Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Beekeepers Score New DA Order

Members of the Beekeepers Network Foundation Philippines (BEENET Philippines) assailed the new order of the Department of Agriculture transferring official control and regulatory requirements of the Honeybee Industry from the Bureau of Plant Industry to the Bureau of Animal Industry.
  
The transfer is by virtue of Department of Agriculture Administrative Order 14, Series of 2012 issued by Sec. Proceso J. Alcala.

BEENET members who consist of bee researchers, extension specialists and beekeepers claim that the Bureau of Plant Industry is the right agency that should handle the regulatory functions.

As in the past, the BPI has been handling the quarantining of imported bees in collaboration with UP Los BaƱos. The BPI and UPLB, they said, have strict requirements for importation of beekeeping materials. According to them, the BPI is the right agency to oversee the activities in connection with bee culture because bees are potential vectors of plant diseases.

They point out that in the UK and in the US, bees are under the Plant Protection Division of the Department of Agriculture.

Moreover, a pest of bees, the small hive beetle, also infests avocado, mango, pineapple, papaya and other fruits. It therefore makes sense that phytosanitary personnel should handle this job.

BEENET members claim that everything was in place until Sec. Alcala issued DA –AO 14 wherein the Bureau of Animal Industry (BAI) will coordinate with the National Apiculture Research, Training and Development Institute (NARTDI) which was created by law in 2000.

According to BEENET Philippines, NARTDI has not lived up to its mandate since its inception. It has failed to produce queen bees which is their number one mandate for the last 12 years. The failure of NARTDI to produce quality queen bees has forced the beekeepers to import their own which translates to higher expenses and possible losses.

Beekeeping in the Philippines is a growing industry with about 600 big and small players nationwide.

In the meantime, DA Undersecretary Emerson U. Palad relayed to the BEENET members that Sec. Alcala’s position is that “he will not revoke AO 14.”

Joel Magsaysay of Ilog Maria and founding president of BEENET said that they appreciate the fact that Sec. Alcala realizes the importance of bees in agriculture, more so the allocation of funds for bees. However, he said he can’t help wondering that now that there is funding, why is there a need to change and alter the way things have been run?

The BEENET members say that eversince, private beekeepers have not been receiving any assistance from the government, specifically the Department of Agriculture. Assistance was limited to the technical services of UP Los Banos through its Bee Program in terms of bee pest and diseases diagnosis and management, bee product analysis and pollination advisory. Other state colleges and universities also offer training.

Notable Ornamentals In Ming's Garden

This is a Clerodendrum species in the garden of former First Lady
Amelita "Ming" Ramos in Silang, Cavite. Its flowers has a special
scent reminiscent of the sampaguita. One plant aficionado bought
a lot of planting materials of this plant because according to him
it drives away termites from his garden. No scientific study to this
effect is known, however.
That's Norma Villanueva of the Philippine
Horticultural Society admiring Mucuna
bennettii in former First Lady Ming Ramos'
garden in Silang, Cavite
New Guinea Creeper in full bloom at former First Lady
 Ming Ramos' Garden in Silang, Cavite. Mucuna benettii
is its botanic name.
That's me, Zac B. Sarian, posing with the huge Alcantarea
imperialis in the garden of former First Lady Amelita "Ming"
Ramos' garden in Silang, Cavite.
When you happen to go to Tagaytay City or some other place in Cavite, try stopping at Ming's Garden in Silang, Cavite. This is a special project of former First Lady Amelita "Ming" Ramos who is a true-blue plant lover.

The place is big and there are lots of interesting flowering and foliage plants. There are many bromeliads with their intense color because of the cold climate in Silang. Prices are reasonable. A well-established New Guinea Creeper sells for P500. You don't normally find this in other plant stores.

Traditional Rice Varieties Advocate


FR. PIO EUGENIO of Trento, Agusan del Sur, is an advocate of planting traditional rice varieties. Recently, he donated 50 varieties to the members of the Benejiwan ISF Farmers Association in Benejiwan, Don Salvador Benedicto town in Negros Occidental. The Benejiwan farmers will determine for themselves which variety is best suited in their locality. Fr. Pio was invited to Negros by Ramon Uy who is promoting the production of organic rice in Negros Occidental.

Monday, September 24, 2012

New Dairy Breed Introduced Here

OBERSAHLI GOATS ON THE RANGE.
A NEW dairy breed of goat has been introduced by the government to bolster the dairy program in the country.

This is the Oberhasli which is said to have been developed in Switzerland but has also been grown commercially in the United States.


