Monday, April 22, 2013

Papaya Grower in Bago City

Jun Hilado (left) and Zac B. Sarian
In farming, as in any other business, one has to be creative in order to become a winner. Just like our new friend Sergio “Jun” Hilado of Bago City who spent 30 of his 55 years in Manila. And for 14 years he was vice president for operations of a well known management firm in the city.
Then in 2000, he decided to give up his corporate job to return to nis native Negros so he can become a full-time gentleman farmer. While sugarcane is his main crop in the 80 hectares that he operates today, he is more excited about growing his Red Royale papaya. Before that, he was growing the very popular Red Lady variety.
He likes papaya because the gestation period is relatively short compared to some other crops. And once the papaya has started producing ripe fruit, harvesting is usually twice a week and so the cash flow is continuous for several months.
Jun says that papaya is really a profitable crop to grow, especially if one can avoid the virus that now and then attacks some plants. He has been trying to outwit the virus by planting in a new area each time.
In 2010, he planted just half a hectare to Red Lady. He really had a good crop because for four months, he harvested from his plants two times a week. And in each harvest he usually got 800 to 900 kilos. He sold most of them at P20  a kilo he grossed P16,000 to P18,000 per harvest, or P32,000 to P36,000 a week. As per his record, he spent only about P80,000 on that half hectare crop.
Later, Jun decided that his papayas should be better in quality and packaging than those of other growers in Negros. That way, he could command a higher price. So what did he do?  He designed an attractive label which he stuck on each fruit. Just by doing that “Red Sweet” label, Jun was able to command a price of P25 per kilo instead of the P15 or P20 that most “viajeros” would offer the papaya farmer per kilo.
He has also designed a scheme that motivates his workers to work fast and efficiently in the farm. It is also a scheme that allows the workers to be able to bring home some money every time a particular work is finished. Say one hectare has to be weeded. He tells his workers that the budget for weeding is P1,200. And so, if four workers can finish weeding in one day, they can already receive their share of P300 each  when they go home. There are many other chores that could be budgeted similarly.
Jun Hilado's label for his papayas
Jun has also come up with his own organic fertilizer to reduce the cost of chemical fertilizers. He used to spend P21,000 on chemical fertilizers per hectare. Now, with his own organic fertilizer, he saves about P5,000 per hectare on fertilizers.
His organic fertilizer consists of chicken manure, mill ash, mudpress and rock phosphate.

Saturday, April 20, 2013

May Agriculture Magazine Cover

SHEILA ROJO, a registered nurse from Zambales who attended the Allied Botanical Field Day in Tayug, Pangasinan, is on the cover of the May 2013 issue of Agriculture Magazine.

  She is shown with the long pods of one of the outstanding sitao varieties developed by Allied Botanical in its 23-hectare research farm in Tayug.

You will read a lot of interesting features in the May issue aside from our report on the Field Day in Tayug.

You will read about a Nueva Ecija planter who made millions from hot pepper grown in just 2,000 square meters.

The May issue will be off the press before the end of April. Make sure to get your copy. Agriculture Magazine is the most widely circulated publication of its kind in the Philippines. It is available in bookstores, convenience stores and the distribution network of Manila Bulletin nationwide.

HORTI SOCIETY Officials Inducted

Agriculture Secretary Proceso J. Alcala (left) inducted recently the new set of officers and trustees  (2013-2014) of the Philippine Horticultural Society at his office in Quezon City. Those inducted, from left: Immediate past president and ex-officio board member May Caballero-Dumlao, new president Adoracion S. Bernabe, vice president Patricia Fernando Regalado, corresponding secretary Norma Karasig Villanueva, recording secretary Noel Vincent Canicula, treasurer Remedios Rodis Santelices, assistant treasurer Edna Felipe, assistant PRO Betty Rivera, PRO Butch Duque and auditor Orlan Velasco.

Friday, April 19, 2013


This is Zac B. Sarian, agriculture editor of Manila Bulletin. I may not be able to attend to your texts, e-mail and calls immediately from April 23 to 28, 2013. That's because we will be in Taiwan visiting at least 5 big leisure farms. One of them is a big farm in the highlands with about 3,000 kinds of herbs. Of course, you will learn about what we gather in this blog as well as in the Bulletin publications.

Thursday, April 18, 2013

RAMIE AMARDECER - Farmer Hero In Negros

Ramie Amardecer and Zac B. Sarian in
Ramie's sweet corn plantation.
Meet an enterprising high-value crop producer who is East-West Seed Company’ farmer hero in Western Visayas.
He is 40-year-old Ramie Amardecer of Bago City who studied to become a diesel mechanic but who decided to become a full-time farmer instead.

