Monday, October 22, 2012

SM Veggie Training In Lucena City

The graduates look at vegetables for sale
 at SM Supermart
SM Foundation continues its Farmers Training Program in vegetable production. The latest batch, the 44th Batch of Kabalikat sa Kabuhayan trainees, finished their 12-week hands-on training in Lucena City.

The graduates received their certificates of completion in ceremonies at the Events Center of SM City Lucena followed by a harvest festival at Sitio Lilay, Brgy. Ibabang Talim, Lucena City.

Two previous trainees were invited to share their experiences and express their gratitude for the training they received. One of them was Normito Daya, 68, of Brgy. Isabang, Lucena City. He started his farm business after retiring from his job as internal security at the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas. At first, he planted corn. But when he realized that he did not make money from corn, he trained under the Kabalikat sa Kabuhayan program and shifted to high-value crops.

He planted tomatoes, eggplant, string beans and green bell peppers. He also started planting Red Lady papaya. He is so happy relating his experiences. He said he has more than recovered his investment and, in fact, he has shared some of his profits to his son. He said he learned a lot from the KSK program.

Cristie Angeles (front, middle) and Toto Barcelona
(at the back) pose with two trainees with their upo

Friday, October 19, 2012


SERAPION S. METILLA poses with the Dragon Fruit Queen SUSAN ROCES before the Vertical Landscape exhibit of Mett.

Well-loved movie actress Susan Roces was a special guest at the opening of the Quezon City Country Fair and Garden Show staged by the Cactus and Succulent Society of the Philippines (CSSP) in cooperation with the QC administration.

Metilla's Vertical Garden Landscape won First Prize in the Succulent Category. Mett is a multi-talented plant arts practitioner and professor.


IRENE BERNAL is the winningest participant in the Quezon City Country Fair and Garden Show (October 16-21) at the Quezon Memorial Circle in Quezon City.

Her Sansevieria Boncel was adjudged the Best Plant in the Succulent Category and Best Plant in Show.

On the other hand, her Uebelmaniana pectinifera was adjudged the Best Cactus in the Cactus Category. She has other first prizes in the other categories.

Irene is a member of the Cactus and Succulent Society of the Philippines headed by Dorie S. Bernabe which is staging the Country Fair and Garden Show in cooperation with the QC acministration.
Best Cactus in the Show

Monday, October 15, 2012

R-5 Rambutan in Teresa Orchard & Nursery

The R-5 Rambutan variety is in season at the Teresa Orchard & Nursery and Myrna Magalong and Dorie S. Bernabe really enjoyed partaking of the luscious fruits.

The R-5 Rambutan was the first prize winner in the Fruit Search in 1996 which was entered by Jaime Goyena, a UP Los Baños graduate.

The fruit is big and bright red when ripe. The flesh is very sweet, fine-textured and readily separates from the seed.

Myrna, a successful businesswoman, is planting the R-5 in her farm in Silang, Cavite. Dorie S. Bernabe, president of the Cactus & Succulent Society of the Philippines and a property owner in Pansol, Calamba City, is also planting some.

The two friends visited Teresa Orchard & Nursery in Teresa, Rizal last October 12. They are shown in photo with newly harvested R-5 Rambutan.

Sunday, October 14, 2012

An Incentive Scheme (Farm Tip No. 33)

Many years back, we remember interviewing Dr. Daniel S. Bolong of Paraoir, Luna, La Union. Up to now, he has a diversified farm raising poultry, swine and various crops. We remember an incentive scheme he implemented to help his poultry caretakers earn extra money.  You might want to copy or modify it for your own farm project.

In 1986 he thought of helping his workers earn more money by doing an extra job - taking care of a calf until it is big and fat enough for slaughter in a year or less. The animal is tethered right on the farm where the employee works, using improved grasses and legumes as feed. These forage crops abound in all the farm projects that are a few kilometers apart.

The worker does not spend anything. He just sees to it that the animal is fed and properly managed. When the animal is turned over to the worker, a value is indicated based on the current price obtaining in the market. When the animal is finally sold, the original value is deducted from the selling price and what is left is divided equally between Dr. Bolong and the caretaker.

During the first two years of the incentive scheme, the workers made about P3,500 to P4,000 per animal. This is no small amount for an ordinary farm worker in the province. That is like giving him an extra income of P300 a month. If he takes care of two head at a time, that would even give him a much better side income.

