Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Sweet Corn In A Greenhouse

Ronald Costales posing with sweet corn
and French beans he grows inside a greenhouse.
RONALD COSTALES of Costales Nature Farms will do everything just to meet the demand of a special customer.

A big customer that distributes organically grown food products wanted to be assured of a supply of sweet corn all year round. So what did Ronald do?


He is now growing sweet corn inside a greenhouse together with other high-value crops like French beans, arugula, flat-leaf parsley and others.


Some might think that it is just too expensive to produce sweet corn in a greenhouse. That's true but Ronald says it is still profitable. After all, his buyer which has several branches in Metro Manila and some provinces, pays him P120 per kilo. That's about P40 per ear!


Costales Nature Farms is now a tourist destination. It is in Brgy. Gagalot, Majayjay, Laguna. Some may consider the farm remote but about 2,000 agri-tourists visit it every month. Entrance fee is P200 per person who is given a meal of organically grown salad.

Saturday, January 26, 2013

Veggie Field Day In Tayug, Feb. 21, 2013

Allied Botanical Corporation will hold a field day in its research station in Tayug, Pangasinan on February 21, 2013. They will be showcasing their commercial as well as experimental varieties grown side by side with their competitors' varieties in the market.

They want to show how Allied's varieties compare with other companies' varieties in terms of prolificacy, yield, pest and disease resistance. The attendees will also be able to see how Allied's upcoming varieties perform in the experimental field.


Weng Bienes, executive assistant, says that attendance is by invitation only.

Friday, January 25, 2013

Paraoakan Becoming A Favorite Native Chicken

Paraoakan breeders at the Abalos farm.
Paraoakan is becoming the choice of native chicken raisers. And it is for a number of good reasons.
  
Paraoakan, of course, is the native chicken from Palawan. Of the several strains of native chickens, Paraoakan is the biggest of them all. It has long legs, bigger body than the rest, long neck and bigger head.
  
Latest to be convinced about the Paraoakan is Gov. Esmael Mangudadatu of Maguindanao. He has launched a provincewide dispersal program of Paraoakan chicken to provide his constituents with a new source of income.
  
He said that earlier, the provincial government has promoted the growing of two commercial plantation crops, namely oil palm and rubber. These are profitable crops but they take a few years before the farmers can have their first harvest.

That is why in the meantime, while the farmers are waiting for their oil palm and rubber trees to yield their first harvest, the farmers are being encouraged to raise native chickens and vegetables.

Very recently, Gov. Mangudadatu bought his initial stocks from Ernie Abalos for dispersal to his constituents. For a start, he said, one male and two females are given to each beneficiary. From there, the farmers could start multiplying their chickens.

Abalos had the foresight to multiply Paraoakan because he saw the potentials of this native strain. He bought a few breeders several years ago and multiplied them in his farm in San Mateo, Rizal. At the latest Agrilink trade show last October, he displayed adult Paraoakan as well as organic Paraoakan eggs. The adult chickens sold like the proverbial hotcake at P700 each and the eggs at P10 apiece. That further motivated Abalos to produce day-old chicks by the hundreds and then thousands because there are so many interested customers, including Gov. Mangudadatu. At P75 apiece, the day-old chicks are also bestsellers.

Gov. Mangudadatu has bought all the female pullets from Abalos and also intends to buy cocks from other sources also for dispersal. This will ensure that there will be no inbreeding which could cause deterioration among the succeeding generations.

Gov. Mangudadatu plans to saturate his province with Paraoakan so that the province could also become the source of breeding stocks for other provinces in Mindanao and perhaps Visayas and Luzon.

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

14 SM Veggie Trainings Slated

The batch that trained 
in 2012 in Pangasinan.
One very successful program that is helping farmers become more entrepreneurial is the Kabalikat Sa Kabuhayan training program for farmers to grow vegetables and other high-value crops (watermelon, honeydew, sweet corn) that was started about five years ago in Bacolod and is being expanded aggressively.
  
The original proponent is the SM Foundation in collaboration with Harbest Agribusiness headed by Toto Barcelona. It used to be that there were less than 10 batches of trainees in one year. This year, the objective is to undertake no less than 14 batches in different parts of the country.