He has been farming for the last 20 years, earlier together with his father but farming in those earlier years was not so profitable because the ordinary varieties yielded very low.

He is very thankful that he came to know the technicians of East-West who introduced to him the hybrid seeds and also gave him the proper training in growing the same.

Morena eggplant, a hybrid by East-West, has become his favorite since he first planted it in 2009. In his first cropping, he planted 3,000 hills in March. About 50 days later, he started harvesting the fruits of his plants. He did that every Monday and Friday until the end of November.

His plants were so fruitful, he was able to harvest 1.2 to as much as 2.2 tons each time. Usually, he was able to sell his harvest at P35 per kilo. In short, he was able to make P700,000 from that cropping.

From this windfall, he bought three motorcycles and a tricycle. Two of the motorcycles were for his two sons while the other one is for his own use. The tricycle, on the other hand, is for the service of his workers.

His expenses were not much. The seeds cost him about P900. The other expenses went to land preparation which was done with a carabao, fertilizers, pesticide, irrigation and labor.

Not long after, he also discovered another money maker from East-West Seed. This is the Macho sweet corn which has also become his favorite up to this day. Macho produces big ears that are very sweet, and well liked by consumers.

He now produces sweet corn on a staggered basis – planting a kilo of seeds (about 7,500 seeds) every one to two weeks. This usually gives him about 6,600 marketable ears. Because he grows them very well, he could get as many as 3,000 first class ears that fetch P8 each, 3,300 Class B ears sold at P6, and 300 third class. On the average, he grosses P46,000 from a kilo of seeds that costs him P1,800. The growing period is only 65 to 75 days.

Ramie has demonstrated that one does not have to own the land to become a successful farmer. There are many lands that are available for rent. He rents 1.3 hectare in Brgy. Lagasan at only P5,000 a year. On the other hand, he rents the two hectares in another place at P15,000 a year per hectare. That’s still very reasonable to him. After all, he is getting high yields from the hybrid seeds from East-West.

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Sweet Kamias Multiplied In Teresa

The Sweet Kamias is now being propagated in big numbers at the Teresa Orchard & Nursery in Teresa, Rizal. This is in answer to the clamor of enthusiasts to have at least a few plants in their farm or garden.

The Sweet Kamias is not sour as the ordinary variety is. But it has a very nice flavor. That is why Ms. Adela Ang of EDSA Garden House has commented that it is a very good material for vegetable salads.

The fruit can also be eaten fresh right after picking. It is very delightful to the taste. With proper care, the seedling should bear fruit in three or four years.

The Sweet Kamias is a prolific bearer. The fruits are, however, smaller than the sour variety. But they are plentiful.

The seedlings are now available at the Teresa Orchard & Nursery. Call Rose how you can acquire some at 0915-434-4216.

Mango Festival In QC: April 19-21

The Aani Mango Industry Network (AMIN) headed by Antonio S. Rola is staging a mango festival from April 19 to 21 at the Quezon Memorial Circle in Quezon City.

The festival features exhibits not only of the carabao mango but also imported varieties like Golden Queen and others from Thailand and Florida (USA).

The event also features lectures and demonstrations as well as free consultations with experts and market matching. 

Ricardo Buenaventura: Hybrid Rice Farmer

Ricardo Buenaventura
Ricardo Buenaventura, 55, of Tabacao, Talavera, Nueva Ecija, has demonstrated that hybrid rice can be grown at a very modest cost.

He is shown in this photo with his bumper crop of SL-8H hybrid rice just before harvesting recently. 

He was able to produce 11,704 kilos in 1.1 hectares at a cost of only P3.20 per kilo. Since the selling price was P15.50 per kilo, he made a profit of P12.30 per kilo.

He has proven that hybrid rice is profitable to grow, especially during the dry season cropping. (Photo by Melpha M. Abello)

Friday, April 12, 2013

PINATUBO - Hottest Chilli In Town

Allied Botanical Corporation claims to own the hottest chilli in town. Called Pinatubo, it is said to have 180,000 to 200,000 scoville heat units. Scoville index is the measure of hotness in chilli, named after Wilbur Scoville of the United States who developed the heat index in chillis. 
Thailand's hot pepper is said to have only 90,000 scoville heat units while the ubiquitous Tingala has 120,000 scoville heat units, according to Mike Castillo, technical services specialist in food processing of Allied Botanical.

Mother's Best and Mama Sita are among the companies that are processing hot chilli in the Philippines.

Pinatubo is said to be a very prolific variety. 


Wednesday, April 10, 2013

An Unusual Indigenous Tomato

Henk Pascha and a profusely
flowering indigenous tomato plant.
The Lanchang Experimental Farm of East-West Seed International in Chiang Mai Thailand collects indigenous germplasm from various parts of the world which it grows under greenhouse conditions.

