DA-BAR celebrates the 2020 Desertification and Drought Day (DDD)

Marking another year of its global awareness raising campaign, the Desertification and Drought Day (DDD) continues to be observed every 17th of June— with the theme “Food. Feed. Fibre.” for the year 2020.

As response to issues concerning land degradation and unsustainable use of land caused by endless human requirements for basic necessities (i.e. food, clothing, and settlements) and demands for urbanization— the Department of Agriculture-Bureau of Agricultural Research (DA-BAR) upholds this year’s observance of the Desertification and Drought Day (DDD) which is spearheaded by the DA-Bureau of Soils and Water Management (BSWM) as the United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCCD) Philippine Focal Point.

 

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A tree teeming with fruits. But that all it is. In normal days, it serves as shade for those want to cool off from the scorching heat of the sun, and its fruits, falling from the tree just littered around the ground, left to rot and unconsumed.

This is the usual scenario of most indigenous fruit trees. They abound in a particular area but they remain underutilized not because they have no value but most people do not know their uses. Their potentials are not yet explored and therefore they remain ignored and unappreciated.

Over the years, the campaign of the Philippine government of “Food for All” has been intensified. Many indigenous plants, which were once disregarded have now been explored and more people have discovered their value, thus responding not only to food security but also as source of income especially among rural communities.

One promising indigenous fruit bearing tree is the Lubeg, found abundantly in Apayao and some parts of Cagayan. To further study its potentials, the Apayao State College (ASC) led the exploration and commercialization of this particular fruit.

 

Knowing Lubeg

Lubeg (Syzygium lineatum), locally known as Malubeg and Alebadu, belongs to the Myrtaceae family. It is a fruit tree that reaches up to five meters in height and commonly grows in shaded and open areas. Due to its size, the tree is usually used as a shade and live fence. Its leaves are simple attached to the stem oppositely arranged, ovoid to elliptical in shape measuring on about 8-10 cm, and sour in taste. Its flowers have an inferior ovary, regular and complete.

Lubeg fruits appear in cluster, whitish at first but turn red to violet when ripe. It is best described by the locals as cherrylike fruit with thick, fleshy, spongy, and brittle rind with size that can reach up to 13 mm long.

It belongs to the Syzygium genus just like duhat (Syzygium cumini) and lipote (Syzygium curranii) and can be eaten fresh. It has a citrusy taste and can be used as a souring agent in dishes like sinigang. Various plant species belonging to Syzygium genus possess polyphenols, micronutrients found in edible plants. According to literatures, polyphenols prevents acquiring cancer and cardiovascular and neurodegenerative diseases. Commonly, fruits and beverages such as tea and red wine are rich sources of polyphenols.

 

Adding value to Lubeg

Harnessing the health benefits and its potential as a profitable agribusiness enterprise, ASC researchers gave economical value to Lubeg and other indigenous fruits in Apayao such as Bignay kalabaw. and Balayang (wild banana). With funding support from the Bureau of Agricultural Research (BAR), ASC implemented a project to develop, promote, and commercialize processing technologies for the Apayao’s indigenous fruits.

The research team was able to develop Lubeg products including wine, fruit juice and concentrates, jam, jellies and syrups, and vinegar. The Lubeg jam and jelly are also used as fillers for baked products such Inipit, custard cake, cupcake, and doughnut. They also tried making a variety of flavors such as Lubeg-pineapple fillings and Lubeg-lemongrass juice. A sensory evaluation was done for Lubeg wine to see its performance against other fruit wines such as Bignay and duhat. Results showed that Lubeg is much preferred by consumers that the other two fruits.

As the project is hope to be elevated as an agribusiness enterprise, ASC tapped two people’s organizations: Pudtol Agrarian Reform Beneficiaries Multipurpose; and Women’s Welfare Organization (WWO)- Luna, to handle the processing and commercialization of the Lubeg products. Members were trained on baking, wine-making, and packaging and labelling.

ASC is already able to secure utility models at the Intellectual Property Office for the Lubeg wine and fruit preserves. ###

 

Known for its ivory translucent shell, kapis or window-pane shell (Placuna placenta) is mainly processed into lanterns, candle holders, window panes, lamp shades, flower vases, chandeliers, among other decorative items. Indigenous to various parts of our country, kapis is a very promising fishery commodity given the local and global demand for it either as a raw material or as a processed product. However, unbeknownst to many, kapis is also an edible marine bivalve mollusk like tahong, talaba, kuhol, and tulya.

Samal, Bataan is one of the municipalities in the country that has a rich resource of kapis. Thus, most locals usually engage in kapis craft making. The knowledge of processing kapis shells into exquisite decorative and gift items has been passed down from one generation to another.

Aside from this, they also utilize the kapis meat by cooking it into delectable Filipino dishes such as adobo, afritada, shanghai and by processing it into finger foods such as chips and kropek.

The idea of kapis chips came from one of the members of the KALIWANAG Rural Improvement Club (RIC), a cooperative in Samal that engages in the development of kapis-based products. According to Dr. Lilian C. Garcia, regional director of Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources (BFAR) Region 3, by processing the kapis meat into chips, an opportunity for additional source of income has opened and at the same time maximum utilization of kapis was made possible.

Smaller than the commercially available chips such as tahong chips, the kapis chips is very rich in protein making it a healthier option for finger food. If properly stored, it can last up to six months. Currently, the available flavors of kapis chips are original and sweet and spicy. Kapis chips are available in 75g, 150g, and 250g pouches and sold at Php 100, Php 200 and Php 300, respectively. It can be bought at the municipal and provincial tourism offices in Bataan and at the pasalubong center in Samal, Bataan, as well.

