Monday, August 20, 2012

Pilot is Fruit Enthusiast

Capt. Arlan Pacis, a pilot who who flies international routes for a popular airline, is a farmer at heart. He finds growing fruit trees very enjoyable, even if it is only in containers which he grows in a vacant lot in Paranaque City. His Vietnam pummelos which he bought a couple of years back are already fruiting. His Star Ruby makopa has already produced a lot of fruits, according to him during a phone conversation. 

He is looking for planting materials of the hybrid durian from Malaysia that has been fruiting at the Teresa Orchard & Nursery. Unfortunately, all the more than 50 grafted seedlings of the same were all bought by a grower from Davao. We told Capt. Pacis that we are going to multiply more of the Malaysian hybrid and we can reserve some for him.

He plans to develop a fruit farm in his hometown in Ilocos Norte.

Sunday, August 19, 2012

FEEDBACK: On Power Grower Combo

The Power Grower Combo fertilizer formulation of Alfonso G. Puyat has impressed Alex Fernandez of Bayombong, Nueva Vizcaya. More than a month ago, he bought one pack of the special fertilizer for trial in his farm of rice and fruit trees. He was excited in telling us that a Longkong lanzones tree that he sprayed all of a sudden produced a lot of long-stemmed flower spikes.

He has also sprayed his young rice plants. He reported that the sprayed rice grew very fast with sturdy stems and leaves. That's why he went back to Manila to pick up three Power Grower Combo and two Heavy Weight Tandem, a formulation that facilitates the transport of potassium processed in the leaves to the flowers and fruits. The resulting fruits are bigger, more juicy and sweeter.

In the case of rice, Power Grower Combo is sprayed 8-10 days after transplanting. This is repeated 20 to 22 days after transplanting (DAT). The Heavy Weight Tandem is first sprayed 36-38 DAT. The second spraying is done at 10 - 20% panicle exsertion or when the panicles are coming out. Ten days before the first spray of Heavy Weight Tandem, the field should be side-dressed with chemical fertilizer (26-28 DAT) consisting of a mixture of 10 kg of 0-0-60 (muriate of potash)  and 1 kg. urea per 1,000 square meters of rice field.

These special fertilizer formulations are available at the Teresa Orchard & Nursery in Teresa, Rizal. Text or call 0917-841-5477 for more information.

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Processed Onion In The Ilocos

Dr. Wilhelmina Castaneda showing
a pack of Miki noodles with garlic flavor.
DR. LUCIANA CRUZ  with shallot pickle.
Attending agricultural exhibits is really rewarding. You meet a lot of interesting people and you learn about their interesting products or technologies.

Just like, for instance, at the exhibits staged by the Bureau of Agricultural Research (BAR) last August 9-12 at the SM Megamall in Mandaluyong City.

There we met for the first time a townmate who has been doing research on shallot or what Ilocanos popularly call “lasona” or native onion. Elsewhere, the same onion is called “sibuyas Tagalog.”

Our townmate from Batac City is Dr. Luciana Torres-Cruz who is a home technology graduate from  Mariano Marcos State University (MMSU), masters in Extension Education from UP Los Banos and another expertise for her PhD degree. Of course, she was excited to tell us about the products of her research project on native onion funded by BAR.

Through the BAR funding, she was able to develop technologies that could be adopted by investors in commercializing processed shallot products. These technologies are helpful not only to the investors in processing but also to the farmers who grow native onion.

There are times when farmgate price is so low that it will be a losing proposition for the farmer. Normally, the farmer has to sell his crop not long after harvest because without proper postharvest handling, the onion could spoil. Hence, the processing techniques developed by Dr. Cruz would be very helpful.

The products that Dr. Cruz has developed include shallot pickle which could be used as an appetizer. She says that she has developed an even more delightful appetizer which she calls confit. To produce this, the bulbs are cooked under very slow fire until they are almost totally dry. The other products are shallot chips and powder. These are also useful for homemakers in preparing their favorite dishes that require onion flavoring.

Of course, the research also included the improvement of production techniques in the farmers’ fields. The techniques include the use of organic fertilizer as well as organic biopesticide.

One biopesticide that has impressed Dr. Cruz is Antica, the first organic fungicide that was certified by the Fertilizer and Pesticide Authority (FPA). Antica does not only have fungicidal properties, it also has bactericidal effects. It was developed by Engr. Gigi Zaballero and is produced by Ahcil Laboratories in Cebu.