The Alaminos Goat Farm run by Rene Almeda and his two sons is one of the recipients of 18 Oberhasli doelings and a purebred buck which will be paid back to the governent in a period of three years. For every diekubg received, the Almedas will return to the government three females. And for the one buck, they will return four males.


Rene has observed that the Oberhasli goats have adapted well to the environment in Alaminos. Having a red coat, the animals are believed to be more adapted to the hot conditions in the Philippines compared to the white Saanen breed.

Saturday, September 22, 2012

Head Teacher With Ever-Bearing Cacao

MRS. CATALINA LIMBAG
MRS. CATALINA LIMBAG is all smiles as she poses with a cluster of fruits of the Brazil Red Criollo cacao at the Teresa Orchard & Nursery in Teresa, Rizal.

Mrs. Limbag is the head teacher of a technical high school in Gen. Mariano Alvarez town in Cavite. She and members of her faculty visited Teresa on September 21, 2012.


This particular cacao tree has been bearing fruit year-round since it first bore fruit three years ago. Starting two years from planting, this tree has been continuously bearing fruit.


At present, there are fruits that are about to ripen. Some are of different sizes, from the very small to medium size. Right now, there are also flowers that are emerging from the main trunk as well as in the branches above.


The Department of Agriculture bought the first batch of 1,500 seedlings two years ago for dispersal to farmers in Quezon province.Many other buyers have also acquired their own planting materials.

JOAQUIN OSTREA: Longkong & Duku Planter

JOAQUIN OSTREA with fruiting Longkong in Teresa
Provincial board member Joaquin Ostrea of La Union is an avid planter of Longkong and Duku lanzones. So far he has already planted about 300 grafted trees which, he says, will not only be for himself but for his children and grandchildren. Of course, he expects to also enjoy harvesting from his trees a few years from now.

Photo shows him posing with a fruitful Longkong tree at the Teresa Orchard & Nursery in Teresa, Rizal last September 21, 2012 when he went to pick up more planting materials of the two lanzones varieties. He is also planting now the Indian variety of black pepper, using his mahogany trees for support.

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Search On For 30 Farmer-Heroes

Happy, empowered farmers with East-West hybrid seeds.
 EAST-WEST Top Guns: Ric Reyes, Gerry Domingo and Nestor Menguita.
The nationwide search for the 30 top vegetable producers was recently launched by the East-West Seed Company which will observe its 30th anniversary in December.

Dr. Mary Ann P. Sayoc, East-West general manager, announced at the celebratory lunch the company tendered for media people last Thursday  (Sept. 20, 2012) that the company will be honoring the 30 top vegetable farmers during the company’s 30th anniversary celebration. The awardees will receive plaques and cash prizes.

Dr. Sayoc said that it is just fitting that they honor the farmer heroes who have been producing bumper crops through the use of improved seed varieties as well as the concomitant farming techniques that East-West has been disseminating.

The East-West executive pointed out that so many farmers have been empowered because of the high-yielding varieties that the company has been producing through their plant breeders and other researchers.
  
Every year, the company releases an average of five varieties with improved characteristics that include higher yield, better pest and disease resistance, improved shelf life, improved quality in taste, better transport quality and so on.

NEW SQUASH -Just last May, for instance, the company released for commercial production a new hybrid squash called Engrande. The fruit weighs an average of 3 to 4 kilos each. The skin is dark green while the flesh that is yellow orange has a mealy consistency (maligat in Tagalog).

The Engrande is claimed to have good resistance to squash diseases such as PRSV and yellow leaf curl virus which are serious diseases affecting many squash varieties in the market.

NEW PATOLA - Another new very promising hybrid vegetable is Hermosa, a patola whose fruits are short but the plant is very prolific. Having short fruits has its own advantages. The fruits are easier to store in a refrigerator, for instance. The fruits could be easier to pack for the market in standard crates.

While the fruits are shorter than most varieties in the market, the new variety is very prolific so that the grower can harvest from his plants every day or every other day, according to Nestor Menguita, head of East-West’s product management group. He added that one plant can produce as many as 40 fruits each weighing an average of 200 grams. The farmer can pick from his plants 34 times in one growing season.

2 NEW SITAO - This year, East-West has also released two outstanding varieties of yardlong sitao. One is called Pantastiko which has dark green pods. The other is called Bongga which has long green pods with red tip. Both new sitao varieties yield 15 to 20 tons per hectare, according to Menguita.

