In the early 19th century, Western Visayas was a center for fashion for both colonizer and colonized. Piña fiber, which is the raw material used in making barong Tagalog was mainly sourced out from Aklan and brought down south to Iloilo where the fabric was designed and weaved into sophisticated pieces of clothing worn only by the elite. The climate in Aklan and its soil is a sweet spot for the mass production of Red Spanish pineapple whose leaves contain the fiber to make Piña cloth.

 

The Red Spanish pineapple is the first pineapple variety to flourish in the Philippines. It wasn’t just known for its fiber but locals also grew to love eating its fruit. It eventually lost its appeal when the Hawaiian variety was introduced in the country.

 

Compared to the Red Spanish variety, Queen Formosa has a larger fruit size by average, and has fruit that’s juicier and sweeter. With the introduction of these newer varieties to the market, Red Spanish production focused on leaf harvesting that supplies for the demand for piña fabric and at the same time overlooked the declining market potential of its fruits.

 

In March 2017, Agriculture Secretary Emmanuel Piñol visited Western Visayas for his Biyaheng Bukid television program. There, he saw that the pineapple fiber industry is facing an economic slump. “In recent years…the industry has suffered from very low supply of the fiber and the dwindling number of weavers who only earn as much as P300 a day for the difficult work which strains the eyes,” Sec. Piñol mentioned in his Facebook post.

 

With the Red Spanish pineapple being the only source for piña fiber, Sec. Piñol saw an urgent need to support the industry by providing more quality planting materials and sound protocols that can maximize the growth of Red Spanish, both its leaves and its fruits.

 

Yung tanginess ng bunga ng Red Spanish, medyo may kati at parang matabang sabi ng iba, varietal characteristic niya it, ibig-sabihin iyon talaga ang kanyang bunga,” said Mr. Innocencio Obredo, pineapple expert and chair of the Bicol Pineapple Board for the Province of Camarines Norte. When asked about why Red Spanish pineapple no longer appeals to consumer preferences, Obredo mentioned that, “siguro mas lalo siya hindi sumasarap kasi yung practice sa Aklan ay inaalisan ang kanyang mga dahoon bago pa siya maging hinog. So lumalaki ang prutas na walang na siyang ‘lutuan’ ng itinanim.”

 

Secretary Piñol further instructed the Bureau of Agricultural Research (BAR) and the Bureau of Plant Industry (BPI) to come up with research projects geared towards revitalizing the economic value of the crop.

 

In response, BAR, as the lead agency for research and development (R&D) in agriculture, immediately convened concerned stakeholders along with its pool of experts, particularly, representatives from the Aklan State University (ASU), DA-Regional Field Office (DA-RFO) 5, DA-RFO 6, and the Philippine Fiber Industry Development Authority (PhilFIDA) to discuss and finalize the R&D component studies to improve the size and quality of the Red Spanish pineapple.

 

According to BAR Director Nicomedes Eleazar, the group was able to come up with a concept and an action plan showing specific R&D activities to be implemented by concerned agencies specifically on how to improve the fruit size without compromising the quality of its fiber. He added that initial discussion was also facilitated on the issues and concerns of the textile fiber production from the Red Spanish pineapple as this is the main use of the plant.

 

The R&D component of the program titled, “Fruit Size and Quality Enhancement of Spanish Red Pineapple through Cultural Management Practices,” includes the profiling and marketing research of Red Spanish pineapple production and looking into the cultural management studies for production of large and sweet variety, including cost-benefit analysis of processing products.

 

The projects that are being conducted by DA RFO 5 and ASU have now plotted Red Spanish pineapple in their own experimental fields. Each plot was treated differently, varying in planting density, leaf harvesting, and fertilizer management.