Saturday, October 13, 2012

African Banana In Teresa Orchard & Nursery

 ZBS,  Myrna Magalong and Dorie S. Bernabe.
A NEW banana from Africa is now growing very well at the Teresa Orchard & Nursery in Teresa, Rizal. Kasirakwe is its varietal name.

The plant in photo was planted as a tissue-cultured seedling on March 31, 2012 and is now very robust (photo taken Oct. 12, 2012). The trunk or pseudostem is dark or close to black.

We have been told that the fruits resemble the shape of the Latundan but we have not tasted it yet. We are looking forward to tasting the fruits in a few more months.

Two suckers have already emerged and we will separate them as soon as they are more than two feet tall.

In photo are your blogger, Zac B. Sarian, Myrna Mabalong and Dorie S. Bernabe. The two ladies visited the nursery on October 12. 

Thursday, October 11, 2012

ZBS Invited To Media Workshop In Vietnam

YOUR BLOGGER, Zac B. Sarian, has been invited to participate in the Syngenta Media Workshop to be held on October 29-31, 2012 in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam.

Andrew McConville, the company's head of corporate affairs for Asia-Pacific, said the participants will discuss topics such as:
  • Sustainable agriculture - increasing yields while protecting the land's resources 
  • Working with smallholder farmers and benefiting rural economies 
  • Biotechnology and its role in agriculture 
  • Integrated solutions and the need for a complete toolbox of modern technologies.
Aside from indoor discussions, the program includes a field trip to better understand corn as a key crop for both Vietnam and the Asia-Pacific. McConville said we will have the opportunity to interact with local corn growers. We will also learn about Syngenta's contribution to corn production not only in Vietnam but also elsewhere in the world.

He assures that this important topic of sustainable agriculture, set against the exciting story of Vietnam's agricultural growth, will provide a unique experience for us.

Fast-Growing Mangosteen Seedlings In Teresa

Mangosteen seedlings are usually very slow-growing. But at the Teresa Orchard & Nursery in Teresa, Rizal, the mangosteen seedlings are growing fast.

The reason is that they have been sprayed with the Power Grower Combo, a special fertilizer formulation by Alfonso G. Puyat, which was recently approved by the Fertilizer and Pesticide Authority (FPA).

After three sprayings at 10 days interval, the seedlings developed new leaves that are big and glossy. Many of them also developed branches even if they are only over a foot tall.

In the photo, the two gentlemen at left are Jovito "Jun" Hizon and  Menzi Farms president Onofre Griño while at right is this blogger, Zac B. Sarian. The mangosteen seedlings are very robust and healthy. There are still more than 600 of them remaining in the nursery although many of them have been sold.

Jun and Onofre used to be both employees in two different companies of the late Gen. Hans Menzi. Jun is now retired and is doing his farming in San Miguel, Bulacan. Together with his wife Alice, he recently bought some planting materials of exotic fruit trees for his farm. Griño, on the other hand, manages a big mangosteen plantation in Mindanao, among other things. He said they  will soon make jam out of the flesh and wellness products out of the thick fruit skin.

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Cariñosa Papaya is Prolific

Cariñosa has yellow flesh.
Cariñosa produces 37 to 57 fruits per plant.
The East-West Seed Company has come up with a new hybrid papaya called Cariñosa. It is a yellow-fleshed hybrid that is prolific, each plant bearing 37 to 57 marketable fruits, each weighing 1 to 2 kilos. It has a potential yield of 80 tons per hectare.

East-West claims that Cariñosa is tolerant to ringspot virus and is easy to grow. First harvest starts at 6-7 months after transplanting.

Farm-ready seedlings are available at East-West nursery in San Rafael, Bulacan.

MYRNA MAGALONG: Dragon Fruit Grower

MYRNA MAGALONG, a successful businesswoman and a member of the Cactus & Succulent Society of the Philippines, is also a Dragon Fruit planter. Her farm is in Pulong Bunga, Silang, Cavite.

Incidentally, the Cactus & Succulent Society is advocating the planting of more Dragon Fruit as a source of livelihood that will also help ensure food security in the country.

