Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Very Important: The First 45 Days Of Corn Plant

Young corn plants treated with Cruiser are vigorous. 
Their roots are more extensive so the plants are more
resistant to water stress. The leaves are also wider, 
hence more efficient in photosynthesis.
Corn not treated with Cruiser are not vigorous. The
leaves are narrower and the roots are less extensive
than those treated with Syngenta's Cruiser.
Your Blogger Zac B. Sarian interviewing Syngenta experts
at the Demo Farm in Ba Ria province, Vietnam. He was 

one of the journalists invited to the Syngenta Media Workshop
in Ho Chi Minh City, Nov. 29-31, 2012.
Dr. Hardeep Grewal showing fully filled ears of hybrid corn.
About 98 percent of corn planted in Vietnam today are hybrids.

Test-corn seedlings treated with Cruiser. Note the long roots.
Weed-free corn field treated with Lumax. The plants
are robust and are expected to produce big ears.
Weedy corn field not treated with Lumax. Pointing to
the weedy condition is Ngo Lanh, head of Syngenta's
Solutions Development Division.
Not many farmers may realize it, but the most crucial stage that can assure high yield in corn is proper care of the corn plant during its first 45 days.

This was emphasized by corn experts of Syngenta during the recent  media workshop that the company sponsored for Asian journalists in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam

Proper care of the young corn plants during the first 45 days from planting could easily mean an additional two tons of grains that could translate to a profit equivalent to US$500. That’s exactly what a small farmer from Indonesia reaped when he took good care of his young corn plants.

The same is also being experienced by farmers in Vietnam. Right now, one ton of corn in Vietnam sells for US$340. Which means two tons ($680) could mean an additional income equivalent to close to P28,000 in Philippine money.

Aside from the use of high-yielding variety, one important step is to treat the seeds for planting with a Syngenta product called Cruiser. This is a liquid which is used to treat the seeds before planting. This protects the young plants from the various pests that attack corn. Aside from protecting the plants from pests, Cruiser is also claimed to encourage development of much longer roots that go deep into the soil. This means that the plants can tolerate dry spell better than those untreated.

Another important factor is the early control of weeds in the corn field. Syngenta has come up with a new and effective herbicide that prevents the weed seeds in the soil to germinate. This is called Lumax, a liquid that is sprayed on the ground before the seeds are planted.

Ngo Lanh, Syngenta’s head of Solutions Development division, explained that weeds rob the corn plants of nutrients in the soil. At the same time, they harbor insects that could be destructive to the crop.

Meanwhile, Vietnam is fast approaching self-sufficiency in corn. It is now producing about 80 percent of its annual requirements, thanks to the increase in hectarage as well as higher yield per hectare.

In 2001, the area devoted to corn in Vietnam was about 700,000 hectares. By 2011, the area has expanded to 1.12 million hectares. And the average yield per hectare has increased from 3 tons to 4.5 tons. The use of hybrid seeds has been mainly responsible for the increase in yield. Introduced only about 10 years ago, hybrid seeds are now planted in about 90 percent of the corn areas.

BIOTECH CORN – Biotech corn, those genetically engineered varieties, are not yet approved for planting in Vietnam but this is expected to be approved any time soon. The Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development has reportedly approved of the technology but there are still some agencies that have to give their approval.

Once Biotech corn is approved for planting, corn production could increase significantly. It would not be far-fetched to imagine that Vietnam could also become a corn-exporting country.

The consolation for Filipinos is that the planting materials could be supplied from the Philippines. Syngenta has a big Biotech corn processing plant in Pangasinan which could supply the seeds to Vietnam.

Syngenta Exec To Speak On Food Security

MARTIN TAYLOR, chairman of the Board of Directors of Syngenta AG, will talk on "Increasing Food Security in an Environmentally Sustainable Way" on November 12, 2012, at 12 noon, at the Continental Room, Tower Club in Makati City.

The forum is under the auspices of the European Chamber of Commerce of the Philippines (ECCP) and the American Chamber of Commerce of the Philippines (AMCHAM).