 

The initial data results that were collected one year after the project started showed the nuances on leaf sizes depending on the fertilizer management and planting distance. Fertilizer treatments were based on the recommendations of the Bureau of Soils and Water Management and PhilFIDA. ### Ephraim Joseph J. Gestupa

 

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For more information:

Maria Christina F. Campita

Camarines Norte Lowland Rainfed Research Station

Calasgasan, Daet, Camarines Norte

Mobile: +63 09395668973

Email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

or

Dr. Lelisa J. Teodosio 

College of Agriculture, Forestry, and Environmental Sciences 

Tel/Fax: (+036) 267.6780

This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

 

Mangosteen (Garcinia mangostana L.)  is a high-value tropical fruit that is widely-grown in the Philippines due to its well-regarded, unique taste and reputed health benefits. The fruit is covered in a perfectly round and dark purple rind that peels away and stains the fingers when opened, revealing a segment of soft, milky white flesh that practically dissolves in the mouth.

 

Mangosteen is mostly produced in Mindanao particularly in the Sulu archipelago, Zamboanga del Norte, Davao del Norte, Misamis Occidental, Davao City, and Agusan Del Sur.

 

Unlike other tropical fruits that can be enjoyed all throughout the year, mangosteen is abundant from August to September only, just as the rainy season begins. During regular season, where there is an abundance supply of mangosteen, a kilo costs Php25-35. During off-season, the price skyrockets to as much as Php250-300 for a kilo of mangosteen.

 

Looking at this great opportunity to boost the earnings of farmers, Agapito Regulacion, researcher and chief of the Davao Agricultural Research Central Experiment Station (DARCES) of the Department of Agriculture-Regional Field Office 11, developed a technology that will enable farmers to produce off-season mangosteen and earned as much as ten times its in-season price.

 

Initiated in 2015, the research project titled, “Development of Package of Technologies for Off-Season Production Mangosteen” was funded by the Bureau of Agricultural Research.

 

“Developing an off-season technology for mangosteen has the potential of bringing high profit to the farmers. With this technology, farmers can schedule the off-peak months wherein they can harvest mangosteen,” said Regulacion.

 

Off-season mangosteen technology

“The seed of mangosteen is apomictic, a form of asexual reproduction involving the development of an embryo without the occurrence of fertilization. It may be grown from seeds or asexually through grafting,” explained Regulacion.

 

In mangosteen, the flowering process is crucial in its fruit production. Attempts to induce its flowering process showed significant results in regulating the off-season production of mangosteen.

 

In the study, Regulacion used several research interventions to determine their efficacy in inducing fruit flowering in mangosteen. These included: pruning, plastic mulching, bark ringing, application of a chemical flower inducer (Paclobutrazol), and installing rain shelther.

 

Pruning involves cutting off one foot from the top of every lateral branch of the mangosteen tree while the plastic mulching involves installing 3.5 meters of UV plastic mulch at the base of the mangosteen trees.

 

According to Regulacion, bark ringing is an established technology, which he learned from Thailand. It is used for off-season rambutan but he tried it in this study to test if it will work with mangosteen. It involves scraping the bark, two feet from the base at one inch wide and on cambium layer deep. The scraped part is covered with transparent plastic to avoid fungal contamination.

 

The application of a chemical flower inducer (Paclobutrazol) was also tried in the study. It was applied at a rate 500ppm to five-week old leaves (from flushing) and to fully mature leaves.

 

Another intervention was the use of rain shelter (200 microns UV protected plastic sheet) as roofing material installed in a bamboo frame. Result of the study showed that this particular research intervention proved effective in inducing fruit flowering in mangosteen.

 

“It was observed that among the treatments tested, only the trees with rain shelter have induced flowering two months (60 days) after establishment. The other treatments have initiated leaf flushing,” explained Regulacion. 

 

He added that, the high temperature and water stress cause the mangosteen trees to induce flowers. The microclimate inside the rain shelter was controlled resulting in a drought and higher temperature condition that triggered the trees to induce flowers after 60 days of stress period. During this period, carbohydrates begin to accumulate at the apical part of the leaves forcing the bud to break which then initiates the flowering process.

 

“Another important aspect of this technology is the establishment of a trench canal lined with plastic to enhance drainage of rain water and to avoid seepage,” he added.