The first batch for 2013, the 47th batch with 123 participants, was launched last January 18 at the Lex Mundi Monastery Farm run by the Monks of St. John the Baptist in Hacienda Binitin, Murcia, Negros Occidental.

On Friday, January 25, the 48th batch of trainees will be launched in Monkayo, Compostela Valley, to help rehabilitate the livelihood of the victims of Typhoon Pablo and the beneficiaries of the “Pantawid” program of the government. This batch is being implemented in cooperation with the Department of Social Welfare and Development headed by Sec. Dinky Soliman.

The participants will be taught not only how to grow vegetables but also proper character formation and business enterprise empowerment. The graduates will be linked with wholesale buyers of supermarkets like Savemore, SM Hypermart and Supermarkets so they will be assured of a market for their produce.

The beauty of this KSK program is that it is now being noticed by various agencies, public and private. They want to join a winner. Just like what the DSWD has done. This is good because more people would be trained to be productive and entrepreneurial.

It is possible for local government units to join the program by sponsoring some of the participants. Mayors and governors could participate in the program so that more jobs and livelihood in the countryside would be created.

Local NGOs with their own funding could also collaborate with the KSK organizers so more farmers could participate in the program. The more the merrier, as they say.

The third batch for 2013 will be conducted in Batangas City; the 4th will be at the Bulacan Agricultural State College, followed by batches in Cebu City, Laoag City, Tarlac, Magallanes (Cavite), Cabanatuan City, La Trinidad (Benguet), Minalin (Pampanga), Legazpi City and Tanay, Rizal.

Monday, January 21, 2013

Garden Shows Boost Horticulture Industry

Vangie Go and her landscape booth at a recent
garden show. Note her prize-winning orchids.
Garden shows create more livelihood opportunities than most people would imagine. They serve as an engine that propels the growth of the ornamental plant business. And that is why garden shows have become a regular presentation by various horticultural groups year-round.
  
First to be staged this year is Horticulture 2013 which starts January 31 thru February 6. This is at the Quezon Memorial Circle in Quezon City under the auspices of the Philippine Horticultural Society. Less than two months later, the Philippine Orchid Society will also hold its own flower and garden show at the same venue.
  
Not many people may realize it but garden shows play an important role in promoting the horticulture industry. These create new opportunities for small as well as big scale entrepreneurs. They could be simple hobbyists who are growing plants as a mere sideline, or they could be entrepreneurs who grow plants as an honest-to-goodness source of livelihood.

While most major garden shows are held in Metro Manila, there are important garden shows in other parts of the country. This February, for instance, a garden show will be held to coincide with the Panagbenga Flower Festival in Baguio. This will be followed by the first garden show for the year of the Los Baños Horticultural Society sometime in April. Another major garden show will be held in August in Davao City as a highlight of the Kadayawan celebration. In September, the Philippine Orchid Society will hold its second garden show for the year in time for the blooming of the Waling-Waling. Then Los Baños will stage its second garden show for the year in October in time for the Loyalty Day celebration.

There are two parts in a garden show. One is the Landscape Exhibits where aspiring landscapers try their very best to come up with the best landscape showcase. There is usually a stiff competition because the participants want to win the coveted First Prize or even the lesser prizes. If they win the first prize, they don’t only become richer by a few thousand pesos, their career as a landscaper could also be launched.  People will ask them to do the landscaping for them and they could command a respectable price for their services.

The landscape booth is also where they showcase the best looking ornamental plants. That’s not just to satisfy the ego of the owner. It could be for hefty financial reward. The winning plant could be sold for a very high price. If the specimen plant is not for sale, the owner could make money from his propagations of smaller sizes at more affordable prices. It is very possible for him to sell a lot of those propagations because many people would also like to have their own clone of the winning ornamental plant.

Among those who would likely buy propagations of the prize-winning plant are propagators not only from Metro Manila but also from the provinces. Provincial propagators will also make money if they can be the first to multiply the same in their town or province.

In the commercial section of the garden show, you will find a lot of people selling a wide variety of ornamentals, orchids and gardening supplies. You will find very ordinary plants as well as very rare ones. Enterprising sellers display very beautiful specimen plants alongside their smaller propagations. People will readily notice the attractive specimen plant and the likelihood is that they will buy the more affordable smaller propagations.

