Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Fence Only What You Can Afford (Farm Tip 28)

We remember a Manila couple who got four hectares in Batangas as their share of their inheritance. But their excitement was short-lived. They had read that the farm should be fenced before they plant anything, otherwise stray animals will eat whatever they plant.

They were downhearted because they couldn't afford to fence the four hectares. They had computed that they will have to spend P1 million to fence the whole area. They said they had only a small saving in the bank. maybe just enough to put up a modest farm house and an ordinary water pump. They certainly could not afford the high cost of fencing their property with concrete.

We suggested to them a doable option. They should fence only half a hectare which they could plant with their favorite fruit trees and vegetables. And we suggested a very affordable fence to keep out stray chickens and other animals. We told them to use fishnet to fence the half-hectare which they are going to cultivate initially.

They were so happy about our suggestion. The fishnet fence only cost them not more than P5,000. And for that they thanked us profusely.   

Save All Income From One Crop (Farm Tip 27)

There are different strategies in saving a big amount fast. One of them is to save all the gross income from one of your crops if you are producing different crops. For instance, you are growing high-value  crops like sweet corn, tomatoes, cucumber, hot pepper and Suprema squash. Choose one of them, say tomato.

You have to discipline yourself and make sure that every time you sell your harvest of tomatoes, don't spend a single centavo of the amount. Open a new account in your favorite bank and deposit all your income from tomatoes.

Use your income from the other crops for your basic needs and other expenses. You will soon discover that you will be able to accumulate a significant amount. You may stop saving your tomato income when you have attained the amount you have set to achieve. After you have saved P500,000, for instance. That would be more than enough to pay for a brand new mini tractor such as the one being distributed by Toto Barcelona of Harbest Agribusiness.

This idea is a systematic way of forcing yourself to save. You can do that if you really discipline yourself. The amount you save can be used to start a new project or anything you have in mind. The amount may be for your dream trip around the world, for a new car, for your wedding anniversary or anything at all that you want to reward yourself.

Monday, August 6, 2012

Fish Sauce (Patis) From Fillet Waste Products

A big Filipino-Japanese joint venture firm is going into the manufacture of fish sauce (patis) in Cebu using waste products from the manufacture of fish fillet for export to Japan.

The Cebu-based businessman and a major automaker in Japan have been processing fish fillet for export to Japan in the past several years, using about 10 tons of raw materials a day.  

The problem is that only about 40 percent of the raw material is converted into fish fillet. The 60 percent is considered waste and there is the problem of disposing the heads, entrails and other parts of the fish. A microbiologist who has had a lot of experience in making patis has recommended to the company that they use the fish trimmings to make fish sauce.

Recently, an official of the company and the microbiologist went to Thailand to observe their technology in making patis. Thailand is known for its good quality patis which is exported to the Philippines and other countries. As per the estimate of the expert, they will spend about P50 million to put up the state-of-the-art patis manufacturing facility in Cebu.

The project has a very good profit potential because the raw material used is considered a waste product that could be turned into high-quality patis. The market for patis in the Philippines is very rosy. After all, the Philippines is importing a lot of patis from Thailand. It is one item that is always used practically every day by every household. 

Sunday, August 5, 2012

ZBS To Talk At Orchid Show Sept. 1, 2012

The Philippine Orchid Society has invited Zac B. Sarian to talk on Exotic Fruit Trees on Saturday, September 1, 2012 at the Quezon Memorial Circle, Quezon City. This will be one of the highlights of the Orchid & Garden Show of POS which runs from August 31 to September 10.

Sarian has been growing and multiplying superior varieties of exotic fruit trees in his farm in Teresa, Rizal. He is also the Agriculture of Manila Bulletin where his Agriculture Page appears every Thursday and Saturday. He also writes his Agri-Talk column in Panorama magazine, the Sunday supplement of Manila Bulletin. His agriculture articles also appear in Bannawag magazine (Ilocano), Liwayway (Tagalog), Bisaya magazine (Cebuano), Hiligaynon (Ilonggo). He also edits the monthly Agriculture Magazine, another publication of the Bulletin.

