Monday, March 18, 2013

Phillip's Sanctuary in San Mateo

Pepe Pestaño and a sweet balimbing
at the Teresa Orchard & Nursery.
FELIPE "PEPE" PESTAÑO in the past 15 years has been planting a lot of fruit trees as well as mahogany in a 16-hectare property in San Mateo, Rizal.

Today his efforts have been richly rewarded with fruiting mangosteen, rambutan, durian, longkong lanzones, latexless jackfruit, Abiu and many other exotic varieties. 


He has now converted his property into an agri-tourism resort complete with swimming pool, lodging facilities and other amenities.


Many of the fruit trees he planted came from the Teresa Orchard & Nursery in Teresa, Rizal. He has been recommending to his neighbors to visit Teresa so they can also buy their planting materials.

  
Pepe visited Teresa Orchard on March 18, 2013 and was fascinated by the sweet balimbing growing in containers and bearing juicy fruits.

Teresa Orchard & Nursery in Teresa, Rizal, is very easy to reach. It is along the road, 30 meters before the Teresa-Morong boundary. Call or text 0917-841-5477 for more info.

Mini Coco Oil Extractor

Ramon Uy and his mini coconut oil extractor.
He is showing a half liter coco oil ready for use.
RAMON UY, the prolific inventor from Bacolod City, has come up with a new invention. This time it is a mini coconut oil extractor designed for the countryside.

It is a screw-type extractor that can extract half liter of coco cooking oil from a kilo of copra. It can extract one liter in 15 minutes from two kilos of copra.


The machine can also extract virgin coconut oil from half-dried fresh coconut meat. The fresh coconut meat is sliced into pieces and placed in a dryer to reduce the moisture content to 50 percent.


Half kilo of semi-dry coconut meat can yield 250 ml or one-fourth liter of VCO.


The machine is not yet available commercially. It is just a prototype but will be fabricated for sale eventually.

Sunday, March 17, 2013

Cavite Agrifest And Farmers' Congress, March 25, 2013

The 2nd Cavite Agrifest and Farmers/Fisherfolks Congress will be held on March 25, 2013 at the provincial gymnasium in Trece Martires City.

A technology forum will be held where organic agriculture and other timely topics will be discussed by knowledgeable resource persons.  Various agricultural and fishery products will also be showcased in exhibits. The public will have the chance to buy said products at very reasonable prices.


The first Cavite Agrifest last year was attended by some 6,000 farmers and other residents. This year, more attendees are expected, according to the organizers who include the provincial government officials and agencies of the Department of Agriculture.

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Fresh Eggs For Lunch For Thai Students

CPFoods Philippines executive Arnnop  Jeanprasert
and Ban Busoong student Supakorn Ninaksorn with
a tray of brown eggs from the school's poultry project.
The Philippines can learn a few smart lessons from Thailand when it comes to feeding undernourished school children. Instead of buying noodles as is the usual practice in the Philippines to feed school children, some 420 schools in rural areas in Thailand raise chickens on their own campuses so that the children can have fresh eggs as part of their daily lunch.
  
Aside from having a more healthy meal, the school children also learn early practical techniques in raising the chickens in a scientific way. They can later adopt the skills learned in putting up their own layer projects in their own homes.

We had the opportunity to visit one of the schools which are raising chickens for their eggs used in the lunch project that is being implemented by the Rural Life Development Foundation financially supported by Charoen Pokphand Group, one of the big conglomerates in Thailand engaged in agricultural production and food processing.

The school which offers Grades 1 to 9 is the Ban Busoong School in the town of Prachinburi in the province of Krabinburi, about two hours drive from Bangkok towards the northeast. We were among the print and broadcast media practitioners who were invited on February 28 to March 6 to a tour of CP Foods’ CSR or corporate social responsibility projects in Thailand and Vietnam.

The tour was led by Dr. Pinij Kungvandij and Arnnop Jeanprasert of CP Foods Philippines that is currently putting up a feed business and pig and poultry projects in the Philippines.

At the Ban Busoong School, some 200 layers of the Isa Brown breed from France are being raised in cages in just a very small space right on the school campus. The birds produce an average of 170 eggs daily which become part of a lunch meal the children take at noon after classes.

Ban Busoong is one of the small schools under the program of the foundation. That is why only 200 layers are maintained in the school. In bigger schools, the layer population could run up to 500 hens.

The student lunch project is run like an honest-to-goodness business  by the school cooperative which was set up to oversee the day-to-day operations by the teachers, students and the board of education. The co-op buys the eggs and manages the school feeding fund deposited in the project’s bank account.

