.

This trend worries the local oil palm council because instead of the local farmers benefiting from the increased consumption of palm oil in the country, it is the Malaysian farmers who are reaping the benefits.

The leaders of the PPDCI believe that the Department of Agriculture officials are anti-Oil Palm Farming (OPF). They say that the DA officials have put the OPF expansion in the Philippines of 60,000 hectares to a standstill.

The local oil palm industry leaders suspect that the DA leadership has been convinced by the distorted information from NGOs who are well-funded by the “Western conspirators” to “preach” and magnify the so-called negative aspects of oil palm farming.

For example, the local leaders say, “these NGOs pointed out that the palm oil processing byproducts are polluting the environment in Indonesia and Malaysia. The truth is, the byproducts are now fully converted into organic fertilizers and biogas, providing cheap source of organic fertilizers and electricity in Thailand, Indonesia and Malaysia.

They further suspect that the main purpose of the “Western conspirators” is to spread erroneous information to prevent further growth of the production of cheap, highly healthful and nutritious palm oil so they could maintain a good portion of the global oil markets for soybean, sunflower and canola oils and at a higher price which many Filipinos cannot afford.

The PPDCI suggests that President Aquino organize an interagency task force headed by the DA with the participation of the DAR, DENR, DOST, LGUs, DILG, DTI, PPDCI and the banking sector. They could prepare a palm oil development roadmap and promote the massive planting of oil palm to reach 300,000 hectares by 2016.

The PPDCI says that there are over one million hectares of grass and brushlands in Southern Philippines, Mindanao in Particular, suitable for oil palm farming. If these areas are planted to oil palm, the Philippines could become a major palm oil exporting country just like Thailand, Malaysia and Indonesia.

The local oil palm leaders say that the People of Mindanao have been anxiously waiting for the opportunity from a government-supported lead program similar to what is being done in rice, corn and coconut to promote mass planting of oil palm.

The PPDCI cites the high income from oil palm farming. A farmer could have a yearly net income of P70,000 to P120,000 per hectare per year. The expansion to 300,000 hectares could also meet the requirements of the local consumption of vegetable oil. The 300,000 hectares could at the same time provide high income to 150,000 small landholders and employment opportunities to 75,000 farm workers. 

Pummelo In A Container (Farm Tip 24)

Danny Banzuela and Florida Pummelo in a
 container. The tree has full-sized fruits.
IF YOU don’t have enough space in your farm or garden, grow your favorite pummelo in a rubberized container or something similar. With a growing medium that is rich in organic matter and well drained, the tree will bear full-sized fruits just like the ones in photo grown at the Teresa Orchard & Nursery in Teresa, Rizal. The other branches are also laden with fruits (not seen).

Grafted or marcot/air-layer trees will bear fruit in two or three years. What’s good about fruit trees in containers is that they are very manageable. They can be kept low by judicious pruning. They can be transferred to a desired location anytime. During typhoons, they could be transferred to a safe place. 

If one is in the business of selling fruit trees, you can make good business because container-grown fruit trees fetch a high price, especially if they are laden with fruits

Topworked With Seedless Atis (Farm Tip 23)

IF YOU have a non-performing or inferior atis tree, you can improve it by topworking. This means changing the crown with a desirable variety. Just like this atis tree in photo at the Teresa Orchard & Nursery in Teresa, Rizal. Because the fruits of the original tree were of poor quality, the main branches were cut off. 

New branches were allowed to grow and when the branches were the size of the small finger, scions from a seedless atis were grafted. Today, about six months later, the new crown is now well established. In fact, some of the branches are bearing some flowers. To maintain the new crown, remove any new growth from the rootstock.

Thursday, July 19, 2012


Members of the Philippines for Natural Farming, Inc. (PNFI) will hold their "Fun Day" on Sunday, July 22, 2012 at the organic farm and garden of Flor Tarriela in Antipolo City. Special organic food will be served and there will be presentations on what possible projects could be undertaken on a one-hectare farm.
Andry Lim, the president, will lead the attendees from all over the country. He is a pioneer in promoting natural farming in the country. 
Flor Tarriela, on the other hand, is a banker who is a farmer at heart. She is the chairman of the Philippine National Bank.Toto Barcelona of Harbest Agribusiness is a staunch member of PNFI. He is promoting the use of EM in crop farming, aquaculture, livestock and poultry and in household chores. 

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

8th Mindanao Veggie Congress - August 13-14, 2012

The 8th Mindanao Vegetable Congress will be held on August 13-14 at The Grand Men Seng Hotel, Magallanes St., Davao City. The event is under the auspices of the Vegetable Industry Council of Southern Mindanao, Inc. (VICSMin).

About 250 participants are expected to attend, including mostly small farmers, vegetable producers, vegetable supply chain players, and government and other support organizations.

The sessions will include Vegetable Market Overview, Gaps in Marketing, Issues in the Vegetable Industry, Experiences of Farmer-Entrepreneurs, and Insights from Vegetable Buyers.

