Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Dragon Fruit Expert to Talk at QC Country Fair

DR. TEDDY F. TEPORA, the director of Extension Services at the Cavite State University in Indang, Cavite, will talk on dragon fruit production on Saturday, October 20 at the Quezon Memorial Circle in Quezon City.

He is one of the experts invited by the Cactus & Succulent Society of the Philippines to give a lecture during the Quezon City Country Fair, a joint project of CSSP and the QC government.

He has developed various processed products out of dragon fruit, including wine, cider vinegar, puree, jam, jelly and two kinds of juices. He continues to conduct research on other products that could be developed from dragon fruit, including ingredients for animal feeds.

He is shown here with his jam and two bottles of wine.


Monday, September 10, 2012

Vet Student Multiplies Native Pig

JILL HART SINGIAN, a senior vet med student at De La Salle Araneta University in Metro Manila, was gifted with a female native piglet in 2009 by a friend who migrated to Canada.

He took care of the piglet in his hometown in Guagua, Pampanga, and multiplied the same once it reached breeding age. Today, he has more than 50 head in his herd. At one time, he sold 30 native piglets from the offspring of his native pigs.

His story appears in the September 2012 issue of Agriculture Magazine published by the Manila Bulletin and edited by this blogger, Zac B. Sarian.

The story was written by Tony A. Rodriguez, a regular contributor. Agriculture Magazine is the most widely circulated magazine of its kind in the Philippines.

Friday, September 7, 2012

Ikebana Exhibit At Glorietta 5 Atrium, Sept. 21-23

The Sogetsu Ikebana Manila Branch will celebrate its 23rd anniversary with an annual exhibit entitled "Ikebana In Our Home" on September 21-23 at the Ayala Center, Glorietta 5 Atrium, Ground Floor Lobby.

The exhibition is in cooperation with the Ayala Center and Blims Fine Furniture.

Contemporary expressions in Ikebana arrangements will be showcased in different parts of the house - Living Room, Dining Room, Master's Bedroom, Girl's Room, Den/Library, Lanai and Hallway.

Blims, one of the leaders in the furniture industry for over 30 years, partners with Sogetsu Ikebana Manila Branch by providing the furniture setup while the Ikebana members will make the floral arrangements suitable for the various rooms.

The Sogetsu School is one of the very modern schools of Ikebana, a branch of which was established in Manila 20 years ago. The officers of Sogetsu Ikebana Branch are Margot Perez, director; Vangie Cheng, vice director; Shirlee Uy, treasurer; and Merly Go, secretary. The exhibit is open free to the public from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m.

Thursday, September 6, 2012

ZBS To Talk On Exotic Fruit Trees

This blogger, Zac B. Sarian, has been invited to talk on the Money-Making Opportunities in Exotic Fruit Trees on Tuesday, Sept. 11, 2012. This wll be at the breakfast meeting of the Management Association of the Philippines Agribusiness and Countryside Development Foundation at the Metro Club in Makati.

East-West's Ampalaya In Other Countries

Burmese bitter gourd grower (left) shows the fruit of
Palee to Ric Reyes in his farm in Hmawbi, Yangon
 province, Yanmar. Palee is now a favorite in Burma.
Indian farmer Rama Murthy (right) showing fruit of Palee bitter
gourd which has prominent spines. This is now a favorite in India.
Ric Reyes (right) with Indian farmer showing fruit of the white
Maya bitter gourd that's becoming popular in India.
The Kiew Yok 16 bitter gourd (ampalaya) preferred in Thailand,
Vietnam and China. It is light-green with big fruits, 680 grams each.

The current business strategy of vegetable seed producer East-West Seed Company is to promote its developed hybrids in other countries that love to eat tropical vegetables.

The fellow that has been assigned to develop new markets abroad, especially for its ampalaya and papaya, is Ric Reyes who sports the title of “Combination Market Development Manager.”

India is one country that has been responding beautifully to the introduction of improved ampalaya developed by East-West Seed plant breeders in the Philippines.

Reyes explains that the Indians prefer the variety that has prominent spines. Sometimes, it is called warty ampalaya. The Indians have their own traditional spiny variety. When Palee, the improved spiny variety developed by East-West Seed, was introduced a few years ago, the farmers were reluctant to shift to the East-West hybrid, according to Reyes.