This is to maintain the sustainability of the project. Charoen Pokphand initially provided the chickens, the feeds and the vaccines to the school. At the same time, the technicians of CP Foods trained the students how to take care of the birds.

The school co-op receives privileges from the CP Food to make their operations more profitable. For instance, replacement birds are acquired at only 100 baht each instead of the 200 baht per bird in the market. Feeds are bought at only 10 baht per kilo instead of 15 baht in the regular poultry supply stores.

The Thai government is also providing some funds for the Lunch Project at 13 baht per student. This is managed by the co-op in the school. Under the Lunch project some 80,000 students are being provided with healthy meals during school days.

This is something worth copying by our government and well-meaning business companies who would like to support worthy causes as part of their corporate social responsibility.

Dr. Pinij Kungvandij (center) is received by teachers of
Ban Busoong School. At right is Jun Soler.
Students break eggs for cooking for the students' meal.
Students pose with Nina Calleja (second from left) of the
Inquirer and Zac B. Sarian (right) of the Manila Bulletin.


Tuesday, March 12, 2013

SM's Admirable New Advocacy

Persons with disability in Rosales, Pangasinan are given
opportunity to grow fruits and vegetables in the vacant
spaces at the SM City Rosales.
We just learned for the first time that there is another advocacy that is being undertaken by the SM Group of companies. Of course, we are very familiar with the very successful Kabalikat sa Kabuhayan Farmers’ Training Program that has been ongoing for the last five years, training hundreds of farmers to produce high-value, high-quality vegetables and other crops.

The new advocacy is giving opportunity to persons with disability (PWD) so they can become productive and also attain self respect and be proud of their achievement.
  
The SM Program on Disability Affairs has been training persons with disabilities to plant and grow vegetables so that they can earn additional income for their families.

SM has given PWDs in Rosales, Pangasinan, the freedom to use and manage an undeveloped portion of SM City Rosales property for planting vegetables and other crops. It also provided a space in the mall premises in order for the farmers to sell their produce directly to SM customers through the Farm-to-Market project of the company.

According the company’s release, giving PWDs convenient access and priority to everything are SM’s way of caring for the disadvantaged persons. All these initiatives have transformed its business environment into a community of opportunities open to PWDs to show their abilities above their disabilities, and environment friendly to entrepreneurial and livelihood programs.

Other big companies with their own corporate social responsibility programs should think of projects that are sustainable in the long run. One example would be a big food company that will put up a processing plant for sweet corn growers, for instance. The company will teach the farmers in a cluster of communities to produce sweet corn for canning and for making other products such as corn juice which we had the opportunity to taste in Thailand. This is just one example. There could be many other possibilities.

Friday, March 8, 2013

Feedback: Power Grower Combo on Waxy Corn

Fernando Gabuyo of Tondod, San Jose City, Nueva Ecija, told us an exciting experience using Power Grower Combo on Sweet  Pearl, a waxy corn variety usually cooked as boiled corn on the cob.

He sprayed his corn plants with Power Grower Combo when they had four leaves. He sprayed again five days later. For the third time he sprayed the plants a week after the second spraying. 


He reported that the Sweet Pearl is relatively smaller than most sweet corn varieties. But with his three sprayings of Power Grower Combo, the plants grew more than 6 feet tall, producing very big ears. Many of the plants also produced double ears that were equally big.


Power Grower Combo is a plant growth promotant formulated by Alfonso G. Puyat, an inventor specializing in plant nutrition. Power Grower Combo has also worked wonders on sugarcane, vegetables, tobacco, fruit trees and other crops.


NOTE: If you are interested to buy Power Grower Combo, text your complete name and address to 0917-841-5477. The return text will tell you how you can order the plant growth promotant, including buyers from the provinces. Orders will be sent by JRS Express courier. One pack of 500 grams costs P400 plus courier charge if sent by JRS Express. One pack is enough to spray one hectare of young rice plants, corn, sugarcane, etc. It is very economical.

CPFoods' CSR Makes Thai Farmers Rich

Breeding Pigs
Pakdee Thai Siam is the president
of Nong-Wah Agricultural Village.
Arnnop Jeanprasert (left) of CPFoods Philippines
at the briefing at Nong-Wah Agricultural Village.
Nopachat Panyawachiropas is a contract
grower raising 2,100 fatteners at a time.
Big companies with a well-focused Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) could transform the lives of poor farmers, making them financially independent and proud of their achievement.
  