It is possible to find in the commercial sections the plants that one has been looking for in the past many years. It is also where one can find new varieties that could be added to one’s collection, either for personal pleasure or for commercial purposes. You can also meet new friends who could be of help to you, or you could be of help to them.

The beginnings of the Los Baños garden show come to mind. That was when we worked for the UP College of Agriculture in the early 1960s. No less than Dr. Robert Chandler Jr., the director general of the International Rice Research Institute, actively participated in the garden show. He displayed his imported ornamentals like the Lady Palmer bougainvillea  and anthuriums from Hawaii for his own pleasure and not for monetary considerations.

At that time there were no commercial growers of ornamental plants except the housewives on Bangkal Street who grew a few foliage plants like the Philodendron Selloum and some other aroids.  In the beginning, there was no commercial section to speak of in the garden show. Very few brought plants for sale even if the stalls were for free. However, it did not take long for the UP professors and other employees to realize that there was good money that could be mined from ornamental plants.

In the succeeding years, there were more applicants for commercial stalls than could be accommodated even if the stalls were for rent at a few thousand pesos. The stalls had to be raffled off.

It could now be said that the flourishing ornamental plant business not only in the towns of Laguna but also in many other provinces could have benefited from the unending garden shows staged by organizers around the country.

Norma Villanueva is the chairperson of Horti 2013
to be held Jan. 31 to Feb. 6 at the Quezon Memorial
Circle in Quezon City. This is the annual garden

show of the Philippine Horticultural Society headed
by May Caballero-Dumlao.
Bong Rivera and Norma Villanueva posing
at the exhibit booth of the latter during the
Quezon City Country Fair in October 2012.

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Massive Soils Mapping As Priority

DR. WILLIAM D. DAR

Recently we had the good fortune of joining a dinner with Dr. William Dar, the director general of the International Crops Research Institute for the Semi-Arid Tropics (ICRISAT) in Hyderabad, India.

The dinner was tendered by our friend Toto Barcelona of Harbest Agribusiness which was attended by agri-people like Dr. Rolly Dy of the University of Asia and the Pacific, Dr. Joy Eusebio of PCAARRD and Dr. Pons Batugal of a foundation engaged in rural development.
  
If he were to recommend something that would help the Philippines produce not only more rice but also other crops, what would Dr. Dar recommend?

  Massive soil mapping would be a priority. He related that in a recent year, they implemented a soil mapping project on one million hectares in In India. In soil mapping, they wanted to find out what plant nutrients are available in the soil and what are lacking. The trace elements or micronutrients status is particularly important.

  By knowing the status of the soil, the experts will know what to tell the farmers in managing their fertilization systems. And by providing just the right amounts needed in particular areas, the farmers will not only increase their yields, they will most likely save on unnecessary fertilizers that they usually apply without considering what nutrients are actually present in their farms.

Dr. Dar recommends a really massive soils mapping in the country. He said that the Department of Agriculture has a lot of money but it may not be the best for the DA to do the mapping by itself. A more practical way would be to involve, say 14 or 16 state colleges and universities in different regions in the country. The first thing that the DA should do is to fund the establishment of state-of-the-art soils laboratories in the agricultural universities and colleges. He said that with P10 million for each educational institution, they would be able to put up very good soils laboratories.

A soils map is a most important tool that could significantly increase yields and profits. A few years back, Dr. Dar said, they only had a target of 20 percent yield increase in the mapping of one million hectares in India.

To their pleasant surprise, Dr. Dar said, the yield increased 40 percent on the one million hectares. That is why they are now finalizing a project that will map the soils on four million hectares.

  In the Philippines, after the massive soil mapping, what next? There should be a pool of trained technicians that would help the farmers in coming up with the right amounts of fertilizers applied at the right time. Efficient massive extension service is a must in disseminating the right technologies on plant nutrition management.

  Also very important is the availability of the macro and micronutrients that would be needed by the farmers at reasonable and affordable rates. Only then the benefits of massive soils mapping would be realized.

Floating Veggies at Costales Farm

IF YOU join the AANI Farm Tour on January 27, 2013 to the Costales Nature Farms, you will be able to pick up simple and practical farming ideas.