 

“If farmers are able to adopt and use this technology effectively, they can predict the schedule of their production and identify easily when to produce them the best, which is during off-season where the price of mangosteen is high. If they can program their production and harvest them from December to February wherein mangosteen is not available, then it will be very profitable for them. The price is 10 times more during the off-season,” explained Regulacion.

 

Off-season versus in-season mangosteen

“As per data gathered, we found no difference on the fruit size and taste quality between off season and on season fruits. Although, season-produced mangosteen had more fruits with a yield of 58 kilos per tree while the off-season mangosteen had lesser yield of about 28 kilos per tree,” reported Regulacion.

 

Mangosteen has a distinct taste and a wide appeal. Regulacion mentioned that, generally, the white fluffy fruit has the right mix of sweetness and sourness into it, enough to crave one more after the next.

 

“The size of fruit is affected by the fertilization, climate, and the availability of water system in the growing area. These are essential elements to ensure that the mangostee trees will grow to its full potential,” Regulacion stressed.

 

He added that, as observed, mangosteen that are grown in higher elevation bear more fruit because of the colder climate, hence the harvest time is relatively prolonged. The maturity of the mangosteen fruit is affected by cold environment, the higher the elevation, the lower is the temperature. “Here in Manambulan, the harvest season is until September only, but those mangosteen that are planted in higher elevation, they can still harvest fruits until October,” he claimed.

 

Investing in off-season mangosteen

Initial investment of Php1M for off-season mangosteen technology will be costly but the returns are high as the year progresses. This is in addition to the income that a farmer gets from in-season mangosteen.

 

Adopting the planting distance of 5 x 10 square meters, a hectare can be planted with 200 trees. With an average of 25 kilos harvested per tree, a hectare of farm can produce around 5,000 kilos or five metric tons of mangosteen.

 

At an off-season price of Php250 per kilo, a farmer can have a gross sale of Php1.25 million. Minus the Php1M initial investment, this gives the farmer an initial net income of Php250,000.

 

During the first two years, a farmer can earn Php1.5M but in the succeeding year, he will just invest Php100,000 for the replacement of the bamboo frame, since the it has to be replaced every two years. The rain shelter can be used up to 15 years.

 

Farmer adopting the technology

Alfredo Mier manages a farm in Toril, Davao City was one of the first adoptors of the off-season mangosteen technology that was developed by DARCES.

 

“The technology was introduced to us by Dr. Regulacion when we were at DARCES. He taught us how to do, including when to install the rain shelter, so I got interested. I told the technology to the owner of the farm and asked if we can try it with our mangosteen trees and he gladly agreed,” recalled Mier.

 

“Our attempt in adopting the technology was a success. We tried it in our eight-year old mangosteen trees last August 2018. After two months, the trees produced flowers so by December they bore fruits already,” he happily reported.

 

“We wanted to harvest from December to March where there is no mangosteen in the market so that we can take advantage of the high price. Also, we don’t need to compete with big farms during in-season where us an oversupply of mangosteen,” he added.

 

He mentioned that the harvest during off-season is not as much as during in-season but with 10 times the price a kilo, the effort was worth it. “Kahit na mas kaunti yong bunga ng off-season mas bawi naman kami sa presyo nga off-season mangosteen,” he concluded. ### Rita T. dela Cruz

 

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For more information, please contact:

Agapito Regulacion

Chief, Davao Agricultural Research Central Experiment Station

Department of Agriculture-Regional Field Office 11

Manambulan, Tugbok District, Davao City

mobile: 0916-5089696

email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

 

Batuan (Garcinia binucao), is an indigenous fruit crop usually found in tropical climate countries like the Philippines. It is usually eaten ripe and widely-used as souring agent to Filipino dishes including sinigang. Batuan is particularly famous in the province of Iloilo and a main ingredient to Ilonggo’s cansi, pinalmahan, KBL (kadyos, baboy, langka), and among others. Batuan is synonymous to the sampalok of the Tagalog.