NEW CUCUMBER - A few years ago, East-West released a mini cucumber that is nice to eat as a snack food. This year, it has released Mega C cucumber which produces big fruits. This is also a high-yielding variety that produces fruits as early as 35 days from planting.

NEW WAXY SWEET CORN - Later this year, the company will also release a white waxy sweet corn called Perlas. This means it is glutinous and at the same time sweet. It could become a bestseller in the green corn market.
  

Bumper Crop Of Rambutan In Bicol

MARCELO ESCARO
Marcelo Escaro, an 88-year-old operator of a big orchard in Calabanga, Camarines Sur, is enjoying a bumper crop of rambutan this season, the harvest of which could extend to October 2012. The current price in Bicol is P60 per kilo, according to Mrs. Patria Escaro. 

Aside from rambutan, the Escaro Farm also produces a lot of mangoes and Bangkok Santol. The mango is harvested off-season (June to August) so that the price fetched is high, an average of P70 per kilo. According to Mrs. Escaro, they have over a thousand trees that are about 48 years old.

An All-Veggie Menu At Celebratory Lunch

Award-winning Chef Sau del Rosario and East-West General
Manager Mary Ann P. Sayoc at the Celebratory Lunch.
Squash blossoms stuffed with white cheese. Very delicious.


TOMATOES STUFFED WITH ORGANIC VEGGIES

THE CENTERPIECE MADE OF VEGGIES.
The East-West Seed Company treated members of media to a Celebratory Lunch at a posh place in Makati on Sept. 20, 2012. This was to familiarize members of media on the improved vegetable seeds being developed and distributed by the company in the last 30 years.

Sau del Rosario, an internationally renowned and prize-winning chef, prepared the all-vegetable dishes that included ministrone verde, vegetable kare-kare, tomato stuffed with organic veggies, malunggay pesto, Villa's pinakbet, squash flowers stuffed with white cheese, shitake mushroom, confit, baby arugula and  more. Every dish was great but we specially liked the squash blossoms stuffed with white cheese.

DR. MARY ANN SAYOC: Incoming APSA President

DR. MARY ANN P. SAYOC
DR. MARY ANN P. SAYOC is the incoming president of the Asia-Pacific Seed Association (APSA) with a membership of more than 500 people from 47 countries in the Asia-Pacific Region.

Currently, she is the General Manager of East-West Seed Company Philippines which will observe its 30th 

anniversary in December 2012.

She is also the president of the Philippine Seed Industry Association which counts as its members East-West Seed, Allied Botanical Corporation, Kaneko, Harveson, Ramgo, UP Los Banos and the Philippine Council for Agriculture and Aquatic Resources Research and Development (PCAARRD).

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

SUSAN ROCES: Agriculture Cover Girl

SUSAN ROCES on the cover of Agriculture Magazine
THE October 2012 issue of Agriculture Magazine features Movie Queen Susan Roces with her dragon fruit on the cover. She herself is a grower of dragon fruit right in her home garden.The magazine will be off the press in a few days.

Aside from Ms. Roces' personal experience in growing her dragon fruit, there's a feature on the prospects and problems in dragon fruit production.


Since the publicity regarding Ms. Roces' own story in growing her dragon fruit, so many readers have been inspired to grow their own. We should know because so many are contacting us regarding where they can get planting materials.


Ms. Roces' dragon fruit has come out in Panorama magazine of the Bulletin, Liwayway, Bisaya, Bannawag and Hiligaynon magazines. It has also come out in the Agripage of the Manila Bulletin. And it was picked up from this blog by Ricky Lo of Philippine Star, considered the No. 1 Entertainment and Showbiz journalist in the country.


Incidentally, growing dragon fruit has become an advocacy of the Cactus and Succulent Society of the Philippines headed by Dorie S. Bernabe. In fact it will be a focus in the forthcoming Quezon City Country Fair to be staged on October 18 to 21 at the Quezon Memorial Circle. The Country Fair is a joint undertaking of the CSSP and the Quezon City government.

Fruitful Longkong Tree

THIS is one of the Longkong trees sprayed with Power Grower Combo, the special fertilizer formulation developed by Alfonso G. Puyat.

Longkong is a Thai variety of lanzones which is also well adapted to Philippine conditions. This produces sweet fruits with few small seeds (sometimes seedless), and without latex.

Fruitful Longkong Lanzones at Teresa Orchard
And Nursery in Teresa, Rizal. It was one of those
sprayed with Power Grower Combo of Mr. Puyat.