For more info: Contact the secretariat (Russell) at 0932-851-6420.

RUBBER - New Promising Crop in Oriental Mindoro

Rubber is being discovered as another money maker in Mindoro. It all started when farmer-leader Mitch Miciano planted 700 rubber trees on less than two hectares of land owned by a brother in Pinamalayan town in 2005. The trees are now being tapped and are giving Miciano a monthly income of P65,000.
Miciano reported that the yield has been stable. The trees rest only two months of the year when they are not tapped. Miciano has subsequently planted rubber trees in his own land and if plans push through, plantings in Oriental Mindoro could expand to 400 hectares.
Meanwhile, Director Nicomedes Eleazar of the Bureau of Agricultural Research of the Department of Agriculture  is reviewing the agency’s rubber program and will convene the International Rubber Agroforestry Conference on Sept.4-6 in Manila in partnership with the International Rubber Research and Development Board (IRRDB). 

Batanes Kids Succeed In Mindanao

The Loor couple in their corn field.
Pedro and Aida Loor posing with their giant Ford tractor.
Many years ago, a young girl from Basco and a boy from Itbayat were brought by their parents to Wao in Lanao del Sur, most probably to escape the frequent typhoons that brought destruction to the Batanes Islands year after year.
The girl and the boy spent their teenage years in Wao and got married to different spouses. The girl, Aida, became Mrs. Villamor while the boy, Pedro Loor married another young lady. Then when peace and order was a problem in 1975 in Wao, Aida and her husband resettled in Baungon, Bukidnon while Pedro Loor and his family settled in Valencia, also in Bukidnon.

Their respective families had become successful farmers growing hybrid corn and other crops. Aida and her family in Baungon and Pedro in Valencia. Then Aida became a widow in 1995 and Pedro’s wife died in 1999. In 2001, the two got married, turning over their respective assets to their respective children in their previous marriages. She has five and he has seven who are all on their own as farmers, too.

Starting farming on their own as new couple was fairly smooth because they know the ins and outs of corn farming. Although they started again from scratch after their marriage, they have become rich once more because of their keen agribusiness sense.
They didn’t have to buy many hectares of land to produce corn. Up to this day, they just own four hectares of the 30 hectares that they are planting to corn in Baungon. The 26 hectares are either rented at P8,000 to P9,000 per hectare a year or are mortgaged to them. The thing is that they have a big area for growing corn so they can make more income. With the Bioseed Healer 101, Bioseed 9009 and other hybrids, farmers in Bukidnon can make a profit of about P40,000 per hectare per cropping.

It is not surprising therefore for Pedro and Aida Loor, now both senior citizens, to be able to buy a big tractor that costs at least a million pesos, a big truck for hauling their harvests, and to buy on installment a 28-hectare farm in Casisang for P8 million. They have already paid P5.5 million and expect to fully pay the farm in a couple of years.

The 28-hectare property is being used for sugarcane production. Using their income from corn to buy the property, the couple believes that growing sugarcane is also a good strategy. Pedro reasons out that although sugarcane takes at least one year to mature, it is less problematic to produce. And if the price of sugar goes up, one could hit the jackpot.

Pedro adds that in sugarcane, you don’t have to plant every year. The crop could be ratooned not just once but twice or even thrice. And so there is less cost on seed materials. 

66,000 Trees Planted in Name of MVP

A TOTAL of 66,000 seedlings were planted in different parts of the country as a highlight of the celebration of PLDT Chairman Manuel V. Pangilinan's 66th birth anniversary last July 14, 2012. 

Planting trees in a 21-hectare reserve in Floridablanca, Pampanga, served as the kick-off site for the nationwide initiative that covers thousands of hectares pinpointed by the Department of Environment and Natural Resources, including the Marikina watershed, the Iloilo River Basin and many other areas in the country.

Photo shows MVP planting a tree at the Assumpta College where a building in honor of his mother,

Soledad V. Pangilinan, was erected and inaugurated during his birthday celebration.

Monday, July 16, 2012

Hybrid Corn In Sloping Fields

Felicisimo Inocando (left) and Zac B. Sarian in front
of  Bioseed Healer 101 corn planted on sloping field
in Brgy. Miglamin, Malaybalay, Bukidnon.
In Mindanao, particularly in Bukidnon and other areas in in the North, even the steep hillsides are planted to hybrid corn. No plowing of the soil is usually practiced.

The farmers practice what they call zero-tillage whereby they spray herbicide to kill the grasses. A week after the grasses have been sprayed, they dibble their seeds in the cleared ground, one or two seeds per hole.

Photo shows Felicisimo Inocando (left) with Zac B. Sarian before a sloping field in Brgy. Miglamin, Malaybalay, Bukidnon, planted to Bioseed Healer 101, a high-yielding genetically engineered variety. The farmers usually harvest at least 6 tons of dried grains per hectare which are sold currently at P12.30 per kilo. Inocando is a pioneer hybrid corn planter in Malaybalay.