Just like the 50 landless farmers who were allocated 3.8 hectares each by the King of Thailand in 1978 in the province of Chachoengsao, about two hours drive northeast of Bangkok. Now the farmers have transformed the once brushland into the Nong-Wah Agricultural Village which has become a land reform management model.

The transformation came as a result of the cooperation of the bank and Charoen Pokphand, the giant food and agriculture company in Thailand.

In the beginning, the settlers did not have any money to start their farming. But CP Foods had a bright idea. Their experts trained the farmers to take care of breeding hogs to produce piglets the scientific way. Then CP Foods would buy the piglets for its contract farming of slaughter pigs with farmers outside Nong-Wah.

The CP experts had to convince the bank about the viability of the project, assuring the bank that the farmers would be able to repay their initial loans of 300,000 baht each. And how did CP make sure that the farmers would succeed?

They provided them with the improved technologies. One is the raising of the improved breeds in confinement. The houses today are equipped with evaporative cooling system so that the breeders feel comfortable and conducive to problem-free reproduction. The pigs are fed with the right nutrition. They are protected from diseases with the help of CP’s veterinarians and animal husbandry experts. The farmers are also taught how to artificially inseminate their animals.

One very important factor that made the farmers succeed was that they were assured of their market for their weanlings. All they have been doing is do the best they can in producing healthy weanlings for sale to CP Foods. The current price per weanling is 1,200 baht.

From their zero assets in 1978, the settlers have each accumulated at least 6 million baht in assets today. But of course many of them have amassed much more than that and they are investing in farms outside of the village.

Pakdee Thai Siam, the 50-year-old president of Nong-Wah Village, is now a multi-millionaire in his own right. While serving as president of the village cooperative, he receives a minimal 1,500 baht per month but he makes much, much more from his pigs and other projects.

Pakdee started taking care of 30 sows which grew and grew in number through the passing of the years. Today, he is taking care of 600 sows, each producing about 22 weanlings a year. At 1,200 baht per weanling, one sow could produce 26,400 baht per year which is equivalent to P36,432 in Philippine peso.

Pakdee seemed reluctant at first to disclose how much he makes in profit every month but after some prodding, he admitted that he makes about 200,000 baht a month from his piggery. That’s about P276,000 in our currency. And that is why he could afford a big house, and send his daughter to a medical school. He has also bought a 15-hectare property outside Nong-Wah which he has planted to rubber trees.

Nong-Wah Agricultural Village is a modern community with wide well-paved roads. The place is beautifully landscaped and the plants are well maintained. The village does not smell just like the ordinary pig farming community. That’s because the pig manure is turned into electricity by means of a biogas system. The biogas system is responsible for supplying the village with 30 percent of its energy requirements. Another byproduct of the manure is organic fertilizer.

CP Foods is also very helpful to young farmers who go into pig farming. Just a few kilometers from Nong-Wah, we visited the project of 27-year-old Nopachat Panyawachiropas who finished a course in animal husbandry. For a year, he worked with the livestock project of CP Foods but four years ago, he decided to venture into his own pig farming.

With the help of CP Foods, he was able to borrow from the bank 7 million baht to put up three hog houses, each with a capacity of 700 fatteners. The pigs are fattened in about five months to 100 to 110 kilos each, unlike the usual 85 kilos in the Philippines.

The hog houses, as is usual in projects of CP Foods, are all equipped with evaporative cooling systems which make the animals comfortable and fast growing.

CP Foods provides the piglets, the feeds and medicines. Nopachat, on the other hand, owns the housing and spends for electricity, water and labor. At the end of a growing cycle, Nopachat makes an average of 450 baht per head. Which means he could gross about 945,000 in less than six months of raising the animals. That’s why he could afford to amortize his loan from the bank at 100,000 baht a month.

In three more years, he would be able to pay all his loan and could probably expand his operation so he could make more money.
   

Piglets are the main product at Nong-Wah
Agricultural Village, Chachoengsao province
in Thailand northeast of Bangkok.

Thursday, March 7, 2013

Mango Congress Speakers

Sec. Proceso J. Alcala at the Mango Congress
held in Cebu City last year
.
Agriculture Sec. Proceso J. Alcala will keynote the opening of the 15th National Mango Congress on March 20, 2013 at the RMTU Gymnasium in Iba, Zambales.

Before Alcala' speech, Jennifer Remoquillo, head of the High-Value Crops Development Program, will present the 2013 Priority Interventions for Mango.