He is also co-anchor of the radio program "Kaunlaran sa Agrikultura," broadcast every Sunday morning from 4:30 to 7:30 on DWWW, 774 on the AM band. 

Saturday, August 4, 2012

Zac B. Sarian To Talk On Exotic Fruits Aug. 11

ZAC B. SARIAN and his Malaysian Hybrid Durian
Zac B. Sarian will talk on his own experiences in growing exotic fruit trees on Saturday, August 11, at 2 to 3 p.m.at the SM Mega Trade Hall, SM Megamall in Mandaluyong City. He will be one of the speakers at the 8th Agriculture & Fisheries Technology Forum and Product Exhibition under the auspices of the Bureau of Agricultural Research, an agency of the Department of Agriculture.

He will share his experiences in growing and multiplying superior varieties of durian, pummelos (from Vietnam, Thailand, Florida and our Magallanes variety), Longkong and Duku lanzones, selected rambutan varieties, Abiu from Brazil, Mama Sita banana, latexless jackfruit from Malaysia, Super avocado, imported makopa varieties, Golden Queen mango, Peach mango, Thai mango varieties, sweet tamarind, seedless duhat, seedless atis, mangosteen, lemons and limes,  and other little known cultivars.
Zac B. Sarian in Bhagwa pomegranate farm in India

Thursday, August 2, 2012

Mini Tractor Does Big Job

IT MAKES a lot of sense to mechanize farm operations for a number of good reasons. For one, it is faster to prepare the land for planting and is more economical too than using animal and manual labor. Photo shows a small tractor, Model WR 801 tiller/cultivator, making furrows for corn planting. This small machine can prepare one hectare of loamy soil for planting in one day without much hassle. It can also make beds for planting vegetables, create drainage canals and several other things. This one is distributed by Harbest Agribusiness Corporation. Tel. 671-7411 to 14.

Country Fair In The City

Becky Buenaventura and Baby de Leon about to
savor dragon fruit. The dragon fruit will be given
special attention at the Quezon City Country Fair
under the auspices of the Cactus & Succulent Society
and the Quezon City government on October 18 to 21.
A plateful of red-fleshed dragon fruit.
The garden people are cooking something new. Instead of the usual garden show, they are coming up with a Country Fair right in the heart of Quezon City.
The group is the Cactus and Succulent Society headed by Dorie S. Bernabe. Together with the Quezon City government they are going to stage the Quezon City Country Fair at the Quezon Memorial Circle on October 18 to 21.
This will be open free to the public because the organizers want it to be accessible to everybody, especially the school children. The event is designed to be educational and one which will give the city-bred children a taste of something rural.

There will be a cluster for the Friends of AANI which will include exhibits of small farm animals such as goats, sheep, free-range chickens, Pekin duck, native pigs and the like. There will be cooking of native pig lechon, lechon tupa (sheep) and others.

The Friends of AANI will make available for sale fruits and vegetables, planting materials, organic products and many more. There will also be a panel of experts that could be consulted on topics in farming and gardening.

The group of Fred Salud will also be conducting a dog show while the group of Lino Rom who are into ornamental plants will have their own special presentations.

Toto Barcelona and his colleagues in the seed business have booked for ten booths where they will be showcasing their latest hybrids of vegetables and other high-value crops.

Of course, the Cactus & Succulent Society will stage educational exhibits of their favorite plants. There will be lectures and demonstrations and one of the things they will give special attention to is the dragon fruit which happens to be a cactus.

The dragon fruit is increasingly becoming popular with growers who produce it commercially. The fruit is nice to eat as fresh fruit and is also claimed to have medicinal properties.

Another succulent that will be given attention is the giant aloe vera and other cultivars that have economic uses.

New Mantra On Food Security

At the recent Asean Media Forum on Food Security held in Singpore July 27, 2012, Pratibha Thaker of the Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU), said that there is a New Mantra on Food Security.