Sunday, July 15, 2012

84 Cows Grow Fat On Pig Manure (Farm Tip 22)

We remember visiting a big piggery in Pandi, Bulacan in the early 1990s. There, we saw 84 very fat  cattle that subsisted mostly on pig manure. How was that?

The piggery had an 800-sow level and had a biogas system that generated electricity. Every day the manure was directed to the biogas digester. The washed manure passed through a canal leading to the mouth of the digester. Before the manure entered the digester, the undigested solids were retained in a deep portion of the canal. The workers collected the solids that were retained and mixed this with rice bran for feeding the cows. The retrieved solids still contained a lot of nutrients.

The rice bran was about 40 percent of the mixture. Except for small quantities of grasses gathered from the premises of the piggery and a little rice straw, the cattle subsisted on nothing else but the retrieved hog manure and rice bran mixture. The cattle were very fat and healthy and the cost of feeding was minimal. In today's prices, the 84 cows could fetch more than two million pesos.

Bonus for Poultry Workers (Farming Tip 21)

We remember interviewing the late Dr. Roman Kintanar of the old Weather Bureau. Not many knew that he and his wife were also commercial poultry and piggery operators. They used to raise as many as 40,000 broilers as independent raisers in their farm in Tanay, Rizal. They were not contract growers of integrators.

What's admirable was their bonus system for the poultry workers which kept them loyally working on the farm for many years. The bonus scheme worked this way: 

They set a minimum level of performance. The birds should each weigh 1.2 kilos in seven weeks and a mortality of not more than 5 percent. (Oh yes, the rate of growth in those early years was not as fast as these days.) If the goal was surpassed, the workers got 20 percent of the excess as their share.

Ordinarily, the caretakers got an additional income of P200 to P500 a month from the scheme. That extra income in the 1980s was worth many times the value of the peso today.

Native Chickens Control Ticks (Farming Tip 20)

MANY years back, we remember visiting the Bolong Farm in Paraoir, Luna, La Union. The farm was a diversified one with a few hundred head of cattle, poultry, piggery, fruit trees and vegetables. An unusual practice was raising native chickens which they allowed to roam around the cattle shed. The chickens loved to pick the ticks and thus freeing the animals of the pesky parasite. There was no need to treat the animals with chemical pesticide.

URINE - Very Good For Ornamentals

DR. ROMEO GUTIERREZ, a medical surgeon who was a former president of the Philippine Horticultural Society, swears that human urine (his own urine) is very effective in boosting the robust growth of ornamental plants. He has observed that a very dilute solution is best. This means that one part of urine mixed with 50 parts ordinary water works best for his Aglaonemas and other ornamentals in his collection.

At night he takes a lot of multivitamins and minerals so that when he urinates in the morning, his urine will be very rich. Application of the urine solution may be every few days. He warns that too much urine can be detrimental. It could make the soil very acidic which could harm the roots.

Dr. Gutierrez, by the way, is an Aglaonema breeder. He has produced several hybrids including those named after President Cory Cojuangco Aquino, Sen. Miriam Santiago and a few others.

Friday, July 13, 2012

GOMER CASTILLANO - Rags-to-Riches Corn Farmer From Lanao Sur

Gomer Castillano and his truck for hauling corn.
Gomer Castillano and his wife Jesusa with their harvest.
Gomer Castillano of Brgy. Milaya, Wao, Lanao del Sur, grew rich from corn. Starting to plant hybrid corn on just one hectare that he rented in 1991, he now owns 66 hectares that he plants mostly to Bioseed Healer 101, a genetically engineered hybrid corn that produces high yield. 

Aside from his 66 hectares, he is also planting 34 hectares that are either mortgaged to him or rented by him. Here, he is shown with one of his trucks which he uses for hauling his harvests. 

He is also shown in the other photo with his wife Jesusa. Behind them are their harvest of Healer 101 on-the-cob and placed in sacks before shelling.

On the average, Castillano gets 6.4 tons of dried grains per hectare which currently sell at P12.30 per kilo. That gives him a net income of about P40,000 per hectare. 

Castillano only reached Grade 6 but he is a smart businessman when it comes to growing corn. His wife who helps him in accounting reached second year in college.

Rhedgy Hollero: Indigenous Rice Grower

RHEDGY HOLLERO  is a grower of indigenous fancy rice the organic way in Baras, Rizal. He is a member of a group with a total of 20 hectares planted to specialty rice with grains that are either pink, violet, red, black or white. 

As of now, they are just selling milled rice at about P70 per kilo. However, after hearing our suggestion in our radio program, Kaunlaran sa Agrikultura, they plan to produce seeds for planting.

At this stage when interest in indigenous rice is getting keener, producing indigenous rice seed for planting could even be more profitable than selling milled grains.

Starter kits of 200 grams per pack could be sold for P25. That could sell like the proverbial hotcake in events like the Agrilink trade show or at the Agri-Kapihan and other such events.

Incidentally, a radio listener from Candelaria, Quezon, who heard our suggestion on radio sent a text that he will not mill his harvest of indigenous rice anymore. He will sell the same as seed palay for planting.