Taylor is the Chairman of the Syngenta Foundation for Sustainable Agriculture and currently the vice Chairman of Europe's largest mass media company, the RTL Group SA. Previously he was an advisor to Goldman Sachs International (1999-2005), Chairman of WHSmith PLC (1999-2003), Chief Executive Officer of Barclays PLC (1993-1998) and Courtlauds Textiles (1990-1993). He is a member of the British government's recently established Independent Banking Commission.

Monday, November 5, 2012

48 Sweet Potato Products in Indonesia

Processed sweet potato products made by SPAT.

Filipino visitors sample sweet potato delicacies.

Sweet potato french fries is exported to Singapore
Camote delivered for processisng

SPAT is the acronym of an Indonesian company that specializes in processing no less than 48 camote or sweet potato food products commercially. In English, SPAT stands for Integated Farming Development Center found in Malang Regency in East Java.

We visited the factory recently and we were very much impressed by the wide variety of food products that could be made out of the sweet potato. These include brownies, french fries, chips, juice mixed with other vegetables, noodle, ice cream, powder for export and many more.

The owner is businessman Unggul Abinowo who is obsessed in making sweet potato as the national food in Indonesia. And for very good reasons. Sweet potato is the most nutritious root crop with the Irish or white potato running as a distant second. Sweet potato can be grown year-round and does not require a big capital. Even small farmers can grow sweet potato successfully.

Unggul Abinowo has 16 hectares of his own for growing sweet potato. But that is not enough to produce the raw materials needed by his factory. There are 362 contract growers who supply him 20 tons of fresh sweet potatoes every week. Seventy workers are working three shifts a day for seven days of the week.

The 20 tons of fresh roots are worth 40 million rupiahs. When these are converted into the different processed products, they are worth 700 to 800 million rupiahs, according to Endi Yatmo, marketing and business development manager.

Most of the finished products are sold throughout Indonesia. Only the uncooked french fries are exported to Singapore. On the other hand, the sweet potato powder is exported to Taiwan and Japan.

Maybe, investors in the Philippines could take a second look at the sweet potato and copy what Unggul Abinowo is doing in Indonesia. One starting point would be Tarlac where in Moncada alone there are 4,000 hectares planted to the root crop. We mentioned the possibility to Sec. Proceso J. Alcala at the recent Quezon City Country Fair and he said that would be a good idea. He said the Department of Agriculture could assist in providing the machinery for processing. But first, there has to be a serious group that would go into sweet potato processing.

Friday, November 2, 2012

Singapore Subsidizes Food Producers


Food producers in Singapore get a hefty subsidy from the government.

These include people who grow fish in cages in the marine waters and urban dwellers who grow vegetables where they live in the city state.

One grower of high-value marine species in cages is Prof. Paul PS Teng, Senior Fellow (Food Security) at the Centre for Non-Traditional Security Studies, Rajaratnam School of International Studies, Nanyang Technological University, Singapore.

He and a couple of partners are culturing grouper, pompano, seabass and snapper – all very high-value species. These are grown into one to two-kilo sizes and made into fillet.

The partners grow their fish in 90 cages, manned by just one Burmese caretaker. Very recently, they acquired 20 new cages worth S$50,000. Half of the amount was paid for by the government as its incentive to food producers.

Dr. Teng said that there are about a hundred investors raising fish about three kilometers from the Singapore coast. They all receive financial incentives from the government.

Dr. Teng’s caretaker receives S$1,000 a month which he can all save because he has free food and accommodation. He has his own quarters at sea where he can cook his favorite food. He also has his own radio and TV. Good thing, there is no typhoon in Singapore.

Dr. Teng said that sometimes they have a hard time looking for supplies of fingerlings. Which means this could be a market for fingerlings from the Philippines like those produced by Finfish Harcheries of the Alcantara Group.

Dr. Teng also said that many of the fishcage owners are looking for knowledgeable workers who could be assured a pay of at least a thousand Singapore dollars a month. That’s about P32,000 monthly.