Photo taken on September 19, 2012.
Planting materials are now available at the Teresa Orchard & Nursery in Teresa, Rizal. Call or text 0917-841-5477 or Rose at 0915-434-4216 for more information.

3.2-Kg Vietnam Pummelo


This is a 3.2-kg Vietnam pummelo harvested at
the Teresa Orchard & Nursery, September 19,
2012. This is the Dha Xanh variety, sweet and
juicy. Planting materials now available in Teresa.
WE just harvested several fruits of our red-fleshed Vietnam pummelo at the Teresa Orchard & Nursery in Teresa, Rizal, today Sept. 19, 2012. The fruit in photo is unusually big at 3.2 kilos. Normally, we harvest 2-kg fruits. 

The Vietnam pummelo, both the red and white-fleshed, is sweet and juicy. The flesh readily detaches from the skin.


Planting materials are now available at the Teresa Orchard & Nursery. They will also be available at our outlet at the outdoor stalls at the Agrilink 2012 which will be held on October 4-6, 2012 at the World Trade Center, corner of Gil Puyat Avenue and Macapagal Blvd., Pasay City.

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

East-West Seed's Celebratory Lunch

The East-West Seed Company is giving a "Celebratory Lunch" on September 20, 11 a.m., at G/F West Tower, One Rockwell, Rockwell Drive in Makati City.

The company has invited guests, including this blogger,  to partake of a special lunch created by celebrity chef Sau del Rosario to celebrate East-West Seed Philippines' 30 years of empowering generations of Filipino farmers.


East-West has been developing and distributing improved vegetable seed varieties to 53 countries around the world - from Africa to Asia, Australia to America, and Southeast Asia.

LUPO: Wild Delicious Indigenous Veggie

MAY UY with a basin full of Lupo ready for cooking.
During our trip to Bacolod City (Sept. 14-16, 2012) we discovered an indigenous plant that is just growing wild but is a favorite vegetable of Ilonggos.

Dionita Imet was selling some at the organic market that was recently opened at May's Organic Garden & Restaurant in Pahanocoy, Bacolod City. One big handful was being sold at P10.


Dionita said that it is very delicious when cooked with mungo or fish with broth like sinigang. She said she just picks her supply from the edges of rice fields or in corn fields.


Melpha Abello, a member of our staff at Agriculture Magazine who comes from Kalibo, Aklan, says that in her place it is called Lupo-lupo. It was a favorite of her late grandfather who died at 94. She says it gives a special flavor to soupy fish dishes.


Well, somebody should cultivate this plant for commercial purposes. We are sure it could be a bestseller in weekend markets in Metro Manila where organic products are being sold.

Close up of the Lupo at the organic market at May's Organic
Garden and Restaurant in Pahanocoy, Bacolod City.


Monday, September 17, 2012

Marvin & Pia Velayo in May's Organic Garden & Restaurant

Marvin Velayo and his darling wife Pia check the basil
and other culinary herbs at the greenhouse of May's
Organic Garden and Restaurant in Bacolod City.
May's Organic Garden and Restaurant in Pahanocoy, Bacolod City boasts a wide variety of culinary herbs that include basil, parsley, tarragon, chives, broccoli, stevia, lemon grass, asitaba and many others. 

May's Organic Garden and Restaurant is a project of Ramon and May Uy who are developing the place into a tourist destination where they can eat organically grown food, and also view how they grow their vegetables and ornamental plants. They plant fragrant rice (Pandan variety), sweet corn, banana and many more.

Mama Sita In Bacolod

ROSALINE TAN AND MAMA SITA IN BACOLOD.
The beautiful lady here is Rosaline Tan who visited May's Organic Garden and Restaurant in Pahanocoy, Bacolod City on September 14-16, 2012.

She is posing with a dwarf Mama Sita banana in the 5.3-hectare organic farm being developed into a tourist destination by the husband and wife team of Ramon and May Uy.


The Mama Sita banana was brought to the Philippines by the Mama Sita Foundation, multiplied and tested in the Philippines through the involvement of National Scientist Ben Vergara and the Philippine Council for Agriculture and Aquatic Resources Research and Development (PCAARRD).


The Mama Sita banana is now a favorite of both big and small scale planters because it produces fruits with excellent eating quality. It is also early maturing. Suckers will bear fruit in 8 months. Because it is low-growing, it is more resistant to strong winds than the tall Saba variety.

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Seminars At Agrilink 2012

AGRILINK VISITORS  AT THE GOAT EXHIBIT
Daughter of Nilo Casas and her
baby goat pet at the Agrilink Expo.
The good thing about the forthcoming Agrilink trade show is that there are free seminars on timely topics on crops, farm animals, fisheries, food processing, animal nutrition and others.