Miss World Philippines & ZBS

Miss World Philippines Queenrich Rehman visited 
the Manila Bulletin offices on Friday, July 13, 2012, 
togetherwith Miss Cory Quirino, the Wellness Guru 
whois the franchise holder of the Miss World Beauty 
Pagent. Zac B. Sarian looks so short beside 
Miss Rehman. We are wishing her good luck and 
pray she will win the  prestigious Miss World title. 

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Aboitiz Group To Plant 50,000 Trees on July 21, 2012

Team members of the Aboitiz Group will troop to 14 different sites in the Philippines to plant an estimated 50,000 tree seedlings as part of its corporate program to plant 3 million trees before 2015.

The Group said it will soon hit 70 percent of the 3-million targeted trees for its nationwide initiative called APARK or Aboitiz Passion for Agroforest and Reforest to Keep. The three million trees are estimated to sequester 68,000 tons of carbon dioxide annually. The 50,000 trees that will be planted on July 21 will sequester roughly 1,135 tons of carbon dioxide annually.

The Philippines is one of 18 mega-biodiversity countries in the world. Yet, it is beset with human-induced threats to its biodiversity status. The Philippines also ranks highest for vulnerability to tropical cyclones.

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

KSK Harvest Festival In Olongapo

The graduation of the trainees was highlighted by a one-day
sale of their harvest at the SM City Olongapo. Photo shows
the Katutubo graduates selling their harvest of vegetables.
Officials of the SM Foundation, SM City Olongapo and Harbest
Agribusiness at the KSK Harvest Festival in Olongapo City. Toto
Barcelona of Harbest Agribusiness is at center. Also in photo

are Cristie Angeles of SM Foundation, Nyneth Mortel, Theresa
Pereyra and Marven Paul Mercate, all of SM City Olongapo.

A total of 97 farmers and residents of Barangays Gordon Heights, Barreto and Sta. Rita in Olongapo City finished their training on improved vegetable production under the Kabalikat sa Kabuhayan Farmers Training Program of SM Foundation. The training which is continuing in different parts of the country is in collaboration with Harbest Agribusiness headed by Toto Barcelona.

The graduates underwent 12 weekly sessions that culminated on June 14, marked by a one-day harvest festival that was also highlighted by a one-day selling of the trainees' produce at SM City Olongapo.

About half of the trainees consisted of the indigenous tribe popularly called Kulot. The trainees underwent hands-on experience in preparing the soil, germinating the seedlings, planting them in the plots and taking care of them. In the process, they learned about the proper techniques of planting, watering, pest and disease identification and their prevention and control, and many other techniques in production and postharvest handling.

The trainees planted a wide variety of vegetables on a 5,000-square meter property belonging to Richard Sklar and his wife, Arlene U. Sklar. The vegetables planted included ampalaya, cucumber, eggplant, tomato, upo, sitao, squash, melons, honeydew and others.

The Olongapo batch of trainees was the 40th in a series of trainings conducted in the last five years. Meanwhile, the 43rd batch was recently launched in Brgy. Ligaya in General Santos City.

3 European Agri Firms In Agrilink 2012

Major agricultural firms based in Europe will participate in the 2012 edition of the Agrilink Trade Show which will be held at the World Trade Center at the corner of Gil Puyat Avenue and Macapagal Blvd. in Pasay City.
One of the firms is MOBA, a global organization that offers total solutions for making egg grading, packing and processing more efficient. Headquartered in the Netherlands, it has offices in the United States, Malaysia and other countries. It produces egg-grading and packing machines.
Another European company is Sonovo International of Denmark which supplies a wide range of standard and customized egg products solutions for the food and pharmaceutical industries. Its range of egg products include many types of liquid, frozen and spray-dried egg products as well as value-added egg products and catering products like scrambled eggs, boiled and peeled egg products.
The third company is the Germany-based Amandus Kahl which plans, designs and build machines, plants and turnkey production factories for conditioning and compacting of many different products for a wide variety of industries. For more than 125 years, it has manufactured complete plants for the production of concentrate, shrimp and fish feed, premix, dried pulp from sugar beet and products with high crude fiber content such as alfalfa and straw.

For more info on Agrilink, contact Foundation for Resource Linkage and Development (FRLD) through 838-4549; 838-4552;fax 838-4573 or email Visitors can also pre-register their attendance through its official Facebook page at

AANI Farm Tour - Eat Rambutan All You Can

There’s a dream farm tour that will bring the participants to an organic fruit farm in Candelaria, Quezon where they will experience eating all the rambutan fruits they can. The tour destination is the farm of Pol Rubia in Brgy. San Isidro, Candelaria, Quezon, on Sunday, July 29.
They will not pay for the fruits they harvest and eat on the farm but if they wish to bring home some, they will pay a discounted price.
The rambutan trees in the farm of Pol Rubia are heavy with fruits that will be fully ripe come July 29. The fruits are very juicy, sweet and the flesh readily detaches from the seed.
Those interested to join should contact tels. 936-6556; 935-3146; 480-8990 or 0917-795-0916. Assignment on bus seats will be on first-come, first-served basis.
Participants in the AANI Farm Tour
on July 29, 2012 will have the chance
to eat rambutan all they can at the farm
of Pol Rubia in Candelaria, Quezon.