Just like these vegetables on a bamboo raft in a pond for growing tilapia or catfish. During the hot hours, the fish could hide under the vegetables. Watering the veggies, on the other hand, is no big problem.


To join the AANI Farm Tour, make your reservation at the AANI store at the Quezon Memorial Circle in Quezon City or at the AANI Weekend Market at the FTI in Taguig City.


You may also contact (02)-814-1848; (02) 480-4990; (02) 824-1848; or 0917-795-0916. You can also call Pol Rubia at 0917-847-5071.


AANI Farm Tour January 27, 2013

Ronald and Josie Costales checking
their organic lettuce
Farm tours can be very educational for those who are interested in farming or gardening, whether it is just a backyard garden or an honest-to-goodness business enterprise.

On Sunday, January 27, one such farm tour will visit an award-winning farm in the cool mountain of Majayjay, Laguna. This is the Costales Nature Farms run by Ronald and Josie Costales.

Ronald is an engineer who used to be an executive in a communications firm, giving up a very high salary in favor of organic farming.

Today his choice is paying off handsomely. He and the members of his family are enjoying the cool and unpolluted air in Majayjay where they produce tons and tons of high value vegetables and many other products that they supply to selected customers in Metro Manila.

Ronald has won the Gawad Saka National Award and the Most Outstanding Organic Farmer Award in 2012. The Costales farm is also the first and only Agri-Tourism destination in the Philippines that is accredited by the Department of Tourism.

Among the saleable vegetables that the Costales farm is producing commercially are lettuce (different varieties), French beans, Japanese cucumber, red cabbage and more. Culinary herbs include sage, arugula, parsley, thyme, Italian oregano, rosemary and basil. Livestock include black pigs, rabbits, free-range chickens, Pekin duck and fish.

During the AANI Farm Tour, Costales will conduct a lecture on the techniques they are implementing in the farm. These include the EM technology and vermiculture, bokashi fertilizer production and others.
   
Visitors may also opt to stay for a few days. There are accommodation facilities, organic meals and spa.

Those who are interested to join the AANI Farm Tour to the Costales farm should make their reservations at the AANI store at the Quezon Memorial Circle in Quezon City or at the AANI Weekend Market at the FTI in Taguig City.

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

14 KSK Trainings Slated For 2013

The SM Foundation is planning to conduct 14 batches of training in vegetable production under the Kabalikat Sa Kabuhayan (KSK) training program that it is undertaking in collaboration with Harbest Agribusiness of Toto Barcelona.

The trainees consist of as many as 100 farmers who come from communities where there are SM Malls in the provinces. The objective is to teach farmers how to produce high quality vegetables that could meet the strict standards of SM Supermarkets. The farmers will have a ready market for their harvest if they can produce the right quality.


So far, 46 batches of trainees have finished the training, the latest of which was that in Calamba City. Under the program, the trainees attend lectures as well as hands-on practice on the various chores in vegetable production. The training lasts for three months, each participant attending a weekly session. At he end of the training, the crops would already be harvestable and a Harvest Festival is held. The trainees don't pay anything. They are scholars!


Monday, January 14, 2013

Profusely Flowering Perante Orange

PHOTO shows a profusely flowering Perante Orange grown in a rubberized container at the Teresa Orchard & Nursery in Teresa, Rizal. 

Two weeks before the photo was taken, the plant was sprayed with Heavy Weight Tandem, a special fertilizer formulation by Alfonso G. Puyat. This formulation contains high potash plus a plant growth regulator which triggers heavy flowering and fruiting


Perante orange is a locally developed hybrid which is a slicing type of citrus that is sweet and juicy. Even if it is grown in a container, it will produce full-sized fruits. Grafted trees bear fruit in two years, especially if they are well cared for.


Planting materials are available at Teresa. So with the Heavy Weight Tandem and the other formulation of Mr. Puyat called Power Grower Combo. Call or text 0917-841-5477 for more information.

Sunday, January 13, 2013

Rubber Tube For Grafting Vegetables

Toto Barcelona announced that rubber tubing for grafting vegetables is now available from Harbest Agribusiness. Also available is grafting clip.

Earlier, a number of our readers have asked us where the rubber tubing used by East-West Seed in grafting ampalaya on patola could be sourced. Now, here it is. You can contact Toto at 0917-520-3260 or (02) 671-7411 to 14.