However, when some farmers have tried it and the variety yielded as much as 300 percent more than the traditional variety, Palee has become an instant favorite. One of the farmers who is very happy with Palee is Rama Murthy of DbPhur in Bangalore. He has been planting Palee for the past four seasons and in the last cropping season he got 21 tons per acre which is about 4,000 square meters.

Murthy grossed from that area a total of 168,000 rupees equivalent to P126,000 in Philippine money. He spent only the equivalent of P30,000 for seeds, labor, fertilizer and crop protection chemicals.

From his four acres or about 1.6 hectares, Murthy estimated his net income at the equivalent of P384,000. From his income from ampalaya, Murthy has been able to provide the family’s needs and pay for all his loans. 

Most farmers in Bangalore, according to Ric Reyes, plant ampalaya because of the high income it gives. Planting is done year-round and the farmers use granite slabs for trellising. Granite is abundant and is cheap in Bangalore. Granite slabs, 9 feet long and 1 foot wide, are ideal for trellising. Two feet is buried in the ground. Watering is done by drip irrigation which is cheap because it is subsidized by the government.

One other variety that was introduced by East-West in India is a white version of Palee called Maya. The fruits are spindle-shaped with thick spines that do not easily get damaged during transport. More and more farmers in India are discovering the good income potential from white ampalaya since it commands a higher price than the green variety.

A farmer that Ric Reyes interviewed said that he gets a premium of 4 to 8 rupees per kilo over the green spiny variety. He sells his white ampalaya at the equivalent of P19.50 per kilo.

Meanwhile, the Palee variety is also becoming a favorite of Burmese farmers, according to Ric Reyes. One of the satisfied farmers he met was U Soe Oo of Hmwabi, Yangon province. 

The farmers in Myanmar like the excellent fruit setting of Palee as well as its tolerance to downy mildew disease. The fruit is also well liked by consumers.

Farmer U Soe Oo said he grossed the equivalent of P43,298 from 4,000 square meters or one acre he planted to Palee. He only spent about P16,800 to produce that amount.

In Thailand, Vietnam and China, East-West is also active in promoting ampalaya varieties but these are the light-colored ones. That’s because it is the color preferred by these markets.

There’s a vast market awaiting development for East-West Seed. Ric Reyes says that they are not only promoting their varieties. They are also disseminating management technologies to help farmers produce more income so they will continue planting more vegetables developed by East-West.

In Africa, meanwhile, Ric Reyes relates that the low-growing Red Royale papaya developed by East-West is now a favorite in Kenya.

And in Vietnam, the Suprema squash, long a favorite in the Philippines is on the way to becoming No.1.

Meanwhile, in the Philippines, East-West Seed is preparing for its 30th anniversary celebration in December. Aside from the big celebration at the company’s headquarters in San Rafael, Bulacan, in December, there will be a road show in each region starting this October.

It means that a showcase of the company’s varieties planted in a demo farm will be put up in each region and farmers will be invited to a field day. The most outstanding vegetable grower in the region will also be named and given an award.

A total out 30 outstanding vegetable farmers will be named during the grand celebration next December.

Smart Way To Fertilize (Farm Tip 32)

Well-fertilized durian is very fruitful
A doctor who owns a four-hectare durian farm in Mindanao has a smart way of applying fertilizer to his trees. When it is time to fertilize the trees after harvest, he buys all the fertilizer needed for the trees in the four hectares.

When it is time to apply, he hires at least ten workers to apply the fertilizer in just one day. He sees to it that he is personally supervising the application. That way, he is sure that the fertilizer is applied properly and in just one day.

He says that if he just relies on one worker to apply the fertilizer in the whole orchard, it could take him one week or more to do so. And the doctor is not sure if the fertilizer will be applied properly. The doctor has heard of cases where the worker does not actually apply all the fertilizer. In some instances, part of the fertilizer is sold to other farmers.

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Batanes Researcher At the Exhibition

Zac B. Sarian, left, with Dr. Roger Baltazar at the
Batanes exhibit booth at the exhibition marking
the 25th anniversary of the DA-BAR at the SN
Megamall in Mandaluyong City August 9-12.