Monday, July 9, 2012

First National Confab of Philippine Agriculturists Association

The First National Convention of the Philippine Association of Agriculturists headed by Dr. Gil Magsino of UP Los Banos will be held on July 19-20, 2012 at the Splash Mountain Resort in Los Banos, Laguna. The keynote speaker will be Agriculture Secretary Proceso J. Alcala.

Theme of the convention is "PAA: Moving Towards Professionalizing Philippine Agriculture." At the plenary sessions, Dr. Rodolfo Ela will discuss the performance of Philippine agriculture graduates in licensure examinations. Dr. Nora B. Inciong, on the other hand, will discuss Continuing Professional Education: A Key Role for Professionalizing Philippine Agriculture.

Jun Catan and Sonny Domingo will present a proposal on crafting the Magna Carta of Philippine Agriculturists.

There will be technical presentations focused on Food Security. Dr. Gabriel Romero of Monsanto Philippines will talk on the "Status of GMO and Hebbicide Resistance: Industry Perspective." Dr. Artemio Salazar of UPLB Crop Science Cluster will discuss "Corn for Health and Food Security." 

Saturday, July 7, 2012

They Enjoyed Red-Fleshed Dragon Fruit


EDNA FELIPE with a slice of red-fleshed
Dragon Fruit at Teresa Orchard & Nursery.
Whole and sliced red-fleshed Dragon Fruit 
Members of the Philippine Horticultural Society headed by May Caballero-Dumlao enjoyed partaking of the red-fleshed Dragon Fruit at the Teresa Orchard & Nursery in Teresa, Rizal last June 23.

Production of the Dragon Fruit is one advocacy of the Cactus and Succulent Society of the Philippines headed by Dorie S. Bernabe. It will be one of the crops that will take center stage during the planned Quezon City Country Fair to be sponsored by CSSP sometime in November this year (2012).

Dragon Fruit is increasingly becoming popular in the Philippines. The fruit is nice to eat and is also claimed to have medicinal properties.The red-fleshed variety is sweeter than the white-fleshed variety.  Planting materials of the red-fleshed variety are available at the Teresa Orchard & Nursery (0917-841-5477).

Binangonan Fruit Lovers

Members of the Tojos clan of Binangonan, Rizal, are lovers of exotic fruits.They recently visited the Teresa Orchard & Nursery to buy various grafted planting materials. Here, they
are shown with fruiting durian of the Kob variety. From left: Jaime Tojos, VenusTojos, Romy Tojos and Diwa Tojos.

ZBS Invited to Food Security Forum in Singapore

ZAC B. SARIAN has been invited to participate in the Asean Media Forum on "Food Security Index & DuPont Commitment to Food Security" on July 26-27 in Singapore.

The Forum calls for action, unlocking of potential collaboration and generating insights from various stakeholders to address the pressing issue of feeding over 590 million population of ASEAN. The aim is to find local solutions, local acceptance and collaboration to improve food security for each of the ASEAN countries.

The Index was developed by the Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU), and commissioned by DuPont. It measures the drivers of Food Security through categories of affordability, availability and quality and safety across 106 countries.

There will be discussions and deliberations with panelists from the Economist Intelligence Unit, Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, and DuPont business leaders.

The invitation was extended to us by DuPont's Azham Zahid, Public Affairs Manager, Malaysia Philippines.

Friday, July 6, 2012

He Would Rather Plant Guava Than Mango

We remember an agriculturist we interviewed many years ago. He used to grow fruit trees in Cebu but he has now relocated abroad. He had a point when he said that he would rather plant guavas than mango. Why?

For one, he said, guavas start bearing fruits in just eight months after planting. In addition, if the trees are adequately fertilized and irrigated, they bear fruit for 10 to 11 months within the year. Thus the farmer derives income from them virtually throughout the year whereas in mango, harvest is only once a year. Besides, mangoes usually become productive commercially seven or eight years after planting.

Guavas can be kept low-growing by constant pruning so harvesting is easier than in mango. Wrapping the fruits to protect them from fruitfly is also much easier.

Because our friend's farm in Cebu was stony and had very thin topsoil, he did not apply chemical fertilizers. What he did was to dig a hole one meter deep and one meter wide for planting his seedlings. He filled this with a mixture of topsoil and chicken manure.