  A high-tech laboratory of the company at the Simon Groot Research Station in Sansai, Chiang Mai, analyzes the characteristics of each plant material. It can detect its purity as well as if it has any disease infection.

In photo is Henk Pascha, senior plant breeder, posing with an indigenous tomato that grows very tall and is profusely blooming. They will use this as a source of desirable characteristics of future hybrids that they will develop.

The Lanchang Experimental Farm is developing pure lines that they can use as stud plants in their breeding program. 

Sweet Corn Germinated In Seedling Tray

New techniques of growing high-value crops, like sweet corn, are being disseminated to the local farmers in Murcia and Bago City in Negros Occidental, thanks to the demonstration and training center in Brgy. Cansilayan, Murcia put up by the Energy Development Corporation. One of the techniques is growing sweet corn seedlings in seedling trays using the proper germinating medium. This technique is much better than planting the seed direct in the ground. Photo shows technician Arnel Caunto with seedlings germinated in seedling trays that are about ready for planting in the field.

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Vibrator For Pollinating Tomato

You can pick up many novel farming techniques if you visit the Lanchang Experimental Farm of East-West Seed International in Chiang Mai, Thailand. Like this practical but very doable  technique of pollinating tomatoes with the use of a battery-powered vibrator. Here, a lady worker places the tip of the vibrator on the flowering stems of the tomatoes. The flowers are shaken and pollination is effected. Instead of using bees and other insects for crop pollination, this is an alternative.

Unusually Tall Hot Pepper

Many unusual vegetables are being grown in the Lanchang Experimental Farm of East-West Seed International in Chiang Mai, Thailand. These include the hot pepper in photo that grows up to 10 feet tall under greenhouse conditions. The variety is very prolific, producing fruits from the bottom up to the top. Photo shows Henk Pascha, senior plant breeder, with the very tall tomato. At the Lanchang Farm, they are also developing pure lines used in developing hybrids that are superior in many ways.

Friday, April 5, 2013

Onion Harvest Time In Bongapon

The peak harvest of onion in Nueva Ecija is on. Photo shows the bountiful harvest of Ariel Cayetano who planted the new Super Pinoy variety from East-West Seed Company in his farm in Pesa, Bongabon, Nueva Ecija. Super Pinoy is claimed to be tolerant to disease, high-yielding, with bigger bulbs that have excellent storability. Photo shows Ariel, his young son and Ric Reyes of East-West Seed Company. The current farmgate price is P20 per kilo. 

Monday, April 1, 2013

Karina On The April Agriculture Magazine Cover

Karina van Leeuwen, head plant breeder of East-West Seed International, is shown on the cover of the April 2013 issue of Agriculture Magazine, posing with her fruitful salad tomato variety.

The cover story features the new high-value crops that were unveiled during the International Field Day conducted by East-West Seed on February 4, 2013 in Chiang Mai, Thailand.

Make sure to get a copy of the magazine, the most widely circulated magazine of its kind in the Philippines. It is distributed nationwide through bookstores and through the outlets of Manila Bulletin throughout the country.

There are many other interesting stories in the April issue which are informative, inspiring and very easy to understand.

Friday, March 29, 2013

Power Grower Combo on Django Pepper

JONATHAN GODOY of #34 Dariwdiw, Batac City, has a revealing experience in using Power Grower Combo on his Django finger pepper. Last March 12, he received his order of one pack of Power Grower Combo, the growth promotant developed by Alfonso G. Puyat.

He conducted his own experiment. He sprayed on plants that were fertilized and watered. On the other hand, he also sprayed Power Grower Combo on plants that were not fertilized and not watered.

The result? The fruits of the plants that were first fertilized and irrigated before spraying Power Grower Combo grew big very fast. On the other hand, the fruits of the plants that were not fertilized were very small. Now, he knows, before spraying Power Grower Combo, he will have to fertilize his plants either with organic or chemical fertilizer.

As has always been emphasized by Mr. Puyat, the function of the Power Grower Combo is to accelerate the uptake of nutrients from the soil. Therefore, the sprayed plants should have something to take up from the soil. And there should be adequate moisture so the roots will be able to absorb the plant nutrients.

In pepper, spray Power Grower Combo as early as when the plants have developed four leaves. The second spraying could be 10 days later. You will see the rapid growth of the plants.

Thursday, March 28, 2013

Karina & Jill - D-Max Tomato Breeders

In my earlier reports, we have cited Karina van Leeuwen as the breeder of D-Max tomato, the improved version of Diamante of East-West Seed Company.

Our friend Ric Reyes,  Product Market Combination Manager - East-West Seed International, was informed by Karina herself that she and Jill Bulawan did the breeding.