Dr. Roger Baltazar was one of the interesting fellows we met at the exhibitions marking the 25th anniversary of the Bureau of Agricultural Research at the SM Megamall in Mandaluyong City last August 9-12.

He heads the research and extension division of the Basco State College in Batanes. He is a very active researcher, and one fruit tree that he is obsessed in studying is the Arius tree botanically known as Podocarpus costalis.

This is a tree that is indigenous to Batanes where it freely produces berry-like fruits. This tree produces abundant berries that could be made into various processed products.

While the Arius tree is also grown in other parts of the country, especially in Metro Manila and surrounding provinces, it does not produce fruits as it does in Batanes. The tree makes a good landscaping material and some bonsai hobbyists are also making it into their favorite bonsai.

One of the products from Arius that Dr. Baltazar exhibited was Arius wine. Other products included pastillas, jam, tart and others. Dr. Baltazar and his colleagues are expected to develop more products from the Arius fruits in the near future as the Bureau of Agricultural Research is about to release a P1.5 million research grant to fund further research either on new products or improvement of the current products.

Batanes is one place where production of organically grown products can be undertaken. It is isolated from the rest of Luzon and special organic produce could be commercially developed.

Monday, September 3, 2012

Natural Farming Seminar: Sept. 19-21, 2012

A three-day seminar on Natural Farming will be conducted by Andry Lim of the Tribal Mission Foundation International on September 19-21, 2012.

This will be held at Flor's Garden in Antipolo City. This is a well-developed natural farming project of Florencia "Flor" Tarriela. The place is cool, filled with fruit trees, ornamental plants, forest trees and shrubs. It has well-equipped facilities for staying overnight and for conducting seminars, retreats and the like.

Andry Lim is a pioneer in natural farming techniques in the Philippines. He has been conducting seminars on this topic all over the Philippines.

For reservation and other details of the seminar, contact Fely at 0919-556-7121.

Vangie Go & Her Exhibit At P.O.S. Show

VANGIE GO, president of the Philippine Orchid Society, is very proud of her prize-winning orchids at the P.O.S. Orchid and Garden Show at the Quezon Memorial Circle in Quezon City (Aug. 30 to Sept. 10, 2012). These include the floriferous Fire Orchid (Renanthera philippinensis) and Waling-Waling (Vanda sanderiana). She is shown here with her exhibits complete with four Major Cups for her first-prize winners. 

Saturday, September 1, 2012

DELIA ALBERT: Obsessed With Avocado

Retired Lady Ambassador Delia Domingo-Albert is obsessed with planting avocado. When we met her at the gala dinner for the 2012 Ramon Magsaysay Awardees on August 31, she said more avocados should be planted in the Philippines for processing into health and wellness products.

When she received an award as outstanding alumna of the University of the Philippines, she planted 70 avocados in her native Baguio to mark the occasion. She could have planted more had there been available planting materials.

When she was invited to be a speaker in Dumaguete City, she told the organizers that she would only accept the invitation if she would be given the chance to plant avocado in Dumaguete. That's one way of pushing her advocacy.

She says she needs a lot of grafted avocado seedlings. She lamented the fact that when she went to UP Los Banos, she was able to buy only 60 grafted seedlings.

She related that Nelson Mandela had planted thousands of avocado in South Africa and they are now extracting avocado oil which they sell at a high price to Europe, particularly in Germany.

We were quite surprised when she said she reads our columns in the Manila Bulletin. We never thought she would be interested in agriculture.

Thursday, August 30, 2012

Dragon Fruit From Susan Roces

Photo shows this blogger, Zac B. Sarian, holding one of the fruits of Dragon Fruit from Movie Queen Susan Roces.

Ms. Roces must have been so thrilled with the many fruits of the Dragon Fruit she planted in her home garden, she sent some of her harvest to friends, including this blogger, last August 28, 2012.

Her gesture has inspired the editors and staff of the vernacular magazines Liwayway, Bannawag, Bisaya and Hiligaynon to also grow their own Dragon Fruit. That was after they tasted the fruits from Ms. Roces. We promised to give them some planting materials from our farm in Teresa, Rizal.