Talisay Leaves: Anti-fungal, Anti-bacterial

Ray Ong, a scientist who graduated from UP Los Banos,  and Leslie Kennedy whose family is in the aquarium fish business, were excited to see many fallen leaves of the Talisay tree botanically known as Terminalia catappa when they visited Teresa Orchard & Nursery in Teresa, Rizal, on June 23, 2012. They gathered dried fallen leaves for their own use.
The two joined the members of the Philippine Horticultural Society who visited Teresa Orchard & Nursery and the St. Martha Farm, both in Teresa, Rizal. St. Martha specializes in Pangasius production, both fingerlings and full-grown fish.
Ray Ong explained that the Talisay leaves contain tannin that is both anti-fungal and anti-bacterial. In the United States, he said, the dried leaves are sold at about 50 US cents per leaf. And they are imported from countries other than the Philippines. Some buyers put a few leaves in their aquarium to prevent fungal and bacterial growth. Ray  Ong added that the reddish leaves that fall to the ground during summer are particularly desired.
How about that? Can Talisay leaves become a money maker for the Philippines, too?

It Pays to Visit Town Markets

WHEN you travel to the provinces, make sure to visit the public markets. That's where you will see what farm products are produced in the locality. You will also see the ongoing price of the commodities. You might be able to discover some fruits and vegetables that you have been looking for  all along. Or maybe root crops you have never seen before. You might be able to acquire planting materials that you can multiply for money.

In a number of ways it pays to visit public markets in the provinces.

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Coco Water Export Fast Growing

PCA Acministrator Euclides Forbes

More and more byproducts of the coconut are becoming commercialized, thanks to government and private initiatives. We are, of course, familiar with the many old byproducts like broom, vinegar,  coco coir, coco peat, virgin coconut oil and lately coco sugar and coco water from mature nuts (not buko).
Two big companies, Peter Paul and Franklin Baker in Quezon province are the two big exporters of coco water packed under secret technologies, which could include vacuum filtration, according to a scientist source.
The demand for processed coconut water has been increasing in leaps and bounds. According to Administrator Euclides Forbes of the Philippine Coconut Authority, the export of coconut water in January to April 2012 has been recorded at 5,993,888 liters valued at US$6,602,051. That’s a big increase from the figures in January to April 2011. During that period, total coconut water export was only 2,173,294 liters worth $2,406,351.
Among the big importers of coco water are the United States which imported 4,820,275 liters in January to April 2012, worth $5,300.639. In the same period last year, the US bought 1,652,711 liters worth $1,447,213.
Coco water from the Philippines is now exported to 29 countries. The Netherlands is emerging as a big market for this commodity. In January to April 2012, the Netherlands bought 225,189 liters worth  $243,876. In the same period last year,  it only bought 48,000 liters worth  $43,200.
Other growing markets are Australia, Switzerland, Hong Kong, Singapore, Saudi Arabia, Canada, Brazil, New Zealand and many others. Administrator Forbes expects that the figure will skyrocket in the next few years because of the many health benefits that drinkers derive from coconut water.

COCONUT REPLANTING – Meanwhile, we learned from the PCA administrator that they are funding a very unique scheme of planting and replanting coconut plantations.

For instance, did you know that if you can produce coconut seedlings in your own farm and plant the same, the PCA will pay you for the planting materials you yourself produced and planted in your own farm. The plants are yours. Only, the PCA monitors the progress of your project.

For the year 2012, they are targeting the production of 13 million seednuts for distribution to target areas where coconut growing is highly suitable. There are more than 60 provinces in the country that could grow coconuts.This should provide an opportunity for those who know how to germinate coconuts in large scale. The PCA will buy every seedling that you can produce at about P27 each.

FREE FERTILIZERS – The PCA also has its program of giving free fertilizers for coconut, particularly salt which has been proven to increase coconut yields by several percent.About two kilos of salt are applied to a fruiting coconut tree.

To help coconut farmers who are often stereotyped as the poorest farmers in the country, they are being taught to integrate the raising of farm animals under their coconut trees.

These could include free-range chickens, goats and sheep, cattle and others.

Fruits and vegetables are another project they are motivating the farmers to grow. These could include cacao, rambutan, durian, lanzones and many others.


ELIZABETH VALERIO showing her bottled 
pickle during the Philfoodex trade show.
ELIZABETH VALERIO, the enterprising lady who specializes in vegetable and fruit pickles, will be showcasing her products in two trade fairs this July and August 2012 at the SM Megamall in Mandaluyong City. Ms. Valerio is the proprietor of Delishas Atchara who was helped by the DTI and DOST in developing and improving the quality of her products, including packaging and label design.

The first will be the trade fair sponsored by the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) from July 12 to 15. The second trade fair will be on August 9 to 12 under the auspices of the Bureau of Agricultural Research headed by Director Nicomedes Eleazar.

Her pickles are considered very special. These include ampalaya, cucumber, mango, carrots, singkamas, papaya and others. The latest news is that she has been asked by the Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources to make seaweed pickles.

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Ina Valdez Goes For Duku Lanzones

This is a close up of a bunch of Duku fruits
taken on July 1, 2012 at the Teresa Orchard
and Nursery. These are fruits of the same
tree where Ina Valdes posed with the still
greenish fruits last June 23, 2012. That's when
members of the Philippine Horticultural
Society had a farm tour or Teresa Orchard
and Nursery.