Jill is a graduate of UP Los BaƱos, BS Agriculture, major in Horticulture. She recently finished her course work for her MS in plant breeding at UPLB and is currently working on her MS thesis. She placed 15th in the 2003 Agriculture Licensure exams.

She has been working for 12 years at East-West, currently a senior plant breeder for tomato. Besides helping develop D-Max, she has developed a new Marimar type (Tom 130) variety for commercial release next year. Other varieties she developed are being tested at the pre-commercial stage for the  Mindanao market and South Asia.

D-Max, by the way, is an all-season variety that is very fruitful and resistant to diseases. It has made many farmers in the Philippines rich, including Nestor Kalaw of Lipa City in Batangas, and countless others.

JILL BULAWAN and a basket
of D-Max Tomato fruits.

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Chin Chin Uy Makes a Deal With Ronald Costales

Chin Chin Uy of Fresh Start Organics in Bacolod City has got new clients in Metro Manila for the supply of organic lettuce. One client requires at least half a ton of lettuce a week.

Instead of shipping his lettuce from Bacolod to Manila, he has made a deal with Ronald Costales of Costales Nature Farms in Majayjay, Laguna. Ronald supplies Chin Chin's clients with his Majayjay-grown organic lettuce.

It makes sense. Cost of transport is reduced. Chin Chin makes money and so does Ronald. Everybody happy, as they say.

He Runs an Integrated Farm & Resort

ANTONIO MADARANG BALAGOT used to be a provincial agriculturist in Cotabato. Now retired in his early 70s, he runs an integrated farm and Le Reve Resort in Makilala, Cotabato.

His integrated farm boasts of chickens, tilapia, a 16-hectare oil palm plantation and many many more. Originally coming from Aringay, La Union, he is one of many Ilocanos who decided to settle in the so-called Land of Promise.

He can be reached at 0939-906-2218.

Heavy Rice Grains With PGC And HWT

MRS, TERESITA FLORES of Isabela has re-ordered 2 packs of Power Grower Combo (PGC) and 3 packs of Heavy Weight Tandem (HWT) for her rice farm. That's because she was so satisfied with the application of the two growth promotants developed by Alfonso G. Puyat.

Jerome, Mrs. Flores' son, said that the grains of the treated plants were very heavy. PGC is sprayed on the leaves of the rice plants 8 to 10 days after transplanting. One half-kilo pack worth 400 pesos is enough to spray one hectare. The second spraying is 18 to 20 days after transplanting

Mr. Puyat says that PGC induces the plants to absorb a lot of nutrients from the soil. Hence, the soil should be adequately fertilized with either chemical or organic fertilizer. The sprayed plants develop a lot of tillers so the yield is much higher than those untreated.

HEAVY  WEIGHT TANDEM, on the other hand, is sprayed on the rice plants 38 to 40 days after transplanting. The second spraying is done when the plants are booting, meaning they are about to flower. The function of the HWT, according to Mr. Puyat, is to facilitate the transfer of the synthesized plant food in the leaves to the flowers and grains. The panicles are bigger and the grains heavier.

Text your full name and address (town or province) to 0917-841-5477 to know how to order PGC and HWT from Teresa Orchard and Nursery in Teresa, Rizal. The products can be sent to the province as well as in Metro Manila by JRS Express.

Power Grower Combo Works Wonders On Ferns

DORIE S. BERNABE, president of the Cactus and Succulent Society of the Philippines, is excited about the Power Grower Combo, the plant growth accelerator formulated by Alfonso G. Puyat.

She reports that the dying ferns which her assistant, Beth Mariano, sprayed with Power Grower Combo suddenly came to life and have become very lush.

That's the reason why she has ordered 4 packs so she could spray her other plants that include foliage anthuriums, philodendrons and many more.

To know how to order Power Grower Combo, text your complete name and address to 0917-841-5477. By return text you will get the answer immediately. The address is very important because the growth promotant is sent by courier. Naturally, the cost of delivery differs from Luzon, Visayas and Mindanao.

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Botanical Pesticide vs Dengue Mosquitoes

Botanical pesticide vs. dengue mosquitoes.
RAMON UY of Bacolod City has come up with a new botanical pesticide that is mainly aimed at fighting the mosquitoes that spread dengue fever.

Formulated by Marilyn Celis, a chemist, the natural pesticide consists of lemon grass oil, citronella oil and a little lemon fruit oil.

The Food and Drug Admninistration (FDA) has already given its go signal. It is safe to use even inside buildings.

Ramon Uy is very happy because while it is very new, the local government in Bacolod has already ordered P8000,000 worth of the product for spraying inside classrooms in the city.

Ramon Uy can be contacted at 0922-868-0489.
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