Grafting ampalaya on a rootstock of patola (luffa) has its advantages. Technicians of East-West claim that grafted ampalaya produces 10 more harvests than those not grafted.


Aside from ampalaya, tomato is usually grafted on a rootstock of eggplant. Some growers in Korea graft watermelon or melon on a rootstock of gourd or upo.


Saturday, January 12, 2013

India's Most Popular Bitter Gourd Now In PH

Ric Reyes of East-West Seed (left) shows fruits
of Palee ampalaya grown in the Philippines.
The most popular ampalaya or bitter gourd in India, and most likely in the world, also produces well under Philippine conditions.

The variety is called Palee, a hybrid developed by East-West Seed's plant breeders principally for the Indian and Sri Lankan markets.


Palee has prominent spines and is sometimes called "warty" variety. The Indians had and old warty variety but was low yielding. So the plant breeders of East-West Seed developed a hybrid that more than doubled the yield of the old variety. Today, Palee is the most popular variety of bitter gourd in India.


This year, trial planting was done at the experimental farm of East-West Seed in Bulacan. The result is very positive. Palee also produces well under Philippine conditions. In photo Ric Reyes, the Product Market Combination Manager of East-West, is showing former Sen. Ramon Magsaysay Jr. fruits of Palee grown in Bulacan. This was during the 30th anniversary celebration of East-West last December 12, 2012.

Clustering Eggplant From Allied Botanical

CONDOR LIGHTNING HYBRID EGGPLANT.
ALLIED BOTANICAL CORPORATION has come out with a new hybrid eggplant that has a clustering habit.

Called Condor Lightning, it is claimed to produce an average of 30 fruits per plant that weigh a total of 3 to 4 kilos. 


The plants are said to be very vigorous with an erect growth habit so that it is ideal for high density planting. It is said to be very strong against bacterial wilt and tolerant to pests and diseases.


This variety produces glossy purple fruits and can be harvested early at 60-65 days after transplanting. It was bred at the company's experimental farm in Tayug, Pangasinan.

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

156 Trainees Finish SM Veggie Training Course

The 46th Batch  of farmer-trainees in the KSK program
A TOTAL of 156 trainees in vegetable production received their certificates of completion during  graduation ceremonies at the Event Center of SM City Calamba in Laguna. A harvest festival in the place where they trained was also conducted.

The farmers trained under the Kabalikat sa Kabuhayan Farmers Training Program being implemented by SM Foundation in collaboration with Harbest Agribusiness. They comprised the 46th batch of the training program.


The harvest festival was held in Brgy. Laguerta, Calamba City, in the farm where they attended lectures and where they did hands-on training. Representatives from SM City Calamba, SM Supermarket and their suppliers were present during the festival.


A farmers forum was conducted where the farmer-trainees, and representatives from SM Supermarket and their fruits and vegetables suppliers engaged in an interactive discussion. This is regularly done during harvest festivals to connect the farmers, the dealers and the supermarket.



Produce Purple Yam Planting Materials For Sale

This is a good variety for seedling production
because of its intense violet color.
Ubi or purple yam is in big demand by processing companies these days. The problem is that there is not enough volume for large scale processing.

Thus, one money-making project that one could undertake at the moment is to produce planting materials for sale. Currently, retail sellers are charging P30 to P50 per seedling.


Several seedlings could be sprouted per root. If the root is big, as many as 15 seedlings can be produced. At P30 per seedling, that would be worth P450 per root. If one seedling sells for P50, that's P750.


What is important is to produce seedlings from roots that have intense purple color. This is very important, especially for ubi products that are intended for export. Foreign buyers don't want artificial coloring in the products they import. They want natural color.


Specializing in seedling production could produce profit much faster than producing roots for processing. The project will not require a big area. And the turnover could be much faster than producing roots for processing.


The thing is, one has to be efficient in producing planting materials that are of good quality. And the seedling producer should be able to market his product efficiently. That could be done if one is creative enough.

Monday, January 7, 2013

How To Apply Power Grower Combo on Sugarcane

A ratoon crop could grow fast with
Power Grower Combo.
Here's the protocol on spraying Power Grower Combo on sugarcane as recommended by its inventor, Mr. Alfonso G. Puyat.