 

Aside from being a souring agent, batuan is also known for its health benefits. Containing antioxidants that fight free radicals from the body, it can reduce a cholesterol level which is good for those with hypertension. It is also rich in vitamin C which can help boost the immune system and give human optimum health. This shows that there is a lot more to this indigenous crop.

 

The Western Visayas Integrated Agricultural Research Center (WESVIARC) of the Department of Agriculture - Regional Field Office (DA-RFO) 6, led by Dr. Peter S. Sobrevega together with her colleagues, Elizabeth F. Amit are carrying out studies to further explore the potentials of batuan.

 

With the funding support from Bureau of Agricultural Research (BAR), DA-RFO 6 embarked on studies that will look into the possible interventions to tap the benefits of batuan particularly as processed products.

 

In 2016, with funding support from BAR, DA-RFO 6 implemented the project, “Production and Technology Promotion of Batuan (Garcinia binucao (Blanco) Choicy)”. The project aimed to enhance the income of farmers through utilization of batuan and develop new products for commercialization.

 

As a result, three agripreneurs from the province of Iloilo, assisted under the project, are now into food processing and value-adding of batuan. Through technical assistance from the capability trainings conducted by DA-RFO 6, their products are now commercially-available in the mainstream market.

 

From wage earners to agripreneurs

Suzette Demo, 43, from Jaro, Iloilo, is one of the assisted agripreneurs who is now into food processing of batuan. Her batuan tart, jam and jelly are now available in eight branches of Carlos Bakeshop [Bakery-Café], a popular all-time favorite pasalubong and pastry shop in Iloilo. A total of 2,250 pieces per week of batuan tart are produced and sold for Php. 55.00 /piece in the bakeshop.

 

Demo narrated the business venture started, when she met Rosalie Treṅas, owner of Carlos Bakeshop, in one of the trade fairs organized by DA-RFO 6 in February 2019 during the Dinagyang Festival. At that time, Treṅas was looking for native and local products that still not offered in the market.

 

So yun ang naging opportunity, nag-usap kami at sinabi ni Ma’am Rosalie gagawa siya ng tart or any pastries para sa kanyang bakeshop from the batuan jam na isu-supply ko sa kanya,” Demo recalled. “So, na-excite ako parang na-trigger ang interest ko na i-go na namin,” she added. In a matter of week, hundreds of bottles of jam and jelly were sold in the bakeshop.

 

Her bottled products such as batuan puree and batuan jelly are also being sold in famous supermarkets of Iloilo such as SM Iloilo City, Robinson, and Festive Walk Kiosk. Her batuan jam was also included as one of the pastry spreads that are served in the buffet breakfast at Marriott Hotel and GT Hotel in Mandurriao, Iloilo City. And lastly, batuan piyaya, is soon to be available at Brendans House of Lengua De Gato in Uton, Iloilo.“Ang batuan ay nag-open ng malaking opportunity sa amin, blessing talaga ang batuan,” Demo added.

 

Another agripreneur who is also into processed batuan is Bonifacio Stefan, 51, from Miagao, Iloilo. He is processing batuan into powder as ingredients for sinigang mix.  Stefan was has been a known processor of turmeric powder and ginger tea and a fixed business earner in Miagao.

 

“Nagkaroon ako ng interest nun sa batuan dahil alam kong madaming batuan dito sa kabundukan namin. Nakita ko hindi pinapansin ng mga tao dahil akala nila wala itong pakinabang,” Stefan explained. “Kaya nung first time ko makita ng products na gawa sa batuan na display sa isang trade fare nagka-interest ako matuto.”

 

Through DA-RFO 6, Stefan attended a special training on the proper handling and food safety of batuan before it subjects for processing. Stefan was able to learn about food procedure on sorting, pulping, proper dehydrating, and milling. And because of his creativity and practical thinking to have an economically yet cost-effective equipment for his processing, he even built and fabricated his own dryer specifically for batuan powder.