In this connection, Dragon Fruit will be given special focus at the Quezon City Country Fair that will be held on October 17 to 21 at the Quezon Memorial Circle in Quezon City. The event is under the auspices of the Cactus & Succulent Society headed by Dorie S. Bernabe in collaboration with the Quezon City administration.

In the morning of Saturday, October 20, Dr. Teddy F. Tepora, the Dragon Fruit expert from the Cavite State University, will conduct a seminar on Dragon Fruit production at the show site. Entrance to the Country Fair and the seminar is free. On the same day, at 2 p.m., this blogger, Zac B. Sarian, will conduct a lecture on Money-Making Opportunities in Exotic Fruit Trees. We'll see you there!

Tuesday, October 9, 2012


A lot of farm machines were displayed at the recent Agrilink Trade Show at the World Trade Center in Pasay City.

One notable machine is the rice transplanter made in Korea and distributed now in the Philippines by Fit Corea Trading Phils., Inc. with main office at Wecan Global, #38-C West Avenue, West Triangle, Quezon City with email at:

The company has outlets in Pangasinan, Bulacan, Cagayan Valley, Tabuk in Kalinga and Zambales.

The machine makes transplanting rice easier and faster, saving on labor cost. The machine also  makes possible precision planting resulting in uniform distancing as well as better growth of the plants.

SEARCA Director Gil C.Saguiguit Jr. Reappointed

Dr. Gil C. Saguiguit Jr. has been reappointed as Director of the Southeast Asian Regional Center for Graduate Study and Research in Agriculture (SEARCA).

SEARCA is hosted by the Philippine government and is based in Los Baños, Laguna. Dr. Saguiguit  was unanimously endorsed by the SEARCA governing board to Education Secretary Armin A. Lujistro. The governing board is composed a representative each of the 11 member countries of the Southeast Asian Ministers of Education Organization (SEAMEO). Luistro in turn confirmed Dr. Saguiguit's nomination and endorsed his reappointment to the SEAMEO Council (SEAMEC), the highest policy making body of SEAMEO.

Dr. Saguiguit who just completed his first three-year term as SEARCA director, has been cited for his efforts in focusing the Center's programs on key concerns in agriculture of the SEAMEO countries, thus increasing its relevance to the region.

He has also ensured that SEARCA's activities benefit the Philippines through technical assistance to national agencies, including the Departments of Education (DepEd), Agriculture (DA), Agrarian Reform (DAR), and Environment and Natural Resources (DENR), and Commission on Higher Education (CHED). 

His jucidious management of the Center's financial resources has also been lauded by the governing board. Dr. Saguiguit has received many distinctions, including those from foreign governments, the latest being the Chevalier de l'Ordre duMerite Agricole (Knight of th Order of Agricultural Merit) awarded by the French government.

Monday, October 8, 2012

Paraoakan Chicken Sold Like Hotcake

Ernie Abalos' organic Paraoakan eggs were a
bestseller at Agrilink at P10 apiece.

These are the Paraoakan chickens displayed by Ernie
Abalos at Agrilink. They were bestsellers. Among the 
big buyers at P700 apiece were the fighting cock breeders
who want to cross the same with their so-called Texas
chickens. Paraoakan is a native of Palawan and is 
much taller than most Philippine native chickens. 

Sunday, October 7, 2012

Certified Organic Ranch In Masbate

RANDY FAVIS manages Fortuna Ranch, the first ranch in the Philippines to be certified as organic by Organic Certification Center of the Philippines (OCCP). The farm is located in Tigbao, Milagros, Masbate.

The Fortuna Ranch, a family corporation, was started  by Randy in 1976 soon after he finished an agriculture course, major in animal husbandry, at the Xavier University in Cagayan de Oro.

The 900-hectare ranch is stocked with 600 American Brahmans from the US and Australia. To prevent or control parasite infestation without treating the animals with chemicals, they are pastured by rotation in  70-hectare paddocks.

The animals are divided into three herds of 200 each and each herd is pastured by rotation on four paddocks. In each paddock, the animals are grazed for 7 to 10 days before they are transferred to the next.They graze on Stylo, Humidicola and native forage grasses. Favis observes that native grasses are also relished by the animals.

Fortuna Ranch produces both animals for breeding and for slaughter. The beef is now sold in Landmark in Makati and Trinoma in Quezon City. One 280-gram pack of rib eye costs P350. The steak also comes in New York cuts. Randy Favis can be contacted at 0920-926-5411.