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Jackfruit Grower On Agriculture Cover

JOB ABUYABOR is an enterprising farmer who specializes in producing jackfruit in his 7.8-hectare farm in Brgy.San Isidro, Mahaplag, Leyte. In 2003, he planted 1,000 jackfruit of the Eviarc Sweet variety in between his mature coconuts. The trees have been producing a lot of fruits in the last few years. In 2011, he harvested 40 tons. This year, he expects to harvest 70 tons, thanks to science-based techniques he has adopted like the prevention and control of the dreaded phytophthora disease. His Eviarc Sweet jackfruit produces high quality fruits in terms of sweetness and aroma. Cover photo was taken by Melpha M. Abello.

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Susan Roces Is Dragon Fruit Queen

Sliced dragon fruit from the garden of
Ms. Susan Roces which she sent to ZBS
Movie Queen Susan Roces is also Dragon Fruit Queen as far as the
editors of Liwayway, Bannawag, Bisaya and Hiligaynon magazines
are concerned. They enjoyed tasting the dragon fruits from Ms. Roces.
Editors and staff of the vernacular magazines published by the
Manila Bulletin show slices of the dragon fruit sent to this blogger
by Ms. Susan Roces, a most popular movie actress and endorser
of affordable but effective medicines. 
THIS BLOGGER, Zac B. Sarian, got the most pleasant surprise of his life today, August 28, when most respected Movie Queen Susan Roces sent us a bag full of dragon fruits she harvested from her garden. We shared the fruits with the editors and staff of the Liwayway, Bannawag, Bisaya and Hiligaynon Magazines and they certainly enjoyed eating the healthful fruit. And in fact they suggested that Ms. Roces might as well be called the new Dragon Fruit Queen.

Here's Susan Roces' letter that accompanied the fruits written in her own penmanship. Here it is:

Dear Mr. Sarian,

Let me share with you my joy from the dragon fruit harvest I got from my garden.
A few years ago a friend gave me the plant she said she got from your plant nursery in Teresa. I planted it in a pot and took good care of it yet the growth was so slow. It bloomed and gave me one fruit.

In one of the issues of your Agriculture Magazine, I saw pictures and read the article on how they were grown in the Ilocos region, in sunny areas in plots propped in poles.
To blend with the rest of the landscpe in my garden I had two plant boxes made with an entry way in the center, installed wire mesh across, filled the boxes with garden soil and dried chicken dung. I bought a few more dragon fruit plants and added them to what I originally had.
With not much care they grew so fast and lush and in a few months had lovely white blooms which later developed into fruits.
The red fruits looked so beautiful on the vine. I enjoyed looking at them first before harvesting.
Thank you Mr. Sarian for propagating and making us aware of plants and trees and how they can give us so much pleasure.
Susan Roces

Monday, August 27, 2012

Berba Is Rodius edulis From Brazil

Thanks to Joseph Reyes, he provided the botanical name of Berba which is from Brazil. He says the botanical name is Rodius edulis. When we posted it in our blog (June 17, 2012), a number of page viewers commented. One lady said she used to see a lot ot Berba in her native Sorsogon. Another commented that Berba is very common in Bicol.

Joseph Reyes said that the small fruit tree was brought by the religious orders who settled in Bicol long time ago. That is why some people call it native to the Philippines. Now we know, it is a native of Brazil and its scientific name is Rodius edulis.

ZBS To Talk On Exotic Fruit Trees Sept. 1, 2012

Zac B. Sarian showing fruit of imported pummelo variety
he harvested from a tree grown in a rubberized container.

This blogger, Zac B. Sarian, will talk on exotic fruits this Saturday, Sept. 1, 2012, at 3 to 5 pm at the Quezon Memorial Circle in Quezon City. He is one of the speakers in the lecture series in connection with the Midyear Orchid and Garden Show of the Philippine Orchid Society. The show runs from August 31 to September 10, 2012.

Sarian, with the aid of a power point, will discuss the money-making opportunities in growing exotic fruit trees. These include Abiu from Brazil, durian, rambutan, pummelo, jackfruit, mango, variegated orange, key lime, pomegranate, cacao, avocado, miracle fruit, mangosteen, imported makopa, atis, guyabano, longkong lanzones, duku lanzones and others.