 

Meanwhile, an employed dresser, Amalia Nobleza, 53, who’s also lived in Miagao, Iloilo, benefited from the two days training in making batuan jam and jelly. When she got home after attending the activity, she started to process a kilo of batuan and produced eight bottles wherein she earned Php 1,200 pesos as initial start.  Eventually, it increases her production and was able to produced 159 bottles per week. “May umoorder na kasi sa mga bayan, may bumibili rin sa akin galing pang Capiz, Bacolod, kaya dapat tuloy-tuloy ang produksyon dahil mabilis talaga ang benta, maganda ang kita,” Nobleza happily shared.

 

Due to increasing demand for her products, Nobleza led to create an association namely the Durog Rural Improvement Club (DRIC) to help her neighboring folks to generate income.The DRIC was able to develop strategies wherein food operation and management has been stabilized by the members to continue and enhance the production and distribution of their products. 

 

The DA-RFO 6 stated that one of interventions of the project to utilize and promote batuan was through the conduct of training, trade fairs, and agro-exhibits. Through the project, the region organized and participated in trade fair at Festive Walk during Dinagyang Festival and in Iloilo Agriculture and Livestock Expo at Iloilo Convention Center in February 2018 and 2019.

 

Demo, Stefan, and Nobleza were participants in the hands-on training conducted by DA-RFO 6. The training was able to equip potential agripreneurs with proper processing techniques, mindset and values, practical knowledge and strategies, and consultation services to foster successful and sustainable agri-enterprises.

 

Dr. Sobrevega, the project leader said that, “we introduced to them new products from batuan and we called them for training. For us, this is another outlet to encourage them to go into agripreneurial activities, which could potentially increase their incomes. It also a way to promote batuan as a viable economic activity.”

 

R&D efforts on batuan

The importance of batuan as indigenous tropical fruit crops that has a commercial value is recognized by the Department of Agriculture (DA). In fact, DA has included batuan as one of the species subjected to DNA barcoding/fingerprinting for resource identification, conservation and protection project. This will enable the Philippines to claim ownership of the fruit so that other interested parties will have to acknowledge the Philippines as the source of the species.

 

Supporting the endeavor, BAR, as the research arm of the DA, has funded numerous projects in partnership with other R&D partner-institutions to focus on the researchable areas of batuan including benchmarking studies, propagation, nursery establishment, product development, market research, and primary processing. ### Leoveliza C. Fontanil

 

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For more information:

Dr. Peter S. Sobrevega

RTD for Research and Support Services/Project Leader

DA-Regional Field Office 6

Phone: (033) 329-0956

email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

 

 

Filipinos are generally dependent on animal meat, eggs, milk, and fish for their major source of protein and other nutrients. Soybean or “utaw” is considered the “wonder crop” of the 20th century being the cheapest source protein, Vitamin E and dietary fiber. Its diversity in uses has made it the most important crop species at present and in the future. Its seeds contain approximately 40-45 percent protein, 20-25 percent edible vegetable oil, and a significant amount of vitamins A and E as well as minerals and micronutrients making its valuable component in many foods items both for human and animals.

 

As a nitrogen-fixing plant, soybean can serve as complimentary crop not just to increase farm productivity of small resource poor farming communities but also in soil-nutrient rejuvenation and pest management.

 

With the current challenge of climate change, soybean, being a legume, and a sun-loving crop, has a great probability to adopt in climate variability and could stand still to provide healthy and nutritious crop in the future.

 

The Department of Agriculture- Regional Field Office 4B (MIMAROPA) has implemented a project on “Technology Development, Promotion, and Utilization of Organic Soybean for Indigenous People” which aimed to develop organic production of soybeans through technology demonstrations. It also sought to provide technical assistance, trainings and seminars on processing and utilization of organic soybean. Organic production is seen as suited in the region since it is home to indigenous people whose traditional way of farming is essentially organic in nature.