A few years ago, the Mantra was: "If you feed a man a fish, he will eat for a day. If you teach him to fish, he will be able to fish for the rest of his life."

With the rising population, the New Mantra is: "If you teach me to farm, educate, provide good input and organize, then whatever the challenge I can join together with my peers and we will fashion our own solutions."

Promising Corn Hybrids With Durable Stalks

PIONEER HI-BRED, a DuPont company, will soon come out with two new corn hybrids that will not easily lodge because of superior stalk strength, at the same time giving high yields. These are P3990YR

and P4097YR, both of which were tried and tested to have strong stalks and stalk rot tolerance. P3990YR has one of the most durable stalks and is resistant to vivipary or the germination of the kernels while in the field. On the other hand, P4097YR (in photo) can tolerate strong winds like those prevalent in Central Luzon. Read more about these hybrids in the column of Alan Nieves in the August issue of Agriculture Magazine.

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Collaboration: Key To Food Security

RAMON S. ABADILLA, Managing Director,
Du Pont Philippines, presented food security
status in the Philippines at the Asean Media Forum.
The Asean journalists who attended the Asean Media
Forum on Food Security in Singapore on July 27, 2012.
The Philippine  journalists include Riza Olchondra of the
Inquirer, Donna Gatdula of Philippine Star, and Zac B.
Sarian of the Manila Bulletin.
Multinational companies like DuPont are contributing to world
food security by developing improved rice and other crop varieties
that are not only high-yielding but also possess other desirable traits.
CARL LUKACH, DuPont East Asia President  (right),
with Zac B. Sarian at the Singapore Asean Media Forum
on Food Security, July 27, 2012.
Collaboration of every player is needed for the attainment of food security in every country. Not the government alone. Nor the multinational companies.  Not the farmers by themselves. Not the academicians. Not the traders and everyone else. The desired food security could be achieved only when everybody chips in his share in the process.
That’s the essence of the Asean Media Forum on Food Security organized by DuPont, the global science company, in Singapore last July 27.

At the Forum Pratibha Thaker of the Economist Intelligence Unit presented the result of their study on the Global Food Security Index 2012 which was commissioned by DuPont. The study covered 105 countries, measuring the degree of how food-secure or how food-insecure is one country.

Thaker reported that the most food-secure countries in the world are the US, Denmark, Norway, France and the Netherlands. In these countries, there is ample supply of food and the people have high incomes. They spend just a small portion of their incomes on food. The countries also invest a lot in agricultural research.

Just as important as the volume of food is the quality and safety of the food they eat. Eating too much of the wrong food can lead to problems like  obesity, for instance. Some rich nations, like Germany, suffer from inadequate micronutrients in their diets.

Of course, the big problem in the developing and underdeveloped countries is that there’s not enough food available to the masses. There may actually be available food in the market but then many of the people can’t afford to buy them. People in both the rural and urban areas spend a big portion of their meager incomes on food. Ramon S. Abadilla, managing director of Du Pont Philippines, reported that up to more than 43.3% of the family’s income in the country is spent on food.

The Food Security Index developed by the Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU), says Carl Lukach, president of DuPont East Asia, is a useful tool for government policymakers, NGOs, academicians, researchers and farmers’ organizations in addressing food security concerns. It highlights areas for improvement and reform.
In the Philippines, what should the government initiate to enhance food security? Time and again, they have been talking about farm-to-market roads, irrigation, marketing linkages and others.
Personally, we think the government should do a better job in extension work. There are many doable technologies on improved farming which are not being effectively disseminated to the small farmers who need them most.

One of the best ways to increase total agricultural production in the country is to enable the multitude of small farmers even just to increase their production by 10 percent. That way the country’s total agricultural output will be significantly increased. There are many doable farming practices which can be taught to the farmers. But the extension workers have to be creative in showing the farmers that it pays to adopt those innovations. The local government units should also show genuine interest in pursuing agricultural programs.
Some private seed companies in the Philippines, including Pioner Hi-Bred, are doing a good job in disseminating their new technologies to the farmers. Their own technicians are well equipped with their technical knowledge so that they are effective in doing extension work. What the Department of Agriculture and the local government units should do is to train their own agriculturists in creative extension work. 

Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Hotline For Free Advice To Hog Raisers

At right is Dr. Allan Salazar, veterinarian of UNO Feeds, who helps
hog raisers like Virginia Mercado of Lopez, Quezon (left) for free.
Hog raisers can now get free advice on the care and management of their pig business, thanks to Robina Agri Partners, the supplier of Uno Feeds and other products for livestock. The company recently launched a hotline which hog raisers can use to seek free over-the-phone assistance in raising their pigs.

The company's veterinarians and agents are on standby to accommodate callers who may be asking about the many products of the company. Advice could also be provided on the frequency and dosage of medication to be given to the animals.

It used to be that they were just limited to giving free consultations. Today, according to Jonathan Dino, marketing director of URC Agro-Industrial Group, if the hog raiser needs help, the company can send somebody to the raiser's doorstep within 24 hours. Apart from consultation on animal care and treatment, technical services are also given for free even if the pig raiser is not a buyer of Uno Feeds. These include pig tusk removal, tail docking, castration and administration or injection of medicines.

The hotline is also available for breeder referrals for those looking for gilts or boars, piglet referrals for those looking for piglets to breed or raise for fattening and viajero referrals for those selling their pigs.This free service is only available in the Luzon area.

The 24/7 hotline is located at the GBF Technical Training Center, Amang Rodriguez Avenue, Rosario, Pasig City. Farmers can call the toll-free hotline at 1-800-38-762462, dial +632-395-1170 for landline calls or +63922-8762462 for mobile calls. Send a fax to +632-3951169 or email info@robinaagripartners.com.

Name Your Pigs After Celebrities (Farm Tip 26)

RECORD keeping 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 which to retain.

A friend who runs a small piggery has christened all his 20 sows with names of celebrities. There's Marilyn, Miriam, Sharon, Pilita and so forth. Their names are prominently displayed in their pens.

This is to give them personalized identities. 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 on 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.

Monday, July 30, 2012

A Farm's Real Value: Not In The Price Tag (Farm Tip 25)

When buying a piece of land for your farm project, keep in mind what you can really do with the property.

With your present cash position, is it wise to pay P1million for one hectare? Is that really worth the amount?

Remember that the real value of a property is not its price tag. It is what you can make out of the land.

It is valuable to you if you can make it productive with the resources you have at hand. You have clear ideas how you can make the land pay for itself and for your efforts.

It is a good buy if with the capital, the know-how and labor you have, you can produce something you can sell at a reasonable profit.

We remember a farm lot subdivision in Rizal. Nobody wanted the lot that was so low-lying and steep in some portions. Except Jimmy who had a specific idea in mind. He bought the property at half the price of the other farm lots. He had a bright idea in mind. Someday he could convert a portion into a pond for growing expensive aquarium fish and unusual water plants that command a high price among landscapers. He himself is a landscaper.

Saturday, July 28, 2012

Ever-Bearing Red Criollo Cacao From Brazil

In photo is the Red Criollo cacao from Brazil which has been proven to be ever-bearing in Teresa, Rizal. As the picture shows, there are fruits of different stages of development while a lot of new flowers have emerged from the base of the tree up to the very tip of the branches.

This cultivar has also been observed to be resistant to pests and diseases. The fruits have not been attacked by fungal diseases in Teresa. This cultivar also starts bearing fruit in just two years from planting as per the experience inTeresa. Cacao is one of the crops that is being promoted by the government because there is a big shortage of cacao beans in the country. It also has export potentials.

One way to maximize production in a coconut plantation is to intercrop cacao. Cacao will do well under partial shade. The Department of Agriculture bought 1,500 seedlings of this variety last year for planting in coconut plantations in Quezon province.