In the afternoon, 1:15 to 2 pm, Dr. Celia dlR Medina will talk on Insect Resistance Management, including improving pesticide use, improving pesticide choice, and brief updates on the control of Cecid Fly and Capsid Bud.

Dr. Norlito R. Gicana of the Pesticide and Fertilizer Authority (FPA) will talk on MRL (minimum residue level) and Traceability thru Good Laboratory Practices.

DAY 2, March 21, 2013.
Efforts towards attaining organic mango production.

8:15-8:45 - Dr. Celia dlR Medina will talk Biological Control of Leafhoppers.

8:45 - 9:15 - Engr. Grecilda S. Zaballero, Biological Control of Anthracnose and Diplodia.

9:15 -9:40 - Salvador Salacup, Status of GAP and National Organic Act for Mango.

9:40 - 14:00 - Danilo Dannug, Nursery/Scion Grove Certification & Updates on Researches for Mango.

10:30 - 11:00 - Nathaniel Cervando from Pagasa, Climate Change.

11:00 - 11:30 - Joseph G. Macagga, Product Presentation.

Postharvest Technology & Processing Session

1:00 - 1:30 - Quantifying Postharvest Losses in the Mango Value Chain

!:30 - 1:45 - PMFI President Virginia de la Fuente, Presentation of PMFI Project Brief. "Developing of Appropriate Packaging, Handling and Transport System Along the Mango Value Chain in the Philippines." PMFI Accomplishments.

1:45 - 2:15 - Dr. Jocelyn E. Eusebio, Updates on Postharvest Technology for Mango.

2:15 - 2:40 - Bernardita Montevirgen, Status of Mango Processing in Zambales.

2:40 - 3:10 - Antonio S. Rola, NMAT Accomplishments.

Marketing Session
March 21, 2013

3:30 - 4:00 - Noel Padre, Implication of Asean Economic Community by 2015 on Philippine Mango/Fruit Industry.

4:00 - 4:30 - Leandro Gazmin, Latest Packaging and Marketing Trends in Mango Observed in Other Countries.

March 22, 2013
Day 3

8:30 -9:15 - Dr. Calixto C. Protacio, Importance of Tree Pruning and Nutrition to Sustainable Mango Production.

9:15 -9:45 - Simeon Cuyson, Minimizing Risks to Chemical Exposure of Spraymen Through Development of Farm Implements.

9:45 - 10:15 - Jovy C. Bernabe, Proposed PCIC -PMFI Accident and Life Insurance Program for Mango Workets.

10:15 -10:30 - Virginia de la Fuente, Increasing Export Recovery Thru Improved Harvesting Tools.

10:30 - 11:00 - Zac B. Sarian, Sharing of Mango Production Tehnologies and Mango Cultural Practices Observed in Other Countries.

The 15th National Mango Congress is under the auspices of the Philippine Mango Industry Foundation, Inc. and is hosted by the Samahan ng mga Nagmamanga sa Zambales, Inc. headed by Evelyn A. Grace. PMIFI is headed by Virginia de la Fuente.




Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Five-Finger Okra, Anyone?

Weng Bienes,  ABC administrative
officer, poses with Five-Finger okra.
One okra selection that could become a favorite of farmers is what they call Five-Finger variety. This caught our attention when we visited the Allied Botanical experimental farm in Tayug, Pangasinan, last February 21, 2013.

They call it Five-Finger because its leaves are deeply divided into five segments. It is very prolific and the fruits are prominently visible. This is one big advantage, especially for harvesters. The fruits are very easy to locate and harvest.


The Five-Finger variety was planted beside a variety with broad leaves for contrast. The fruits of the variety with broad leaves are hidden under the leaves so that harvesters will have a hard time locating the harvestable fruits.


Another advantage of Five-Finger is that there is less leaf space to spray in case spraying pesticide is necessary. There is also less room for the insects to hide.


Five-Finger is an open-pollinated selection so that the farmers can plant the seeds that they harvest from their farms. No other commercial seed producer could produce the seeds legally for sale because it is being registered for IPR protection.

Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Outstanding Stringbeans From Allied Botanical

Sheila Rojo with long pods of
stringbeans during the field day
at the ABC experimental farm.
Several outstanding stringbean varieties were among the attractions during the field day at the experimental farm of Allied Botanical Corporation in Brgy. Lichauco, Tayug, Pangasinan on February 21, 2013.