 

Original settlers of Mindoro

The indigenous peoples (IPs) of Mindoro Island are believed to first live in the coastal areas. They are called Mangyan and are subdivided into seven tribes. However, because of the arrival of foreign colonizers, landlords, and pasture ranchers, they were forced to leave their ancestral lands and settle in the upland places and mountains.

Now, they can be found in the far-flung areas and in the mountains of Oriental and Occidental Mindoro. Only a few of them finished their education. They are famous for their bead designs and other indigenous handicrafts such as the baskets and mats.

 

Though the tribes and their houses are located far from each other, they have established a good and peaceful relationship with each other. The resources of their mountains have not caused them conflict because for them the land is their life.

 

Introducing organic soybean

Although most IPs stick to their roots, there are those who are open to learning new technologies to improve their lives. One of them is the HAGIBBAT Mangyan Mindoro community. It is a federation of seven Mangyan tribes in Mindoro, namely: Hanunuo, Alangan, Gubatnon, Iraya, Bangon, Buhid, and Tadyawan, hence the acronym, HAGIBBAT. It is this particular community that the Department of Agriculture’s (DA) has collaborated with to introduce the organic soybean production.

 

Amit Gabriel, a member of the Hanunuo Mangyan tribe from San Mariano Roxas, Oriental Mindoro, and secretary-general of HAGIBBAT, is the first among the IPs that got interested in planting organic soybean.

 

 To equip himself, he attended a training-seminar on soybean production in Bansud, Oriental Mindoro in 2013.

 

Natutunan namin ang tungkol sa soybean kay Sir Allan, tinuruan nila kami sa produksyon at sa paggawa ng soymilk” [We learned about soybean through Sir Allan, he taught us about production and making soymilk], he said. Soon after, they requested seeds and started planting in a techno demo farm at the Mangyan Development Center in San Mariano. They intercropped soybean with other crops such as gabi, cassava, corn, mungbean, and upland rice.

 

Emilio Agayhay, another member of Hanunuo Mangyan tribe from Sitio Bar-aw, San Roque, Bulalacao, Oriental Mindoro got also interested in planting soybean. He adopted intercropping after learning the soybean’s important role in soil-nutrient rejuvenation. His whole family is helping him in planting. “Uunahin muna naming ang pangkain namin, kapag may labis, iyon ang aming ibebenta” (We prioritize our food needs, and the excess is what we sell), he said.

 

His family loves eating edamame – boiled green soybean.

 

Partner-stakeholder in organic soybean

Patak Pinoy Kaunlaran, Inc. located in Sitio Sinagtala, Barahan, Sta. Cruz, Occidental Mindoro is also a partner of DA in the soybean program. It is a cooperative that engages in health care, livelihood, environment, and climate change mitigation program. Most of its members belong to the Alangan-Mangyan tribe. Their harvests are transported to Malabon City, Metro Manila where they have an office. They processed the soybean into tokwa and taho.

 

Immersing into the IPs’ culture and engaging them into organic soybean production was made possible with the collaboration among public and private sectors. One of them was Je Precious Tarog, a social worker and co-founder of Tamaraw Young Professional Reformers (YPR) who reached out to IPs and taught them about organic soybean production.  YPR is a group of young professionals in Mindoro that aims to share the latest developments in agriculture, architecture, technology, education, social security, business, eco-tourism, and environmental protection.

Tarog is working with DA, and the local government of Roxas, Oriental Mindoro for a project for the IP beneficiaries of 

Share-an-Opportunity (SAO), Philippines which he is associated with. The project aimed to address malnutrition and to provide sustainable livelihood to the Mangyan. SAO, Philippines is a civic society Christian organization that serves the neediest and vulnerable children in Philippine society.

 

In a 2014 report of the Department of Social Welfare and Development, there were 74,323 poor families among the IPs in MIMAROPA region. These IPs are identified as the real marginalized sectors who are mostly engaged in basic agriculture. Nomadic by nature, they stay from one place to another due to unavailability of food. They have the lowest income levels (below hand-to-mouth existence); many of them have very limited access to basic education, health care, and other social services. Their incomes are not enough to meet even the most basic need of the family.