Seedlings of Red Criollo are now available at the Teresa Orchard & Nursery in Teresa, Rizal. The place is very easy to find. It is along the road, 30 meters before the Teresa-Morong boundary. Teresa is the next town to Antipolo City. Call or text 0917-841-5477 or Rose at 0915-434-4216.

August 2012 Agriculture Magazine Out

Ina Valdes and Duku on the cover
Be sure to get a copy of the August 2012 issue of Agriculture Magazine which is now off the press. You will read a lot of inspiring stories about successful agri-people.

You will read, for instance, the story of three farm families who were once landless but who have systematically accumulated several hectares of their own through creative means of saving part of their revenue from each crop of corn and use the same to buy new farmland that they can use in growing more corn.

The three families include Fernando and Josephine Fuentes of Brgy. Malapag, Carmen, North Cotabato and their neighbor, Nelson Gayramon and his wife Evelyn. The third is Dennis Panes who used to be a landless employee of a lady corn farmer when he was 14 years old until he was 21. Today, he owns no less than 80 hectares which he is planting to Bioseed Healer 101, a genetically engineered corn.
How did they accumulate such big number of hectares? You will read that in the August issue of Agriculture Magazine.
There’s also a very informative article by Toto Barcelona on farm credit. The DBP, he reports, has a very client-friendly lending program for agri projects. He gives details that include contact numbers of concerned DBP staff.

  You will also love the read the story by Pete Samonte about a farmer in Bataan who makes millions from calamansi and vegetables. He is Alfredo Canoy, 58 of Orion, Bataan who cultivates just 1.5 hectares.
You will also read about new lodging-resistant corn hybrids from Pioneer Hi-Bred in the column of Alan C. Nieves. Lodging or toppling down of the corn plants drastically reduces yield. Nieves has some suggestions to avoid lodging.  His first suggestion is not to overpopulate because crowded plants have to compete for light and nutrients resulting in weaker plants that easily lodge. He recommends planting 70,000 seeds per hectare for most hybrids. The sturdier hybrids can be planted at 75,000 per hectare. There are other practical recommendations but you have to read his column.
There are also stories about indigenous plants that bear fruits for making wine and other products. One is the Sapinit or wild raspberry found in abundance in Mt. Banahaw. The other is the Arius tree or Podocarpus costalis from Batanes.
Agriculture Magazine is the most widely circulated magazine of its kind in the country. It is available in major bookstores and the nationwide outlets of the Manila Bulletin.

Two Sets of Longkong Fruits

TWO SETS OF FRUITS – Photo shows ripening fruits of Longkong lanzones and a next set of fruitlets. This is the result of the tree being sprayed with Power Grower Combo and Heavy Weight Harvest, two special formulations of fertilizer by Alfonso G. Puyat in tandem with ANAA, a plant growth regulator.  Before spraying with the special fertilizers, the tree was copiously fertilized with a balanced fertilizer and processed organic fertilizer. While the ripening fruits are harvestable in 10 days or so, the new set of fruitlets will be ripe about a hundred days later.

Organic Lechon In Dagupan City

Virgilio Aquino and his organically grown pigs for lechon.
DAGUPAN CITY is developing the production of organically grown pigs for making lechon as one of the possible livelihood projects for families in the barangays of the city. In the first phase earlier this year, cooperators in Brgy. Salisay were given 10 piglets weighing 15 to 18 kilos each, plus feeds, which they raised in their own pig pens.

 After caring for them for 21 days, the piglets had reached 30 kilos and were ready for making into lechon. The cooperator who took care of the 10 piglets had a gross profit of P5,000 in 21 days.

Emmanuel Bamba, assistant to the Dagupan City mayor, reports that the organic lechon production project has expanded to two more barangays in the city. Organic lechon may become an OTOP (one-town-one-product) project of Dagupan City.

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 frld.agrilink@gmail.com. Visitors can also pre-register their attendance through its official Facebook page at facebook.com/agrilinkPH.

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." 
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