Pulasan Bears Fruit In Teresa

DR. JULIO DUMO JR. and Pulasan Fruits at Teresa Orchard & Nursery
For the first time a Pulasan seedling planted seven years ago at the Teresa Orchard & Nursery in Teresa, Rizal is bearing fruit. The seedling was brought from Malaysia by Dr. Pons Batugal who used to work for an international agency in Kuala Lumpur.

When he turned over the seedling to us, he said that this Pulasan is the best variety that they have in Malaysia. Of course, we are excited to taste the Pulasan once the fruits ripen. We have not tasted one before.

A visitor to Teresa, Dr. Julio Dumo Jr., was also excited to see the fruiting Pulasan and he posed for a picture of the still green fruits. He has not also tasted this exotic fruit. He is a medical doctor who loves growing and eating fruits.

Friday, August 24, 2012

Her Salted Eggs Last For 8 Weeks!

Dr. Jovita Datuin (left) and the family of Ricky Malolos.
Ricky is a duck raiser who has adopted the salted egg
technology developed by Dr. Datuin.
Salted duck eggs made with autoclaved
clay, a technique developed by Dr. Datuin.
Dr. Datuin and her salted eggs.
One interesting agricultural researcher has come up with a technique for making salted duck eggs that have a shelf life of as long as eight weeks or two months.

That means, it can even be exported to other countries where there are overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) who love eating our native delicacies.

The researcher is Dr. Jovita Datuin who heads the Agricultural Research Center of the Department of Agriculture in Region I based in Bacnotan, La Union. She displayed her special salted duck eggs at the recent agricultural exhibit staged by the Bureau of Agricultural Research at the SM Megamall in Mandaluyong City.

Dr. Datuin explained that there are at least three other methods of making salted duck eggs. One is simply soaking the eggs in a brine solution – meaning salt and water. The shelf life of salted eggs made this way may be only two weeks.

Another way is coating the eggs with ordinary clay and salt without any curing or sterilizing of the clay. The resulting salted eggs may last for three or four weeks.

Then some people heat the clay in a vat to sterilize the material before mixing with salt for coating the eggs. Normally, the salted eggsproduced this way will last for four weeks or a little longer.

Dr. Datuin’s method is different. She uses special clay gathered from the termite mound which she sterilizes with the use of an autoclave. The microbes in the soil are killed by the extreme heat rendered by the autoclave. Which means that the material is very sanitary.

The eggs are also well selected. For one batch of making quality salted eggs in her autoclaved clay method, she recommends selecting 250 pieces of fresh, clean and crack-free eggs. The eggs should not be more than three days old.
The eggs should be candled to make sure that they are fresh, free from cracks and not stale. Wash the eggs with soap and water.

The next step is to pulverize 1.5 kg clay then heat the same in an autoclave for one hour. After autoclaving, mix the autoclaved clay with 1.5 kg salt (good for 250 duck eggs).

Next, add enough boiled but cooled water to the autoclaved clay and salt mixture. Mix well until the mixture becomes muddy in consistency. Then coat the eggs individually with the clay mixture.

After coating the eggs, arrange them in containers like a pail, big clay pot or box. Cover the same with cellophane, and cure for 20 days. This means letting the eggs in the containers stand for 20 days in a cool dry place.
After 20 days, wash the eggs thoroughly. Separate cracked eggs if there are any. The eggs are then ready for boiling in medium fire for four hours.

After boiling, cool the eggs, then arrange them in egg trays. Again, separate those with cracks.

You can now store the eggs at room temperature. They will stay in good condition for at least eight weeks.

By the way, Engr. Ricky Malolos who has a big duck farm in Sto. Tomas, Batangas, is adopting the technology developed by Dr. Datuin. He plans to produce salted eggs the Datuin way in commercial scale.

Salted eggs, especially the kind that uses the Datuin technique could be sold at a higher price than the ordinary kind. Today, the going price is P10 to P12 apiece, depending on where the eggs are sold.