Big & Thick-Fleshed Sweet Peppers

DORRY  FADRIQUELA is showing here two hybrid sweet peppers being distributed by Allied Botanical Corporation. The red one is called Paranto while the yellow is called Mazurka. Both produce big fruits that are thick-fleshed, weighing 200 to 300 grams each and are excellent for salads and pizza. These are best grown under greenhouse, such as those in Tagaytay City. Dorry's contact number is 0922-281-0041.

Saturday, October 6, 2012

Sheep Raiser Diversifies Into Exotic Pets

Francisco Alcasid and his white peacocks.
FRANCISCO ALCASID who is well known as a sheep producer has branched out into exotic pets. 

He displayed some of them at the three-day Agrilink trade show which ended on October 6, 2012. In photo, he is shown with his white peacocks in the outdoor exhibits..

Aside from peacocks, he raises imported pheasants, Guinea fowl, mandarin ducks, wild ducks, wild pigs, deer, imported turkeys, goats, giant gourami and others.

Alcasid and a brother also raise 30,000 ducks for salted egg production. The salted eggs are distributed all over Metro Manila supermarkets. Their projects are all found at the Villa Rufina Farm Resort in Pansol, Calamba, Laguna.

Abalos Brahmans Sold At Agrilink

Ernesto Abalos (right) is briefing provincial Board Member Victor
B. Valdepeñas and his wife Nonie regarding the American Brahman
bulls that they are buying.
ERNESTO ABALOS who raises American Brahmans in his farm in San Mateo, Rizal was the only fellow who bothered to exhibit his three prized American Brahman bulls at the just-concluded Agrilink trade show  (Oct. 4-6, 2012) at the World Trade Center in Pasay City.. 

He said he never thought that he would be able to sell even just one but he exhibited them anyway. Lo and behold! Provincial board member Victor B. Valdepeñas of Isabela came along just a few hours before the expo's closing time and immediately he closed the deal to buy not only the three bulls on display but also a fourth one from the Abalos farm.

Of course Ernie was very happy. Aside from his Brahmans, he was able to sell a lot of imported goats, turkeys, Paraoakan native chicken, organic eggs, Davao pummelo fruits and others. 

Fruits & Veggies At Agrilink

ALLIED BOTANICAL CORPORATION  showcased its outstanding varieties of high-value crops that included vegetables and fruits like melons and watermelons at the Agrilink trade show that ended in the evening of October 6, 2012 at the World Trade Center in Pasay City.

Among the vegetables showcased are high-yielding sitao, peppers (the hot and sweet varieties), salad tomatoes, cucumber, squash, French beans and many more.

In Photo is agriculturist Rowena Bienes holding the sliced fruit of a new watermelon variety that is comparatively smaller than most varieties in the market. Being small has the advantage of being easier to sell in the market. Rowena is executive assistant at Allied Botanical Corp.

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Bags, Etc. From Tikog Grass

Teresita Policarpio, owner of TAPS Handmade Products in Guingauan, Tanauan, Leyte, shows some of the bags that her company manufactures using Tikog, a grass with triangular stem that grows in swampy areas. The grass is harvested, dried, and woven into mats which are then crafted into functional products like bags, wallets and accessories that are supplied to outlets in Manila. The Department of Science and Technology helped her in improving the quality of her products which were displayed at the recent Visayas Science and Technology Fair in Tacloban City.

Instant Javier Salabat Sold Thru Andok's

Sandy Javier
Leonardo “Sandy” Javier Jr., mayor of Javier town in Leyte and owner of the ubiquitous Andok’s Litson Manok, shows ginger tea and ginger salabat which are now commercially processed in his town. The common service facility for the manufacture of the two ginger products was put up with the technical help of the Department of Science and Technology. The Javier salabat is now marketed nationwide through Andok’s outlets, providing livelihood to members of the Javier Instant Salabat Producers and the ginger growers in seven barangays of the town.

Gen. Recaredo Sarmiento's Fruitful Duku Lanzones

Gen. Recaredo Sarmiento and granddaughter
Reese admiring their fruitful Duku lanzones.
GEN. RECAREDO SARMIENTO'S 8-year-old Duku lanzones tree has been bearing fruit since  2009 in their Ouan's Worth Farm Resort in Lucena City. He and his 8-year-old granddaughter Reese are shown here admiring the big bunches of luscious fruits.