These include the 4-Star variety which produces 3 to 4 pods per peduncle, each pod about 60 cm; Tristar which is very high yielding, producing 2 to 3 pods per peduncle; Negrostar which produces dark green pods well liked in the Ilocos and Central Luzon, Greenstar which produces smooth apple green pods; and Maranaw which produces light green tender pods.

Photo shows Sheila Rojo posing with a prolific sitao at the ABC experimental station. She is a nurse who was one of the visitors during the field day on February 21, 2013.

Power Grower Combo Works Wonders On Tobacco

Frederick Pinpinio showing a big leaf of
his Burley tobacco sprayed with Power
Grower Combo.
A special fertilizer that has been proven to more than double the yield of sugarcane and fruit trees also does wonders on Burley tobacco. This is the Power Grower Combo, a plant growth promotant formulated by Alfonso G. Puyat.
  
Earlier, the special fertilizer formulation doubled the yield of sugarcane in the farm of Mauro Merculio in Victoria, Tarlac. This time, the trial in a farmer’s farm in Balungao, Pangasinan, shows the yield of Burley tobacco could be more than doubled with the Power Grower Combo.

Frederick Pinpinio of San Miguel, Balungao, Pangasinan has a standing crop of Burley tobacco on one hectare from which he has harvested two times as of this writing. His tobacco plants that were sprayed just two times with the Puyat growth enhancer have grown to about six feet tall whereas the plants of the unsprayed  adjacent field were mostly four feet or less in height.

The sprayed plants produced much bigger and more numerous leaves. The leaves of the sprayed plants were two feet long and one foot wide. On the other hand, leaves of the unsprayed plants measured only 17 inches long and seven inches wide. When the leaves were dried in the sun, as is the usual practice in Burley tobacco, the dried leaf of the sprayed plant weighed 12 grams whereas the one of the unsprayed plant was 5.1 grams.

As per the estimate of Frederick, one plant could yield as much as one kilo of dried leaves. He has planted 15,000 plants in the one hectare that he rented for P5,000 per planting cycle. That means, he could possibly harvest about 15 tons from one hectare. At the usual price last year of P70 per kilo, the 15 tons could be worth more than one million pesos. Even if the yield is only ten tons, that would still give the grower P700,000.

Compared to corn, which is also a major crop in Pangasinan, tobacco requires more labor to produce. The cost of production includes the cost of seedlings which is supplied by the buyer of the cured leaves at 70 centavos per seedling. The other costs are land preparation, fertilizer, daily attention to the plants while they are growing to prevent insect infestation, irrigation, cost of harvesting, sticking and drying. At any rate, Burley tobacco is still profitable to grow.

According to the National Tobacco Administration, Burley tobacco is being produced largely in Pangasinan which accounts for 51 percent of local Burley production. The other provinces growing Burley tobacco are Tarlac (16%), Nueva Ecija and Mindoro.

The NTA adds that there are about 11,376 farmers involved in planting Burley tobacco on 7,198 hectares.

The good thing about Burley tobacco is that unlike Virginia tobacco, it is not cured in flue-curing barns. Burley is dried in the sun like the native tobacco.

Burley is a light colored aromatic tobacco that is used in making cigarettes. About 75 percent of local production is used by local cigarette manufacturers. The rest is exported to countries like the United States, Germany, Hong Kong, Singapore, Russia and Japan.

Frederick Pinpinio is dwarfed by
tobacco plants sprayed with Power
Grower Combo
There's a very big difference between the
Burley tobacco sprayed with Power
Grower Combo (left) and the unsprayed
tobacco plants at right.
e sent
Zac B. Sarian (left) with Frederick Pinpinio
in his farm in San Miguel, Balungao,
Pangasinan on February 24, 2013.
NOTE: Those who would like to buy Power Grower Combo could text their full name and address to 0917-841-5477. A text will be sent telling how you can order the special fertilizer, including Heavy Weight Tandem, another formulation of Mr. Alfonso Puyat that makes fruits bigger, more uniform, sweeter in the case of citrus and other fruits that are sour.

Monday, February 25, 2013

March Agriculture Magazine Out


Ernesto Abalos is featured on the cover of the March 2013 issue of Agriculture Magazine with his Paraoakan chickens which are becoming a favorite of native chicken enthusiasts. The magazine is now off the press. It features many other stories about successful agri-people, new ideas and research results. Agriculture Magazine is the most widely circulated agriculture magazine in the country which is available in bookstores and in outlets of Manila Bulletin nationwide.

By the way, you can contact Ernie Abalos at 0917-536-5503.
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