By the way, we met Dr. Teng at the Syngenta Media Workshop held in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam, on October 29 -31, 2012. He talked on the Rice Bowl Index developed by Syngenta, Frontier Strategy Group and himself.  The Rice Bowl Index is a tool that could help countries adopt right strategies that could help them achieve food security.

Thursday, November 1, 2012

High-Yielding Hybrid Corn In Vietnam

NATALIE HENG  of The Star, Malaysia (ZBS photo)
NATALIE HENG is holding the maturing ear of a high-yielding hybrid corn at the experimental farm of Syngenta in Ba Ria province in Vietnam.

Called NK 77328, the hybrid is a favorite of Vietnamese farmers because it produces big ears with excellent grain color - dark orange. This is the color that feedmillers prefer. According to Dr. Hardeep Grewal, Syngenta's corn expert covering the Asia-Pacific region, this hybrid has the potential of producing 8 to 10 tons per hectare. That's virtually double the average yield of corn in Vietnam which is about 4.5 tons per hectare.

Natalie Heng is a reporter of The Star in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. She was one of the participants in the three-day Syngenta Media Workshop on October 29 to 31, 2012 in Ho Chi Minh City. Part of the workshop was a tour of the Syngenta experimental farm in Ba Ria province.

Friday, October 26, 2012

Mango Congress Set In Cebu Nov. 14-16, 2012

Melpha M. Abello with beautiful
carabao mangoes.
The 14th National Mango Congress 2012 will be held on Nov. 14-16 at JCentre Mall Convention Hall, A.S. Fortuna St., Mandaue City, Cebu.

This year's congress will focus on efficient mango production and increased investment in mango tourism, according to Virgie de la Fuente, president of the Philippine Mango Industry Foundation, Inc.

She said potential investments on proposed mango-tourism-related Private-Public Partnership Projects will be presented. One of them is cable cars bringing tourists to mango areas in mountain barangays for mango picking and eating. These cable cars can also serve as cheap transport system for mango harvests.

In flat and low-lying mango areas, horse or carabao-drawn calesas or simple rail system can be used, both for tourists and mango transport.

Another project is putting up uniquely designed, festive mango bistros or kiosks in tourist growth centers where fresh cold ripe and green mangoes and smoothies are served together with hot chocolate and native delicacies such as puto, suman and the like. Processed and Instant Quick Frozen mangoes will also be available in these kiosks.

The Mango Congress is a project of the Philippine Mango Industry Foundation in collaboration with the Visayas Chamber of Mango Industry MPC as co-host organize, and co-hosted by the Provincial LGU, City government of Mandaue,  DA-Regional Field Unit 7, RAFC-7 are the lead support agencies while the DOST, DTI and DOT regional offices are the cooperating agencies.

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

REX YERRO: Sheep Breeder

Rex Yerro and his sheep.
SHOWN in photo with Dorper and other breeds of sheep is Rex Yerro, who together with his father Nestor, are raising over 200 head of sheep in their farms in San Ildefonso, Bulacan and in Pantabangan, Nueva Ecija.

Earlier this year (2012), their farm became a Multiplier Farm under the Genetic Improvement Program of the Bureau of Animal Industry. As such, they received a package of purebred sheep for breeding. For every female sheep they received, they will return to the government three offspring.

The breeder sheep consisting of Dorper, St. Croix and Katahdin, were from the United States coursed through the BAI under the US Public Law 480 Assistance Program. The breeder sheep will be used to produce purebred as well as crossbreds which will be disseminated to local raisers to improve their own stocks.

The story about the Yerro sheep project is featured in the November 2012 issue of Agriculture Magazine. The story is authored by Tony A. Rodriguez.

