Tuesday, November 20, 2012

GABBY B. RETUYA: Farmer Hero

GABBY RETUYA in his ampalaya plantation.
GABBY B. RETUYA, 30, is an outstanding  farmer who plants 12 hectares to different vegetables.He is one of 30 Farmer Heroes who will be honored on December 12, 2012 during the celebration of East-West Seed Company's 30th anniversary in San Rafael, Bulacan.

This year, 2012, he planted 3 hectares to Galaxy ampalaya which gave him 30 to 35 tons per hectare. He planted another 3 hectares to Django finger pepper which gave him 24 tons per hectare. On 4 hectares, he planted Mayumi and Dalisay upo varieties and got 40 tons per hectare.On 2 hectares that he planted to stringbeans of the Bonga and Pantastiko varieties, he got 20 tons per hectare.


Gabby is a college graduate who opted to become a full time farmer. He started growing vegetables in 2004 when he was just 22 years old. He grew rich from vegetable farming and is now helping other farmers by providing them with financing. 


Aside from growing his own crops, he also engages in buying and selling vegetables, fertilizers and crop protection chemicals.

Grafted Ampalaya Gives Extra 10 Harvests

In foreground is Myrna Ramirez
who can graft 800 seedlings in
8 hours. Behind her is Ailyn
Infortuno, the lead woman in the
grafting operations at East-West.
Newly grafted ampalaya seedlings.
Rootstocks ready for grafting
THE LATEST development in growing ampalaya (bitter gourd) is grafting. That’s what they are doing at the Farm Ready Nursery of East-West Seed Company in San Rafael, Bulacan.
  
The technique was started to be commercialized last year and is now becoming increasingly popular. During our recent visit to the nursery, technicians were busy grafting thousands of seedlings that have been ordered by growers in Nueva Ecija and Southern Luzon.

Although the grafted seedlings cost P17 each compared to the P4 to P5 per piece of the un-grafted seedlings, there are farmers who would rather plant the grafted ones.

Why? Because the grafted seedlings are more robust and more tolerant to stresses such as bacterial wilt disease, too much water or too dry conditions. According to Ailyn Infortuno, the lead woman in the grafting operations, the grafted seedlings have a much longer productive life. Usually, the ungrafted seedlings normally produce 18 to 20 harvests per cycle. In the case of the grafted ampalaya, the grower can expect 10 extra harvests.

East-West uses as rootstock a certain variety of cucurbit (cucurbits include upo, patola, cucumber, watermelon and the like) that the company would rather keep to itself.

In grafting, a small biodegradable rubber tube is used to keep the point of union in place. The seed of the rootstock is planted ahead by four days. When the rootstock is 12 days old it is ready for grafting. By then the scion would be eight days old.

The seedlings are grown in plastic trays with 104 holes. Once grafting is done, the tray of grafted seedlings is placed in a healing chamber that’s fully enclosed inside the greenhouse. They stay inside the chamber for four days. After that, the grafted seedlings are transferred to another chamber which is opened every two hours to let air inside. That is one way of hardening the plants. Ten days after grafting, the seedlings are ready for field planting.

Ampalaya is one of the most profitable vegetables to grow although it requires more capital than others. A total of P300,000 to P500,000 may be required as capital per hectare because of the high cost of planting materials, trellising materials, plastic mulch, fertilizers and crop protection chemicals. Nevertheless, with the right production techniques such as those practiced by Gabby Retuya of Bautista, Pangasinan, one can produce 30 to 35 tons per hectare. At an average of P30 per kilo, the 30 tons would be worth P900,000. There are times when the farmgate price is more than P50 per kilo. In that case, the profit would be very high, indeed.

By the way, the different vegetables being propagated by East-West Seed will be showcased during the celebration of the company’s 30th anniversary on December 12. These include, new sitao varieties, squash, papaya, sweet corn, tomato, eggplant, cucumber, upo, patola, hot and sweet peppers, onion, watermelon and others.
  
During the anniversary, 30 outstanding vegetable producers who are planting East-West seeds will be honored.
The grafted seedlings are ready for field planting
ten days after they are grafted.

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Agri-Kapihan At AANI Urban Farm

Raymond Rubia in front of
Agri-Kapihan attendees.
More than a hundred farming enthusiasts attended the first session of the Agri-Kapihan in its new venue - the AANI Urban Farm in Antipolo City - last Sunday, November 11,2012.