The ripe Duku fruits at the Teresa Orchard
and Nursery in Teresa, Rizal taken on
July 1, 2012, about 9 days after the photo
of Ina Valdes was taken with the still
greenish bunches of fruit. (photo below)
INA VALDES poses with the ripening fruits of
Duku lanzones at the Teresa Orchard and
Nursery in Teresa, Rizal. Photo was taken June
23, 2012. She is a member of the Horticultural
Society who had a field trip to Teresa last June 23.
Take a look at the same fruits photographed
 9 days later (upper photos). They are already ripe! 

Landed Couple Used To Be Landless

Fernando and Josephine Fuentes used to be very poor and
landless after they got married in 1994. By dint of hard work, they
now own at least 24 hectares of land and they are also planting
Bioseed Healer 101 corn on 40 hectares mortgaged to them. They
are from Brgy. Malapag, Carmen, North Cotabato.
Fernando Fuentes, corn farmer of Brgy. Malapag, Carmen, North
Cotabato shows to Sherwin Magbanua of Bioseed, the bumper
crop of Healer 101 corn that he harvested from the first 4 hectares
that he planted in March 2012 and harvested in June.

AILEEN LIBRETA of Bioseed Research Company
is shown here with piles of corn-on-the-cob harvested
by Fernando Fuentes from his farm in Brgy. Malapag,

 Carmen, North Cotabato. She is an agriculturist
 who is specialzing in plant breeding.
Among  the enterprising corn farmers we met recently during our visit to North Cotabato are Fernando Fuentes and his wife Josephine from Brgy. Malapag in the town of Carmen.
The Fuentes couple were landless when they got married in 1994 but now they have at least 24 hectares of corn land of their own and many more that have been mortgaged to them. They are planting the latest hybrid corn varieties such as those distributed by Bioseed Research Company based in General Santos City. And that is why they get high yields and a good price, too, for their corn harvests.
How they were able to accumulate such a relatively big landholding is an inspiring story of industry coupled with some business sense.
Fernando remembers that when he and Josephine were just newly married, he used to sell cut-up vegetables from house to house just so they could have an income. Fernando would buy fresh vegetables from the market, slice them and pack together different vegetables that could be used in one cooking.
Then they decided to do their own corn farming just like what many of their neighbors were doing. But how did they grow corn when they did not have land of their own?
It happened that their godfather during their wedding had some land. They rented one hectare from him at P2,000 per year which they planted to hybrid corn first distributed by the Department of Agriculture. Fernando was quick to explain that in those early years, when you rented a piece of land, you only pay the rent after you have harvested your crop, unlike today.
They were quite lucky because they had good harvest from their hybrid corn. From the one hectare they rented, they were able to gross P18,000 from their first crop. And because they themselves worked on the farm, they only had cash expenses of about P6,000. They had a net profit of P12,000, and that’s what they used to get hold of more farms which were initially mortgaged to them. Eventually, they would be able to buy the land mortgaged to them with the proceeds from their corn harvests.
These days, when there is good weather, corn farmers like the Fuentes couple could make a net profit of more than P40,000 per hectare. And because they know how to handle their finances, they have been able to increase their land holdings and, of course, their incomes from farming.
There are developments that have helped the corn farmers like the Fuentes couple. One is the introduction of herbicides. With herbicide, the farmer can wipe out the weeds so they can dibble their seeds without plowing the field. Even the rolling and sloping fields could be planted to corn the zero-tillage way.
Another is the coming of the hybrid corn seeds. With the hybrids that are genetically engineered, the yield is not only high but the farmers also save on cost of spraying against corn borer. The Bioseed Healer 101, for instance, is not attacked by corn borers which are about the most destructive pest of corn in the Philippines.

Monday, July 2, 2012

Native Trees For Baras From FedEx

FedEx family members who planted native
trees in the Baras Communal Forest.
FedEx recently donated 1,000 seedlings of native tree species, which were planted in the Baras Communal Forest by FedEx family members. The donation supports Haribon Foundation's Rainforest Organizations and Advocates (ROAD) to 2020 program, a movement to restore one million hectares of Philippine rainforests using native tree species by year 2020. 

  Photo below shows Rhicke Jennings, FedEx Express managing director for the Philippines and Indonesia, planting a native tree species in the Communal Forest of Baras, Rizal province.


Friday, June 29, 2012

Grafted Malaysian Hybrid Durian Now Available

A limited number of grafted Malaysian hybrid durian are now available at the Teresa Orchard & Nursery in Teresa, Rizal. The nursery is along the national road, 30 meters before the Teresa-Morong boundary. Teresa is the next town to Antipolo City.

This is a variety with superior taste. The fruit is small but is very fleshy. Take a look at the photos in the posting below.

Those interested in the grafted seedlings may call or text Rose at 0915-434-4216.