A Practical Home Composter

Photo shows Arsenio "Toto" Barcelona with his portable home composter that he displayed at the recent exhibition at the SM Megamall in Mandaluyong City staged by the Bureau of Agricultural Research. The composter comes with a pack of Bokashi that is needed in composting kitchen wastes and other biodegradable materials found around the home. It is very sanitary and does not have foul smell because of the action of beneficial microorganisms that enhance the decomposition of the waste materials. In just a couple of weeks, the kitchen wastes become organic fertilizer. Barcelona is the owner of Harbest Agribusiness that distributes hybrid seeds and many other agricultural implements and inputs.

Bus Station Is Good Market

We remember a disabled soldier who decided to grow guavas in Northern Mindanao after he was discharged from the army. He was able to produce a lot of fruits. At first, he brought his harvest to the public market by the sacks. There were very few buyers, however. Many of his fruits remained unsold.

Then he thought of something bright. His brother-in-law was a sweeper in the bus station where passengers wait for the next trip. The guava grower asked his brother-in-law to display his guavas on a small table at the station. Lo and behold! His guavas became  best sellers. His brother-in-law sliced some of the fruits and packed them in transparent plastic ready for eating or bringing home. One pack only cost P10 so it was very affordable. Of course, the unsliced fruits also sold well.

Calalmansi Buyers Harvest What They Buy (Farm Tip 31)

We remember a calamansi farm owner in Samar we interviewed several years back. He had a unique way of selling his product.

Instead of harvesting the fruits and selling them in the market, he waited for the buyers to go to his farm and let them harvest what they wanted to buy. That way, he did not spend for harvesting. Best of all, all the fruits harvested were paid for.

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Workshop On GMOs on Sept. 27, 2012

A one-day workshop on Genetically Modified Crops (GMOs) will be held at the Traders Hotel on Roxas Blvd., Manila, will be held on September 27, 2012. 

This is under the auspices of the Asia-Pacific Association of Agricultural Institutions (APAARI), through its program, the Asia-Pacific Consortium on Agricultural Biotechnology (APCoAB) and the Philippine Council for Agriculture, Aquatic and Natural Resources Research and Development (PCAARRD).

The workshop is being organized to provide a platform for discussing the status and current issues on genetic modification technology for agricultural develop in the Asia-Pacific Region. The event also aims to enable discussions on R&D initiatives as well as related policy issues on GMOs towards addressing food security and environmental sustainability. Crop R&D experts, representatives of concerned institutions from both private and public sectors, and NGO and farmer-representatives are invited to participate in the workshop.


1. Dr. Randy A. Hautea, ISAAA: Global Status of Adoption of Biotechnology Crops.
2. Dr. J.L. Karihaloo, APAARI: Status of GM Crops in India.
3. Raju Barwale: Commercialization of GM Crops in India.
4. Simeon A. Cuyson, CropLife: Commercialization of GM Crops in the Philippines.
5. Dr. Nina Gloriani, BCP: NGO Initiatives on GM Crops.
6. Rosalie Ellasus: Bt Corn Production: A Farmer's Experience.. 
7. Dr. B.M. Prasanna, CIMMYT: The Cimmyt Maize Program. 
There are several speakers in the afternoon on: The Philippine Biosafety/Regulatory System; DOST Biotechnology Roadmap; DA Biotechnology Roadmap; Bt Eggplant and PRSV-R Papaya; IRRI's Golden Rice Project; and Communicating the Truths and Myths About GM Crops.

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

New Fertilizer Protects Crops From Solar Stress

Sinochem Crop Protection Philippines will launch this October 2012 a new fertilizer product that protects crops from the damage of too much exposure to sun's heat. It is called Purshade, a calcium carbonate-based fertilizer in liquid form which can be sprayed on fruits, vegetables and grain crops.

As a solar stress protectant, Purshade helps crops utilize water from the soil during drought period. Initial tests on Cavendish banana show that Purshade effectively reduced sunburn damage which is caused by extreme heat of the sun. Solar stress in the form of ultra-violet rays and infrared rays can be destructive to crops, resulting in low yields, according to Dennis Miciano, Sinochem technical manager.

In pineapple, tests showed that Purshade also reduced scalding, a physical damage that reduces the marketability of this fruit.

In corn, the use of Purshade resulted in more efficient use of water, reducing the need for irrigation by as much as 40 percent. 

Purshade has been certified by the Fertilizer and Pesticide Authority.

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.
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