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

 

--------

 

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

 

The University of the Philippines Los Baños (UPLB) Bee Program conducted the Bee Day on 26 March 2019 at Brgy. Pikinit, Sultan Naga Dimaporo (SND), Lanao del Norte. The activity served as the culminating activity of the project, “Pollinator Conservation and Promotion of Stingless Bee Technologies in Lanao del Norte,” funded by the Bureau of Agricultural Research (BAR) under its National Technology Commercialization Program (NTCP).

 

UPLB research team, led by Dr. Cleofas R. Cervancia, president of the Asian Apicultural Association Philippines, demonstrated how to properly identify colonies for division and how to split, and how to extract pollen, honey, and propolis from the colony. Participants were also taught how to transfer broods into a new box to start a new productive colony. After the demonstration, the participants were able to try the process for themselves with the assistance of the UPLB research team. A hands-on demonstration on honey packaging and soap making using propolis as one of the ingredients was also conducted.

 

 

 

  

 

Project beneficiaries from the three municipalities (Tubod, Kapatagan, and SND) participated in the activity. Also in attendance were Baluta K. Diron, SND municipal agriculturist, Francisco C. Bihod, Inclusive Growth Plan (IGP) consultant, and Evelyn H. Juanillo and Jillian E. Timple, apiculture focal persons from BAR.

According to Dr. Cervancia, the Lanao del Norte was held to celebrate the importance of pollinators such as stingless bees for the agriculture and the environment. It also serves as a venue to share with more people in the community the results of the two-year project in Lanao del Norte. The project aimed to teach the community on the conservation of pollinators: stingless bees. She further shared, “ito ay para rin sa livelihood opportunity kasi marami tayong produktong nakukuha gaya ng pulot, pollen at propolis. Ito ay pwedeng gawing hanapbuhay kaya additional income para sa kanila.”

 

NTCP, one of the banner programs of BAR along with the Community Participatory Action Research (CPAR), ensures the proper transfer of mature technologies for adoption and utilization by target farmers ans fishers. ### (Rena S. Hermoso)

 

Jackfruit is a champion crop of Eastern Visayas and with the introduction of “EVIARC Sweet” variety, Region 8 has been recognized as the ‘jackfruit capital of the country’. The variety was named after its developer, the Eastern Visayas Integrated Agricultural Research Center (EVIARC) of the Department of Agriculture-Regional Field Office (DA-RFO) 8.

 

The “EVIARC Sweet” is a National Seed Industry Council (NSIC)-registered variety in 2007. Its fruit is aromatic, ellipsoid in shape and contains moderate later. The color of its aril is golden yellow. The tree is about seven meters tall with spreading branches and produces on the average 35 fruits per fruiting season.

 

The development of the Eastern Visayas’ jackfruit industry has picked up as a result of the various Research and Development and Extension (RDE) initiatives and other support systems of the DA-RFO 8.

 

From 2010 to 2013, DA-EVIARC, in collaboration with VSU developed and introduced technology interventions on jackfruit production and product processing through the “Community-based Participatory Action Research on jackfruit Production and Processing in Barangays San Isidro and Malinao in Mahaplag, Leyte.” Funded by the Bureau of Agricultural Research (BAR), the project aimed to pilot a village-level production and processing scheme for jackfruit to support the commercialization of jackfruit in the region. BAR has since then intensified its support on jackfruit R&D initiatives.

 

BAR has funded projects that aimed to maximize the full potential of jackfruit. One of which was the BAR-VSU project that was aimed to produce chitin and chitosan from chitin-containing crustacean exoskeleton wastes, and to evaluate their potential together with raw materials for the control of Phytophthora palmivora—the cause of the decline syndrome that plagued the Eastern Visayas’ jackfruit industry in the late nineties. Chitin and chitosan which are reported to induce resistance against several diseases may have the potential to control jackfruit decline. However, these were not readily available to the local farmers. Through the BAR-VSU project, the researchers were able to identify the most effective chitin and chitosan source and the most effective method of treatment application.

 

Among the significant findings of the BAR-VSU project were: 1) chitin and chitosan extracted from shrimp and crab exoskeletons were comparable with standards; 2) both chitin and chitosan were effective in controlling the disease in inoculated jackfruit seedling; 3) monthly stem injection was the most cost-effective method of chitosan application followed by weekly spraying; and 4) chitosan was more effective in reducing lesion length when applied before pathogen inoculation or as preventive treatment than when applied after pathogen inoculation or as eradicative treatment.

 

BAR also funded another VSU project that increase the productivity and raise competitiveness of the jackfruit industry in Eastern Visayas through science-based manipulation of year-round production of fruits to support fresh market and processing industries. Implemented by VSU, the study sought to develop techniques for increasing female flower production of jackfruit trees, for off-season/continuous flowering and fruiting in jackfruit, and for improved fruit development, and to improve nutrient management.

 

The University of the Philippines Los Baños, through funding support from BAR, is currently exploring ways to improve the characterization, conservation and utilization of jackfruit and its related endemic species through the creation of quick, cost-effective and reliable identification, monitoring and characterization scheme using DNA barcodes, georeferenced maps and characterization profiles.

 

With the technical experts from DA-RFO 8 drafting for the jackfruit roadmap, the Agriculture Secretary’s support to the industry, and the R&D initiatives to maximize the industry’s potential, the jackfruit industry is indeed looking forward to a sweeter future. ### (Rena S. Hermoso, DA-BAR)