FIRST FOLIAR SPRAY - This is very important but optional if your sugarcane plants are already 3 to 4 feet tall.


In the case of a Ratoon Crop - Spray after stubble shaving, fertilization and about 4 tillers have sprouted with about 4 true leaves each.


In the case of Plantcane - Spray after fertilization and about 4 tillers have sprouted with four true leaves each.


DOSAGE - Dissolve one-half kilo of Power Grower Combo (that's one pack) in 200 liters of water and spray on one hectare of sugarcane.


SECOND FOLIAR SPRAY - This is very important and imperative. Apply the usual fertilizer in the soil, then spray the plants with Power Grower Combo when the plants are 3-4 months old or when the plants are about chest high. This second foliar spray is best done after the first real rainfall of the wet season.


DOSAGE - Dissolve two packs (one kilo total) of Power Grower Combo in 400 liters of water (2 drums), and spray on one hectare of sugarcane.


THIRD FOLIAR SPRAY - Do this 3-4 weeks after the second spray. The cane plants should be head-high or a little taller.


DOSAGE - Dissolve one kilo (2 packs) of Power Grower Combo in 400 liters of water and spray on one hectare of sugarcane.


It is very economical. Total cost of Power Grower Combo (@P400 per pack of half kilo) is only P2,400. And the yield could tremendously increase.

Saturday, January 5, 2013

Taiwan Farm Tour Planned For July 2013

The Taiwan agritour that Toto Barcelona is planning will be held next July 2013. According to Toto, it will be summer time in Taiwan by that time and that will be the best time to visit the country's farm destinations. These include fruit farms, vegetable projects and the like. The destinations will also include wholesale markets, auction markets and more.

Toto is founder-owner of Harbest Agribusiness who distributes seeds from Known-You Seed Co. of Taiwan, small tractors from Taiwan, drip irrigation system from India, and other farming inputs- Contact him at (02) 671-7411 to 14.



Guyabano Powered by Power Grower Combo

On Nov. 8, 2012, Mark Dorothy of Sindangan, Zamboanga del Norte, received his order of Power Grower Combo, the special fertilizer formulation of Mr. Alfonso G. Puyat.

On January 3, 2013, he reported to us: I just want to tell you that after spraying Power Grower Combo a few times, a guyabano that I have in a pot waiting to be planted in the ground is now blooming. The tree is about 1-2 years old, and about six feet tall.


Now I believe in the power of the Power Grower Combo. I will take pictures which I will send to you.


By the way, Power Grower Combo and its partner Heavy Weight Tandem, are available at Teresa Orchard & Nursery in Teresa, Rizal. To know how to order, text your complete name and address to 0917-841-5477.

Thursday, January 3, 2013

An All-Season Strawberry

THESE are fruits of the all-season strawberry variety called Festival that was developed in Florida, USA.

Now, it is being grown in the Philippines by Francis Ching in Cada, Mankayan, Benguet.

The fruits are big, sweet, juicy and aromatic. Moreover, they have a very good shipping quality. The fruits can withstand the stress of long journeys and are not easily bruised.

Photo by Melpha M. Abello, a staff member of Agriculture Magazine.

Seaweed Industry Gets P265-M For 2013

SEAWEED
Our good friend Max Ricohermoso is all smiles these days. The reason is that the industry he loves most got its biggest ever budget from the Department of Agriculture in 2013.

Ricohermoso, of course, is the chairman of the Seaweed Industry Association of the Philippines. The DA allocated a total of P265 million for the expansion of seaweed production in suitable areas throughout the country. The allocation is about six times the 2012 budget for seaweeds which was P40.8 million.

There is a lot of room for expansion of seaweed production. The area suitable for production is about 255,000 hectares.

The budget will go into input assistance to farmers like healthy propagules that could be produced through tissue culture. No less than P232.7 million will go into input assistance that will also include postharvest facilities and infrastructures.

About P9.7 million will be used for nursery maintenance, demo and test plots.
  
The expansion program will also involve state colleges and universities as well as the members of the SIAP. Aside from coming up with tissue culture laboratories which will be set up in 14 locations, they will also engage in training for manpower development.