November Agriculture Magazine

Make sure to get a copy of the November issue of Agriculture Magazine which will be off the press anytime now. You will enjoy the many interesting articles, including the story about Antonio Partoza who is transforming his durian farm in Davao City into an agritourism destination.
Melpha M. Abello wrote the story. What makes Patoza’s farm ideal for agritourism is that it is operated without the use of chemical pesticides. He uses mostly organic fertilizer and a small percentage of chemical fertilizer. The use of Mycovam, a biofertilizer with bendficial fungi, helps keep his trees healthy and productive. Most of the trees are of the Arancillo variety which produces relatively smaller fruits but are very tasty.

  During durian season, visitors can enjoy eating all the durian they can eat for a fee of P180 per person. Aside from enjoying eating the exotic fruit, they can try their hand at picking the prickly durian fruits. The place can be an ideal place for meditation. Or an educational trip. Visitors can learn about the techniques of growing durian.

Agriculture Magazine is edited by your blogger, Zac B. Sarian. It is the most widely circulated magazine of its kind in the Philippines. It is available in bookstores, convenience stores and in the nationwide distribution network of Manila Bulletin.

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

QC Country Fair Successful

Dr. Teddy Tepora before a standing-
room-only crowd.
Attendee from Bicol won the Mini Makopa
in the raffle
The organizers thought that they should come up with not just the common garden show that showcases nothing but ornamentals and flowering plants.
Thus, the leadership of the Cactus and Succulent Society headed by Dorie S. Bernabe decided to add some new features that are interesting to the public. That is why they thought of the Country Fair idea where agricultural produce, native delicacies, small farm animals, including a dog show were to be highlighted.

  Another innovation was the fact that the event was open free to the public. Ordinarily, garden shows charge entrance fees of P20 to P50 per person.

  Being a cactus group, they also opted to give special focus on the dragon fruit. The dragon fruit is a cactus that is not only for hobbyists but also for commercial farmers.

  And so they invited the most knowledgeable person to talk about dragon fruit production. And that was no other than Dr. Teddy F. Tepora of the Cavite State University in Indang, Cavite. His talk was most educational. He discussed the many economic possibilities of the dragon fruit as well as the problems that are encountered in growing the crop.

  As an indication of the keen interest of people in growing dragon fruit, the lecture room was standing room only. There were attendees from as far north as Piddig, Ilocos Norte to as far south as Zamboanga. There were attendees from Pangasinan, Bicol, Cagayan and many other places.

  Incidentally, the opening of the QC Country Fair & Garden Show was graced by no less than the Dragon Fruit Queen – Miss Susan Roces who also grows dragon fruit. She has become an inspiration to other people who now want to grow their own dragon fruit.

  There were also a lot of people who were interested in exotic fruit trees like pummelos, durian, rambutan, duku and longkong lanzones and many others. They particularly liked the excellent taste of the Vietnam pummelo that they sampled.

The talk on Sansevierias by Boyet Ganigan was also very revealing. Not many people know that there is a market for Sansevierias in the countries around the Philippines, particularly Indonesia, Singapore, Thailand, Malaysia, Korea, Australia and Japan. Boyet and his partner are now growing selected Sansevieria varieties for their target market. The beauty about Sansevierias is that they are very hardy and can be shipped without much problem.

There were actually two venues at the seminars that went on simultaneously. At the AANI Cluster, resource persons discussed aquaculture, organic farming, vermiculture, mango production and others.

One of the exhibitors at the AANI Cluster was Ernesto Abalos who showcased his Paraoakan chicken from Palawan, Nubian goat and dragon fruit planting materials. Pol Rubia also sold a lot of dragon fruit cuttings, as he displayed a sample of how to provide the proper support for growing dragon fruit. 

Of course, the cacti and succulent exhibits were also impressive. Irene Bernal got several first prizes, including the Best Plant In Show which is a Sansevieria Boncel, and the Best Cactus in the cactus category – her Uebelmaniana pectinifera. Lino Rom who has a nursery of ornamental plants also won several first prizes in different categories.
The best landscape in the Succulents category was won by Serapion S. Metilla while the best landscape in the Cacti and Succulents category was won by Norma Villanueva.

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: fitcorea@fitcorea.com.

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.

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