Unfortunately, Gen. Sarmiento laments, after a short dry spell in the middle of August, heavy rains overtook the unharvested fruits which caused their splitting. Immediately, in the last week of August, 30 kilos of the sweet Duku lanzones fruits were harvested to avoid further damage. Clearly, the fruits cracked because of the excessive rainwater absorption by the roots during the heavy downpour due to the unpredictable weather pattern this year. Blame this on climate change.

Three weeks after the fruits were harvested, plenty of flower spikes (racemes) appeared on the trunk and branches of the same Duku tree which could be ready for harvesting by Christmas or New Year. The lanzones trees in the orchard are being fertilized with Heavy Weight Tandem fertilizer developed by Alfonso G. Puyat. This formulation facilitates the transfer of the processed nutrients in the leaves to the developing fruits so that they become bigger, sweeter and more uniform in size.

Mr. Puyat has another formulation, Power Grower Combo, which hastens dramatically the growth of seedlings. It also makes old trees more robust in preparation for fruit bearing.

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Anglo Nubian Bucks Turned Over at Agrilink

IN photo are 10 Anglo Nubian bucks from the Alaminos Goat Farm (AGF) of Rene Almeda and his two sons Art and Totie that will be turned over on October 4 to the Quezon Province Multi-Purpose Cooperative headed by Guillermo Argosino. This will be at the opening day of AgriLink 2012 at the World Trade Center in Pasay City.

The bucks will be used as breeders by the Quezon farmers. The animals are part of an advance repayment scheme of the Bureau of Animal Industry's AGRIPES Program which is short for "Accelerating the Genetic Resource Improvement Program for Beef Cattle and Small Ruminants." 

Earlier, Alaminos Goat Farm was the recipient of 18 doelings and one buck of the Oberhasli dairy goat breed from the US. For every female Oberhasli, AGF will return to the government three females and 4 males for the one buck received. Repayment is within three years.

Thursday, September 27, 2012

Starting 'Em Young On Organic Gardening

In Bacolod City, school children learn early about organic food production and gardening. In photo are Grade 2 pupils from Colegio de San Agustin who attended a seminar on how plants grow with the aid of organic fertilizers, light and water. The lecture was conducted by David Patilla, a technician of May’s Organic Garden and Restaurant in Pahanocoy, Bacolod City. After the lecture, the pupils go around to observe the plants and animals that are showcased in the 5.3-hectare agri-tourism destination and training center owned by Ramon and May Uy. 

Dwarf Ilang-Ilang In Teresa

The dwarf Ilang-Ilang imported from Thailand is being propagated by marcoting at the Teresa Orchard & Nursery in Tereesa, Rizal.

This is a low growing flowering ornamental that produces fragrant flowers. It is highly suitable for growing in containers. With adequate fertilization with processed organic fertilizer like Durabloom, it will produce flowers most months of the year.

Marcots about three feet tall sell for P250 each.

Sayote In Benejiwan

Sayote is one of the crops that grow well in the cool mountain barangay of Benejiwan, Don Salvador Benedicto town in Negros Occidental. Photo shows the lush growth of this vine vegetable beside the headquarters of the Benejiwan ISF Farmers Association. The sayote is prized not only for its fruits but also for its tender tops which make a delicious salad.

Members of the ISF Farmers Association grow rice, bananas and vegetables. They are producing the traditional rice varieties the organic way.

The Benejiwan ISF Farmers Association is headed by Nimfa Benetua, a very active lady farmer.

Wednesday, September 26, 2012


YOUR BLOGGER, Zac B. Sarian, is joining some 50 farmers and agri-supply distributors from Tarlac and Pampanga in an educational farm tour (Lakbay Aral) in Surabaya, Indonesia from Sept. 27 to October 1, 2012. The trip is under the auspices of Universal Harvester, Inc. headed by Ms. Milagros Ong-How, executive vice president of the company.

The group will visit research facilities of a fertilizer company as well as farms in Surabaya, Malang and other places. We will update you through this blog as soon as possible and in the newspaper and magazines of the Manila Bulletin.