The venue is inside Kingsville Court subdivision with entrance along Sumulong Highway, in front of the Shell gas station. It is about a kilometer from the Marcos Highway-Sumulong junction.


Raymond Rubia, who specializes in organic farming, was the resource speaker. He discussed techniques in organic farming and gardening. He talked about the characteristics of beneficial insects as well as the harmful ones. He talked of beneficial microorganisms, vermiculture, vermi tea, orientation of plant rows, and many more.


The attendees also observed the organic farming practices being undertaken at the AANI Urban Farm where leafy greens are grown under plastic roof as well as in the open.


The Agri-Kapihan is now being supported by the Department of Agriculture. It is held every 2nd Sunday of the month at the AANI Urban Farm and every last Saturday of the month at the Agribusiness  Development Center.at the Department of Agriculture in Quezon City. It is open free to the public.

Red Hot Is A Money Maker

Party List Congressman Agapito Guanlao (left) inspects ripe
Red Hot fruits with Fernando Lorenzo, Jenny Remoquillo
and Fidel David, manager of the demo farm.
CLOSE UP OF RIPE RED HOT FRUITS.
Juliet Capili of the Dept. of Agriculture and a boy
who helps in harvesting ripe Red Hot fruits.
The Red Hot variety of hot pepper is proving to be a money maker for many farmers in the Philippines.
  
One place where the variety is proving to be highly profitable at this time is the demo farm put up by Butil Farm Party List Cong. Agapito Guanlao in Brgy. Calulut, San Fernando City in Pampanga.

A half hectare portion of the 4.5-hectare demo farm was planted to Red Hot last June 15, according to Fidel David who is managing the demo farm. By the third week of August, the first harvest was made and since then harvesting has been going on every other day.

At first, harvest was just small and the price then was only P25 per kilo. It did not take long for the harvest to increase and so did the price. The price continually increased to P50, P100 and then to P170 per kilo during our visit last November 9.

For a number of days, the price has been P170 per kilo and the volume of harvest has been steady at 220 kilos every other day, according to David. That means about P37,000 gross sales every other day.

What’s good about the hot pepper is that it has a long productive life. According to David, if they continue to take care of the plants, fertilizing them and irrigating them as needed, they could remain productive for the next two years.

Marketing the harvest is not a big problem, according to David. There are regular traders who buy their harvest. The project is also proving to be creating employment to people from the community. Ten pickers are employed every other day, working for five hours and getting paid P250 for their labor.

Cong. Guanlao thought of putting up the demo farm so that farmers in the community, if not the whole province and beyond, could pick up ideas that they could adopt in their own farms. To manage the farm, Fidel David of the Bangon San Matias Multipurpose Cooperative of Sta. Rita town was hired for the job.

David is an engineer who used to work in the Middle East but who gave up his overseas job to go into farming. He has become a successful farmer, earning probably more from farming than from his job in Saudi Arabia. He has accepted the job because he wanted to help other farmers realize that there is money in farming if they adopt the improved practices.

Actually, the 4.5 hectares that they rented for P25,000 a year was idle and unproductive for many years. It was filled with tall growth of talahib which they had to bulldoze to clear the place. They also had to apply a lot of manure to improve the fertility of the soil.

Aside from Red Hot, they also planted 5,000 square meters to Django, a “pangsigang” variety. The plants were also productive but the highest price they got has been P60 per kilo. And then the price went down to as low as P10 per kilo. Fidel plans to phase out the Django and plant other high-value crops like watermelon and honeydew melon.

There are lesser plantings of papaya, patola, squash and others. The demo farm wants to showcase various crops that the local farmers could grow in their own farms.

Actually, the demo farm has now become a training center. During our visit, a group of farmers from Sta. Ana, Pampanga, were visiting to observe the improved practices. What the demo farm is also showing is the proper way of producing seedlings. This is important so that farmers can produce their own seedlings of improved varieties.

As its contribution to the project, the Department of Agriculture provided a greenhouse where they germinate vegetable seedlings. This is where the trainees learn to grow their own seedlings.

Earlier, David said they had a trial planting of Formosa and Ilocos Gold watermelon on 3,000 square meters. From that space, they were able to harvest seven tons.

CONG. AGAPITO GUANLAO, JENNY REMOQUILLO
AND fIDEL DAVID AT THE SEEDLING NURSERY.

THE GREENHOUSE WAS PROVIDED BY THE
DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE.