The seaweed industry is a big dollar earner. In 2010, the Philippines exported $155 million worth of seaweeds. Seaweeds are the second biggest fishery export next to tuna. The main product that is exported is carrageenan which is used in the food, pharmaceutical and industrial products.

Currently, the bulk of seaweed production is in Tawi-Tawi and Sulu. In 2011, these two places produced 686,000 metric tons. The other area with considerable production is Region 4B, particularly Palawan, with a production of 483,000 metric tons in 2011.

In Batangas, there is a developing market for the fresh market. The varieties that are being consumed in salads are becoming increasingly in demand in the Manila market.
MAXIMO RICOHERMOSO

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

How True: Quote From East-West Seed Thailand

Here's a favorite quote of mine from the commemorative book marking the 20th anniversary of East-West Seed Company in 2002.

"SEEDS are small, almost like dust, yet if breeder, seed producer and seed processor do their parts right, those small seeds become the indispensable starting point for a long chain of beneficial downstream developments in markets, farming systems and rural revenue streams. In fact the case can be made that reliable, quality seed has had greater impact on market development in tropical countries than millions in aid money supplied by well-meaning governments and international organizations.".

Orchid Farm In Alfonso, Cavite

SERAPION METILLA among Phalaenopsis at the
Purificacion Orchid Farm in Alfonso, Cavite.
THERE'S a large orchid farm in Alfonso, Cavite operated by Cora Purification and her daughter Ana Ruth Conde. 

The farm was visited recently by members of the Philippine Horticultural Society which is holding its annual garden show from the last week of January 2013 to the first week of February at the Quezon Memorial Circle in Quezon City.


Photo shows Serapion S. Metilla, a member of the PHS, posing with the floriferous phalaenopsis in the Purificacion orhid farm. Phalaenopsis thrives well under the cool climate in Alfonso. Aside from orchids, the Purificacions also grow many other ornamental plants, including cacti and succulents, bromeliads and more.

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

Klasika Waxy White Corn

ERNESTO PASCUAL, one of the Farmer Heroes honored by East-West Seed, enjoys a big ear of Klasika waxy corn. This is a white variety that is very nice to eat as boiled corn because its kernels have that desirable waxy consistency.

The ears are big so that it has a high yield. Klasika is one variety that can be produced commercially for the green corn market. A lot of boiled ears were served to visitors during the celebration of East-West's 30th anniversary last December 12, 2012.

On Brown Rice: Did You Know?

"If all Filipinos would eat brown rice for breakfast, lunch, and dinner just once a month (36 meals a year), our rice importation would shrink by an average of 50,000 metric tons per year, valued at US20.32 million (or P812.81 million) savings yearly."

This is from a publication of Philippine Rice Research Institute.

Sunday, December 30, 2012

Too Much Money Can Be Dangerous, Too!

In farming, too much money can be dangerous, too. We just came from a lunch date with a friend who is successful in commercially producing organic fertilizer. He also has his own farm where he produces hot pepper, black pepper, and a number of other crops and farm animals.

He told us about the story of a young former congressman who planted six hectares to hot chili after learning that the hot pepper sells for as much as P400 to P500 per kilo. (Actually, though, the price could even escalate to more than a thousand pesos per kilo when supply is very scarce.)


Because the ex-congressman had a lot of money, he did not mind spending big sums of money in preparing the land, money to buy the seeds and the manpower to take care of the plants, the fertilizers and pesticides. To the misfortune of the politician, when he was already harvesting, the going price was only P15 per kilo, according to our informant.  At that price, it was a losing proposition. A big losing proposition.


When the price did not improve after quite sometime, the congressman was so frustrated. He just  abandoned the project  because if he would continue to spend for the workers and other inputs, he surmised he would be incurring more losses, big losses.


THE LESSONS HERE - Just because you have a lot of money, don't just jump into an agribusiness you have  heard to be profitable. Make a careful study of the market, the nature of the demand for the crop you choose to produce. And it is wise to start more modestly, especially if one is new in the business. Six hectares for a hot chili is too big for a neophyte hot chili farmer, especially if he has no  arrangement with a sure buyer. We think starting with a hectare would be more prudent. From there he could expand  if his experience will warrant.
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