Thursday, June 28, 2012

Malaysian Hybrid Durian in Teresa

That's Wendy Regalado with the opened fruit of the
Malaysian hybrid durian. Wendy is a past president
of the Philippine Horticultural Society.
Members of the Philippine Horticultural Society pose with
fruiting Malaysian hybrid durian at the Teresa Orchard and
Nursery in Teresa, Rizal on June 23, 2012. From left to

right: Dr. Romeo Gutierrez, Ely Quiambao, Edna Felipe
and Remedios Rodis-Santelices.
An opened fruit of the Malaysian hybrid durian. Note the chrome
yellow flesh which is mealy,  fine-textured and sweet.

On June 23, a Saturday, more than 20 members of the Philippine Horticultural Society headed by May Caballero-Dumlao toured the Teresa Orchard & Nursery in Teresa, Rizal, where they observed the growing of exotic fruit trees.

One of the fruits that attracted their attention is the Malaysian hybrid durian that was introduced some ten years ago by Gloria Balderrama, a Singaporean who married a Filipino engineer. The hybrid durian produces small fruits that weigh an average of 1.5 to 2 kilos each. It is, however, very fleshy and the flesh is fine-textured, mealy and sweet. The rind is thin but the cavities are big.

Aside from the durian, they were able to see the Indian black pepper growing on mahogany trees, the ever-bearing Red Criollo cacao from Brazil, fruiting Duku and Longkong lanzones, dragon fruit, pummelos from Vietnam and Thailand, balimbing, imported makopa, sweet guyabano (soursop), mangosteen, Mama Sita banana and many others.

Many farming enthusiasts from different parts of the country have been visiting the orchard and nursery and they have been sourcing their planting materials from Teresa. The Teresa Orchard & Nursery propagates only the best varieties of exotic fruit trees. Two varieties that are always sold out are the Super avocado which produces fruits that weigh as much as a kilo, and the seedless guava.

Teresa Orchard & Nursery is located along the national road, about 30 meters before the Teresa-Morong boundary. Teresa is the town next to Antipolo City. The nursery is about 36.6 kilometers from the Manila City Hall. For more information, call or text 0917-841-5477.

Wednesday, June 27, 2012


Belmont Agricorp will showcase its latest equipment and technologies in the 2012 edition of Agrilink which will be held at the World Trade Center at the corner of Puyat Avenue and Macapagal Blvd, Pasay City, on October 4 to 6.
Some of the equipment include incubators, feeders and waterers, brooders, ventilation equipment, bagged and  bulk grain storage, ship and barge unloaders, commercial dryers and feed-milling technologies.

Says Tony Magno, Belmont's vice president for marketing: "For over 35 years, our technologies have been utilized by big and small farmers. Likewise, we represent leading companies and equipment lines from around the world. We have  been helping our stakeholder partners in the country address the overall performance of their farms by improving their production chain, bio-security and sustainability. As a result, they have consistently produced high-quality products, achieved better output, sustained more stable revenue and become more competitive in the market."

DENNIS PANES: Remarkable Young Corn Farmer

Bioseed Healer 101, a biotech variety, is the favorite of Dennis Panes
DENNIS PANES is a remarkable young corn farmer we met during our visit to Sitio Rancho, Brgy. Wadya in the town of Banisilan, North Cotabato. From age 14, he used to work as laborer for a lady corn farmer, doing plowing, planting and other chores in growing corn. For many years he was a laborer, earning about P800 per month.

His good fortune came when the government awarded him five hectares of public land in 1994 when he was 21 years old. Because he used to grow corn as a laborer, he knew the fine points of corn production. He planted hybrid seeds and got at least five tons per cropping, two times a year.

What is remarkable about him is that after each cropping he sets aside a portion of his income either for buying an additional hectare or for taking over land that is mortgaged to him. At first, he just acquired one hectare after harvest at a time. Then when he had a bigger area to cultivate and more yield, he bought an additional two hectares, then three hectares, and so on. There was a time, he said, when the crop was very good and had a bumper harvest. He was able to buy 10 hectares in one swing.

Many of the lands he bought in the earlier years cost only  P50,000 to P60,000 per hectare. Later, however, land became more expensive. Some of the farmlands mortgaged to him lately cost him P100,000 or more.

How many hectares does he own today, 18 years after he was given the five hectares by the government? Because of the systematic acquisition of land that he followed, he now owns 80 hectares! Which he is planting with his favorite variety, Bioseed Healer 101, distributed by Bioseed Research Company based in General Santos City.

Aside from the 80 hectares that he owns, he is financing other farmers in planting Bioseed Healer 101 on 45 hectares. He says that unlike many other financiers, he just charges a minimal interest because he realizes the difficulties the small farmers are going through.

In the last cropping season, Dennis made a net profit of P1.3 million. His earnings are spent on things that matter in corn farming. For instance, he has invested on a 6-wheeler truck, a 10-wheeler truck and a Commando jeep which he uses in hauling his harvests from the farm to the market. 

What's really remarkable about him is how he systematically accumulated land for his corn production. His is a rags to riches story. Which means that if one is smart, one can take advantage of opportunities that are just around the corner.
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