Dr. Cruz said that Antica is really effective against bulb rot and tangle top which are two serious diseases of onion in the Ilocos and elsewhere. She reported that the plants sprayed with Antica produced 20 tons per hectare. On the other hand, the counterpart plants that were sprayed with the usual pesticides used by the farmers yielded only 10 tons.

She said the farmers are really convinced about the effectiveness of Antica in growing their crops. Unfortunately, she said, Antica is not readily available in the Ilocos. It seems there are no distributors in the area.

Another researcher from DA Region 1 that we met at the exhibits was Dr. Wilhelmina P. Castaneda, another townmate who is also undertaking a research project funded by BAR. Her subject of research is garlic, both for improving production techniques in the farm as well as developing products that use garlic.

One of the little known products developed by Dr. Castaneda is ready-to-cook “miki” which looks like flat noodles. The product already has powdered garlic and some other flavoring. Miki is a long-time favorite of Ilocanos that is usually cooked during special occasions. But the old way is kneading the dough and then cutting the same into small strips with a pair of scissors.

DR.LUCIANA CRUZ (2nd from left)  explains to a customer,
Maribel Soriano, the uses of her processed shallot while
Dr. Wilhelmina P. Castaneda at right looks on.

Mama Sita Suckers At Teresa

Suckers of Mama Sita banana at the Teresa Orchard & Nursery
in Teresa, Rizal. They are ready for planting.
So many farm enthusiasts have been looking for planting materials of Mama Sita banana. Now, suckers that are ready for planting are available at the Teresa Orchard & Nursery in Teresa, Rizal.

Mama Sita banana was introduced from Thailand a few years ago. It has proven to be highly desirable. Its fruits are nice to eat as fresh or as cooked. Ripe fruits are nice to fry. One stallholder in Tarlac loves to make banana-cue out of Mama Sita. The fruit is very sweet.

Mama Sita produces a big bunch. The plant starts flowering in just 8 months from planting. The banana blossom is big and is very good for cooking as vegetable.

Teresa Orchard & Nursery is very accessible. It is along the road, about 30 meters from the boundary of Teresa and Morong, Rizal. It is on the right side of the road, coming from Antipolo. Teresa is the next town to Antipolo. You may call Rose Banzuela for more information of the suckers that are available at 0915-434-4216.

Antica Very Effective vs Onion Diseases

A research study in the Ilocos region found that Antica, the organic biopesticide developed by Engr. Gigi Zaballero of Ahcil Laboratories, is very effective against tangle top and bulb rot in shallot or the so-called native onion or "lasona" in Ilocos and sibuyas Tagalog in other regions.

Dr. Luciana Torres-Cruz of the Department of Agriculture, Region 1, said that Antica was sprayed in two cropping seasons by 58 farmer cooperators in Ilocos Norte and Ilocos Sur. The onions sprayed with Antica yielded 20 tons per hectare. On the other hand, those sprayed with other chemicals usually sprayed under farmers' practice yielded only 10 tons per hectare. The research study was funded by the Bureau of Agricultural Research of the DA.

Dr. Cruz said the farmers are really convinced by the good results of spraying with Antica. The big problem is that Antica is not readily available in the Ilocos Region. It seems there are no distributors yet in the North. Antica is manufactured by Ahcil Laboratories in Cebu City.

Thursday, August 9, 2012

Last 2 Days of BAR Exhibits - Aug. 11 12, 2012

special salted duck eggs at the

DA-BAR exhibits at the SM
Megamall in Mandaluyong City
DA-BAR Director Nicomedes Eleazar
Dr. Heraldo Layaoen and  Tonito Arcangel
pose with SPV 422 sweet sorghum at the
DA-BAR exhibits at SM Megamall.
You have Saturday and Sunday (August 11 and 12, 2012) to visit the product exhibits of the Bureau of Agricultural Research at the Mega Trade Hall of SM Megamall in Mandaluyong City. The event marks the 25 anniversary of BAR, an agency of the Department of Agriculture.
The exhibits and technology forum started last Thursday and will end
tomorrow (Sunday, August 12). The forums consist of two sections. One is technical whereas the other is popular or non-technical.