 

Strategies for success

Organically-grown soybean is introduced and promoted not only to boost its production but more importantly, it is a strategy to make sure that the growing population is aware of this crop, its  utilization and processing of its many by-products.

 

            Trainings on soybean production and cooking demonstration activities are being continuously conducted to test the acceptability of various soybean-based products among the IP communities. Through these developed soybean food products, both food security and nutrition are being addressed. ### by Allan F. Lalap, DA-RFO 4B

 

Technologies on the sustainable production of organic sweetpotato are currently being tested in Central Luzon.

 

Spearheaded by Central Luzon State University’s (CLSU) Ramon Magsaysay Center for Agricultural Resources and Environment Studies (RM-CARES), the testings are part of the project titled, “Development of Package of Technology for Sustainable Organic Sweetpotato Production in Central Luzon.”

 

The project aims to advocate the use of organic farming system among sweetpotato growers in the region.

 

Funded by the Bureau of Agricultural Research (BAR) under the National Organic Agriculture Program (NOAP), the project specifically intends to lessen the cost of production of farmers and their usage of synthetic fertilizers.

 

“Sweetpotato is common among farmers in Central Luzon. Maraming farmer din ang lumalapit at nagtatanong sa amin kung may technology ba about organic sweetpotato na maaari nilang magamit,” shared Dr. Jonathan Galindez, director of RM-CARES and project leader.

 

Dr. Galindez explained that the increasing demand for organic produce due to its health and environmental benefits also prompted them to embark on the study.

 

The first component of the project evaluated five sweetpotato varieties. Among these varieties included PSB SP 30, VSP6, SPJ, Kinerots, and Japonita.

 

Another component of the study was the use of Trichoderma, a potent biocontrol agent used extensively to combat soil-borne diseases. 

 

 

Other components

Plants with pesticidal qualities were also identified in another component. These plants were yellow ginger, kakawate leaves, and hot pepper (siling labuyo).

 

These plants were then blended on a 1:1 ratio with water. Extracts were fermented for seven days. In the initial trials, seven different concoctions were made, namely: yellow ginger, kakawate leaves, hot pepper, yellow ginger-kakawate, yellow ginger-hot pepper, kakawate leaves-hot pepper, and yellow ginger-kakawate leaves-hot pepper extract.

 

Application of the extracts or biopesticides was recommended to be done early mornings and late afternoons, when pests are most active. Population count of pests is then recorded per treatment in which the yellow ginger-kakawate leaves-hot pepper extract showed best results. Little to no damage was observed in the leaves of sweetpotato plants.

 

The fourth component of the project looked into proper water management practices. Results showed that those plants that were not watered at all and watered only once obviously did not produce good crops and died. Those that were watered twice or more flourished.

 

Farmer’s testimony

Galindez claimed that combining the package of technologies will produce quality organic sweetpotatoes. From an average of 24 tons under farmer’s practice, production under an organic farming system can reach an average of 33 tons per hectare.

 

Sweetpotato growers that earn an average of Php 35,000 per harvest then can now earn up to Php 250,000 per harvest.

 

Cecilio “Sonny” Antolin, Jr., farmer-cooperator of the project, attested to Galindez’ claims. “Malaking tulong talaga ito kaya nagpapasalamat ako sa mga nagbigay ng binhi at ng mga technology,” he said.

 

Antolin also shared the advantages and noticeable differences of growing sweetpotatoes using conventional practice and organic system during a field day-cum-seminar held recently in Brgy. San Pablo, Castillejos, Zambales.

 

 “Sa organic, mas malaki at mas matamis talaga ang laman ng kamote. Tested na naming ‘yun. Ang kagandahan pa nga eh sa organic practice, malayo ka talaga sa sakit dahil walang kemikal na ginagamit. Effective naman pala ang organic pesticide,” Antolin shared.

 

By:   Jhon Marvin R. Surio

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