The 2012 edition of this most popular agricultural expo will be held at the World Trade Center – Metro Manila at the corner of Gil J. Puyat Avenue and Macapagal Blvd., Pasay City.

Experts from UP Los Banos will be conducting a series of seminars on postharvest handling of major fruits, animal growth promotion and safety practices for meat handling and preparation.

The seminars are in line with the event’s theme, which is “Improving Animal Productivity Beyond Medication” which will focus on good animal health practices, inputs and technologies that contribute to sustainable farming and economic stability among farmers and the Philippines as a whole.

Dr. Edralina Serrano of UPLB’s Postharvest and Seed Sciences Division of the Crop Science Cluster of the college of agriculture said they will highlight strategies in reducing postharvest losses so as to improve food availability and enhancing food security.

Dr. Serrano said that data on fruit losses after harvest are useful in creating awareness of the need for government and industry to allocate resources for programs and activities that will reduce postharvest losses, and to identify priority areas for action, and applied research and extension.

The seminar will provide baseline information on the extent and nature of postharvest losses in major fruit crops with the end in view of creating public awareness and stimulating action that will reduce huge wastage after harvest. The information will also serve as basis in the formulation of relevant government policies and programs. It also includes the factors, and handling and marketing problems affecting these losses.

In addition, experts of UPLB’s Food Science Cluster, also of the college of agriculture, will discuss safety practices in meat handling and preparation for consumption. Ma. Josie V. Sumague said that meat is a good source of protein, vitamins and minerals. Fresh meat is also highly perishable because of its high nutrient and water contents. It can be prepared into various dishes and is well liked by almost everybody.

However, meat can also be a medium of food poisoning if not handled and cooked properly. Several cases of food poisoning were reported in the past involving meat. Food poisoning means losses for the producer or manufacturer of the involved meat product due to recall, fines and litigation. Safe practices must be applied starting from growing the hogs, cattle and chicken in the farm, slaughtering, processing and preparing for consumption to assure the safety of the meat. Production of safe meat products will also mean more income and market connections for the producer or manufacturer, according to Sumague.

Further, experts of UPLB’s Animal and Dairy Sciences Cluster will talk about alternative natural compounds for animal growth promotion. Prof. Amado A. Angeles, speaker for the seminar, said: “Safe meat from animals starts with safe feedstuffs. The global pressure against the use of antibiotic for growth promotion will necessitate alternative compounds that will have similar effects on animal feed conversion efficiency and health. This seminar will focus on the current technologies that will reduce, if not completely, eliminate the use of antibiotics in animal production.

One of the seminars that will surely draw the interest of  raisers of sheep and goats is the lecture to be conducted by Rene Almeda of the Alaminos Goat Farm in Laguna.

He will be talking about his practical Salad Garden for his goats. These are actually 30 long plots that are planted to forage crops like Indigofera, napier, centrosema, ipil-ipil, madre de agua and others. Every day, they harvest the leafy twigs and branches from one plot and give them to their animals which are of the dairy type and  meat type.

One new development that is being studied closely is the use of pelletized Indigofera and malunggay leaves. Initially, Almeda says that the use of pellets is very promising. The feed is more efficient than when it is given as fresh grass or legume.

The Agrilink trade show will also feature other seminars. One is Le Club’s “Turkey Production in the World: Brooding, Growing Commercial Turkey, Biosecurity and Poultry Treatment” by Aviagen. Another is “Handpump Technology and Rural Water Supplies in Asia as a Sustainable Alternative to Conventional Lever Action Pumps” by Vergnet Hydro.

Agrilink will highlight the latest technologies and inputs that will improve efficiency, competitiveness and sustainability of the interconnected industries of food, agriculture and aquaculture.

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Dragon Fruit Expert to Talk at QC Country Fair

DR. TEDDY F. TEPORA WITH HIS JAM AND WINE.
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.

DR. TEDDY TEPORA AND DORIE S. BERNABE.

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.


KIEW YOK 16 IS REALLY VERY FRUITFUL
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 AND HER EXHIBIT AT THE 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

AMBASSADOR DELIA DOMINGO-ALBERT
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

ZAC B. SARIAN WITH 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 ON THE 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.
  
Sincerely,
Susan Roces

Monday, August 27, 2012

Berba Is Rodius edulis From Brazil

FRUITS OF BERBA AT TERESA ORCHARD & NURSERY
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.
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