Today, at 10:30 to 11:30, the technology forum will be tackled by Dr. Rafael Espino who will discuss “Biochemical Genetic Markers as a Tool in the Identification of Onion Varieties.” Espino is a scientist from UP Los Banos.

The nontechnical topic will be on photography which will be discussed by Antonni Cuesta of Canon Philippines.

From 11:30 to 12:30 p.m., Josephine Ramos will discuss “Cacao and Coffee: Evolving with the Emerging Consumption Trends.” Ms. Ramos is from the Ka Tribu Ug Ang Lasang Foundation, Inc.

The popular counterpart will be discussed by Dr. Fernando Sanchez Jr. of UP Los Banos. He will talk on “Edible Landscaping: The Artistic Technique of Food Crop Production.”

From 2 to 3 p.m., the technical discussion will be conducted by Dr. Emilio Cruz of Central Luzon State University. He will talk on “Commercialization of 3-Way Cross Goats for Meat Production.”

At the same time, Zac B. Sarian, agriculture editor of Manila Bulletin and owner of Teresa Orchard & Nursery, will discuss his experiences in growing and propagating Exotic Fruit Trees. He will talk about the money-making potentials of different fruit trees that include pummelos, durian, Abiu, latexless jackfruit, imported makopa, variegated orange, Longkong and Duku lanzones, different mango varieties and others.

From 3 to 4 p.m., Ma. Salvacion Ferrer will discuss “Updates on Seaweed Farming in the Philippines.” She is from the National Fisheries Research and Development Institute.

In another venue, at the same time, Dr. Jonathan Nayga of Isabela State University will talk on “Harnessing Innovative Meat Products from Chevon and Mutton.”

Sunday will be devoted to the closing and awarding ceremonies.

Of course, the exhibits will still be there the whole day for visitors to see and to buy various products from different regions of the country.

You might want to see the exhibit of black pigs by the National Swine & Poultry Research and Development Center in Tiaong, Quezon. You will meet Dr. Flomella S. Alilio-Caguicla who can tell you about the money-making possibilities of the native black pig. They are studying the different types of black pigs from the North and other parts of the country. They are continually doing selections that could result in highly desirable traits.

Raising the black native pig for lechon making is one very good possibility. The native pig grows much slower than its white counterparts. It may take four months to raise it to lechon-size of 30 kilos. That is an advantage because the resulting lechon will be more tasty because the pig would have developed more muscle. The skin would be thicker so that when it is roasted, the skin is more crisp. (It may be noted that the white pig usually attains lechon size in 45 days from birth. That means, it has not developed much muscle and the skin is thin.)

You might also want to talk to Engr. Antonio Arcangel who is the pioneer in commercializing non-biofuel products from sweet sorghum. If you are lucky, you might be able to meet Dr. Jovita Datuin with her special salted duck eggs using a highly hygienic way or processing.

  Another booth you might want to see is that of IRRI. They have samples of submergence rice seeds for trial by farmers. Look for Joyce Pongan Avance and her colleagues from IRRI.

  Better attend the exhibits and lectures today. You will be happy you did.

Endear Yourself To Your Customers (Farm Tip 30)

We remember the late David Remandaban of Tacloban City who produced a wide variety of fruits, vegetables, fish and livestock. He ran the very popular Anibong Farms that had a stall in the Tacloban market manned by his wife and daughter-in-law.

During fiestas and Christmas, other producers would normally jack up their prices to take advantage of the big demand. But not David Remandaban. He maintained his usual prices during those special occasions.

There are only a few days of fiestas and Christmas during the year, he said. Why should I take advantage of my regular customers? After all, I owe my success in farming to them, he stressed when we interviewed him in 1989.

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

He Maintained Just A Few Bulls (Farm Tip 29)

We remember a rancher we interviewed many years ago. Despite the fact that he had 200 female breeders, he maintained only five bulls which he used to breed hard-to-breed females.

He depended more on artificial insemination for a number of good reasons. He had a catalog of prize-winning bulls in the US and elsewhere. Anytime he wanted semen from any of them, he could easily order several vials at just $25 to $30 per vial.

It is much more practical to buy the semen than to buy the whole bull, he said. A champion bull may not even be for sale, but its semen is.

A top bull could cost $50,000 or more, so why bother buying the whole bull?

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 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

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.
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