We are really thankful for your interest in visiting this web site. On Sept. 25, 1,077 page viewers visited this site. Thank you!!!!

More On The New Oberhasli Dairy Goat

The Oberhasli buck
A new genetic improvement program for goats, sheep and beef cattle is responsible for introducing new breeds in the Philippines. The program is called AGRIPBES for short, or Accelerating the Genetic Resource Improvement Program for Beef Cattle and Small Ruminants.
The program is being funded by the USPL-480 with Dr. Baltazar P. Mateo as project manager.

One goat breed that has been introduced in the country is a breed called Oberhasli. It is a dairy animal originally from Switzerland but which is now being commercially produced in the United States. The breed which has chamois bay color is being introduced in the Philippines for the first time. Because of its color, it is believed that it is better adapted to the hot and humid conditions in the tropics than the white Saanen dairy goat.

One of the recipients of Oberhasli is the Alaminos Goat Farm (AGF) operated by Rene Almeda and his two sons Art and Totie. AGF was loaned 18 doelings and one buck. Under the terms of the loan, the Almedas will pay the government three female offspring for every doeling and four males for the one buck in three years.

Rene reports that the Oberhasli animals have adapted very well to the Alaminos Salad Garden (ASG) feeding program. They are enjoying every minute of their stay, nibbling the pelleted goat’s feed with shredded Indigofera to their heats’ content. They love to eat the fresh forage grass from the ASG, too.

The Alaminos Salad Garden, by the way, consists of 30 long plots planted to different forage species, including napier, Indigofera, centrosema, madre de agua and others. Every day, the leaves of one plot are harvested and fed to the confined animals. After harvesting the 30th plot, the first plot would be ready for harvesting again.

Indigofera, a leguminous introduced tree, is particularly important in the feeding of the Alaminos goats. The fresh leaves are fed to the goats. At the same time, the leaves are also dried and shredded and then pelletized.

Rene says that the chamois bay color of the goats, ranging from light to deep red bay, has something to do with the pigmentation in the skin which makes the animals more ideal for the tropical Philippine environment compared to the light colored dairy breed (Saanen).

With his initial observation, Rene is confident that Oberhasli will continue to do well under the tropical Alaminos condition. He expects them to do well in the milking line when they give birth this coming January. He says that the environment plays a big part in goat dairying.

Rene adds that he has already started to make initial inquiries from a top Oberhasli breeder in the United States to acquire topnotch Oberhasli bucks next year for breeding. He said that infusing top genetics to the present Oberhasli herd provided by the government program is their priority.

Rene said they will test the Oberhasli in Alaminos for milk yields when they are in lactation next year. Selection for future milkers would be based on average daily milk yield.

Oberhasli goats are medium size and are said to eat less feeds. It is claimed to produce milk with sweeter taste and with higher butterfat content. Rene said that this makes it a very attractive proposition to invest some more in the Oberhasli for better tasting  pasteurized goat’s milk that they are producing now with their Saanen milkers.

In the meantime, Alaminos Goat Farm recently acquired a top-of-the line buck of the Alpine breed. Rene says that this buck male breeder has a “very explosive bloodline.” This means that it is the product of prize-winning male and female parents and grandparents.

Called AGF King James 040, it is extensively used in the production of triple-cross milkers. Such crosses have the hybrid vigor which results in high yields, fast growth and other desirable traits. Rene said that producing triple commercial crosses adapted to the tropical environment in the Philippines will be a big advantage in milking goats.

King James is a purebred Alpine buck which comes from the Red Hill Farm in the US. Its mother was the 2009 American National Champion with a lifetime average of 11.07 lbs milk per day. In its 2,180 days of producing milk, it produced a total of 24,140 lbs. of milk.

The father of King James, called Coltrane, is equally outstanding. Its progenies (daughters and granddaughters) continue to excel on the National stage with multiple daughters placing in the Top Five, including 6 First and Second place finishes.

King James is now extensively being used in breeding the Alaminos Anglo-Saanen cross females to produce triple cross hybrid milkers. Rene is very hopeful that King James will play an important role in improving goat dairying in the Philippines.  

Meanwhile the Alaminos Goat Farm will showcase its outstanding purebred as well as crosses at the Agrilink trade show which will be held at the World Trade Center on October 4-6. We will see you there.

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 Baños. 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

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.
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