Saturday, November 10, 2012

Tomato Preserve & Condiments

Maria Concepcion M. Arcega 
and her whole tomato preserves.
Maria Concepcion M. Arcega's 
Chili-Garlic paste.
MARIA CONCEPCION M. ARCEGA of Lubao, Pampanga,  is a psychology graduate who has opted to be a farmer and food processor while her engineer husband is working in the Middle East.

She grows rice and various vegetables the organic way. She is head of the Florida-Lubao Organic Farmers Association (FLOFA). She is also developing processed foods and condiments out of hot pepper and tomatoes.


She has come up with whole tomato preserves that could last for a year as per the test by the Department of Science and Technology. She has also come up with a chili-garlic paste, hot chili powder and flakes. The products are ready for commercialization pending approval by the Bureau of Food and Drugs (BFAD).


She is being helped by the Department of Science and Technology in connection with product quality, packaging and label disign while the Department of Trade and Industry is helping her in marketing.

  
She could be contacted at 0917-826-0324.

Bonga Stringbean Is High-Yielding

DANILO MATEO
DANILO MATEO shows the long pods of the new stringbean (sitao), called Bonga, recently released by the East-West Seed Company.

This is a high-yielding variety that can produce 25 to 30 tons per hectare. The pods are dark green, 70 to 80 cm long with red tip. 


Danny claims that his sitao are sweeter than most varieties in the market because he applies enough potash (0-0-60) to his plants just when they start bearing flowers. The potash should be buried in the soil because they are not readily absorbed by the roots if the fertilizer is just broadcast over the soil surface.


Danny is one of the outstanding farmers who will be honored by the East-West Seed Company during its 35th anniversary on December 12, 2012. His is a rags-to-riches story, thanks to high-value vegetables, including  sweet corn. He is from Sulucan, Angat, Bulacan.

Friday, November 9, 2012

Day-old Paraoakan Chicks Available

ERNESTO ABALOS is seriously pursuing the commercial production of Paraoakan chicks because of the increasing interest of native chicken raisers.

Paraoakan is a native strain from Palawan which is bigger than the other Philippine strains. They have longer legs and neck, and bigger bodies too.


One of their recent buyers is a lady  PhD holder from UP Los BaƱos who is getting serious in producing organically grown native chickens for a niche market.


At the recent Agrilink trade show (October 4-6, 2012), adult Paraoakan birds sold like the proverbial hotcake. Many of the buyers got the roosters for crossbreeding with their gamefowls. They want to duplicate the so-called Paraoakan-Texas crosses of the late Ramon Mitra Jr. which were champions in those days.


Abalos lives on 198 M. Paterno St., San Juan City. He can be contacted at 725-6079; 724-6994; 724-3209 or 0917-536-5503.

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Mango Strips Dipped in Chocolate

Here's a very new and very nice mango product that is world class in taste and in packaging.

It comes by the name Cebu Best Mango Chocolate which is actually strips of dried mango dipped in Belgian chocolate.


We tasted some, courtesy of Agriculture Sec. Proceso J. Alcala. Certainly, the taste is superior and the packaging is great. Each dried mango strip is in individual sachet. Twenty-four sachets are packed in one attractive rectangular box. Ideal for gift giving.


The Mango Chocolate has a chewy consistency and the sweetness is just right. Not very sweet. We personally like the product.


Cebu Best Mango Chocolate is manufactured by AEO International Food Corp. of Cebu. We are almost sure, this will be presented at 14th National Mango Congress which will be held in Mandaue City, Cebu, on November 14-15, 2012. 



New Agri-Kapihan Sked

The 26-year-old Agri-Kapihan forum has a new schedule. On Sunday, November 11, the Agri-Kapihan will be held at the AANI Urban Farm in Kingsville Court, Antipolo City from 8:30 to 12 noon. Resource persons will take up organic farming, vermiculture and gardening in containers.

From now on, the Agri-Kapihan will be held every second Sunday of the month at the AANI Urban Farm where organic agriculture is being undertaken. Every last Saturday of the month, the Agri-Kapihan will be held at the Agribusiness Center at the Department of Agriculture in Quezon City.


Here's how to go to the AANI Urban Farm. The entrance is along Sumulong Highway, in front of a Shell Station about a kilometer from the Marcos Highway-Sumulong junction. The entrance to Kingsville Court is about 30 meters from Sumulong. Ask the guard how to go to the AANI Urban Farm. Or call Pol Rubia at 0917-847-5071 for further information.


The Agri-Kapihan is open free to everyone interested in farming and gardening. 

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
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

DR. PAUL PS TENG

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
harvest.
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