Six years after its inception, the kapis chips with its palatable taste have continued to spark and attract the attention of the buyers according to Ms. Gladys T. Resubal, aquaculturist from the Office of the Provincial Agriculturist in Balanga City, Bataan. Aside from the income generated through making wonderful decorative and gift items from kapis, they are also now earning an additional estimated annual income of Php 200,000 from the profits of selling kapis chips.

To ensure that they would have sufficient stock of kapis and to avoid its exploitation, Ms. Resubal said that per sanctuary they “stock more than a ton of kapis breeders, yon ang nanganganak to increase production.” She also added, “We regulate harvesting of small kapis and breeders. Bawal kunin iyong less than two inches na kapis and iyong breeders.”

KALIWANAG RIC is one of the cooperatives in Samal that was supported through the project, “Technology Promotion and Utilization of Window Pane Oyster (Placuna placenta) Products,” funded by the Bureau of Agricultural Research and implemented by BFAR Region 3, provincial government of Bataan, and local government unit of Balanga.

Dr. Lilian C. Garcia, project leader, and Ms. Resubal, co-project leader, realized the potential of the kapis industry in Bataan. They saw that the “maximum utilization of fishery products through application of appropriate technologies increases productivity and income, and generates jobs.” With this, the project was aimed to: improve the existing kapis based products and develop new ones; develop the packaging of the products; capacitate cooperators/ beneficiaries in the production of kapis products; improve production facilities; and assist in the promotion and marketing of the kapis products. ###

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For more information: Ms. Gladys Resubal

Aquaculturist Office of the Provincial Agriculturist Balanga City, Bataan | Mobile: 0918 298 9814 | email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

 

Native chicken plays an important contribution to the economic wellbeing of rural farming communities in the country. In spite of being inferior in terms of productivity compared with commercial chicken breeds, majority of smallhold farmers opt to raise native chicken as a source of food and additional income as it does not require special care and management. It can thrive on locally-available feedstock, resist major pests and diseases, adapt to new surroundings, and withstand climatic changes.

 

The demand for native chicken in the market has also steadily increased because of its unique taste and suitability to many local dishes. Local restaurants and catering services are looking for regular and stable supply of native chicken meat in the market.

 

However, low productivity remains a problem for the backyard raisers due to the relatively small body size and low egg production performance of native chicken. Thus, Dr. Francisco B. Geromo of Zamboanga Peninsula Integrated Agricultural Research Center (ZAMPIARC) of the Department of Agriculture-Regional Field Office 9 (DA-RFO 9) led the conduct of a project titled, “Community-based Native Chicken Project.” Funded by the Bureau of Agricultural Research (BAR), the project aimed to help in packaging and commercializing the technologies related to community-based native chicken production in Zamboanga Peninsula.

 

Through the project, the following interrelated studies were conducted: 1) profiling of native chicken; 2) growing and selection of upgraded breeder stocks; 3) crossbreeding of native chicken with four upgraded roosters; 4) growth performance of upgraded chicken; 5) egg production and hatchability performance of upgraded chicken; 6) profitability assessment; 7) sensory evaluation and acceptability testing of four upgraded chickens; and 8) mass production of upgraded chickens for dispersal in the community.

 

Results of the project

The study elicited significant findings regarding crossbreeding of the native chicken with four upgraded roosters. It was found that the offspring (F1) of the four upgraded roosters namely Kabir, Sasso, Jolojano, and Plymouthrock crossed to native chicken has no significant difference in terms of weight. However, the Jolojano breed crossed with native chicken was found more resistant to pests and diseases with good mothering ability. All the crosses reached maturity in 4-5 months. Likewise, when the four upgraded roosters (F1) were crossed again with native chicken in the farmers’ field, egg production and weight of eggs were not affected by any of the four upgraded breeds of chicken.

 

In terms of hatchability performance, it was observed that natural incubation gave higher percentage of hatchability as compared with those subjected in artificial incubation for four upgraded breeds crossed with native chicken, with hatchability performance ranging from 81-83 percent and 61-63 percent, respectively.

 

The upgraded Kabir crossed with native chicken has significantly higher weight of about 1.81 kg as compared with other upgraded chickens. The offspring of native chickens showed the lowest gain in weight of about 1.48 kg. Likewise, offspring of upgraded Kabir and native chicken was more efficient among other upgraded chickens, which required only 8.36 kg of feed in producing a kilo of meat. An on-farm study revealed that Kabir crossed with native chicken got the highest Return on Investment (ROI) of about 17 percent and net return of Php 882.84 compared with rest of upgraded chickens and the native. Native chicken crossed with native chicken got the lowest ROI of about 0.38 percent and net return of Php 19.47. Thus, it is recommended to go for upgraded Kabir as it was found superior in terms of weight and efficiency in feed conversion.

 

For egg and chick production, it was observed that the average egg production and mean weight of eggs were significantly higher in four upgraded chickens crossed with native as compared with native crossed with native. The four upgraded chickens produced on a average 12-14 pieces of eggs at 45-47 grams, in which the upgraded Jolojano has the highest egg production at 14 pieces, while the native crossed with native has an average egg production of 11 pieces and mean weight of eggs of about 45 grams.

 

Evaluation was also conducted during the production of upgraded native chickens (F2) for massive distribution in support to DA dispersal program. During the test done on farmer-cooperator’s farm, it was revealed that the number of egg produced by upgraded Jolojano crossed with native was noted significantly higher of about 14 percent comparable with upgraded Plymouthrock crossed native of about 13 percent. Likewise, the same trend was noted in the mean percentage hatchability which was about 94 percent. However, weight of eggs and percent mortality were not influenced by four upgraded chickens. ROI and net return were noted highest in upgraded Jolojano crossed native of about 91 percent and Php 56,480.00 respectively.

 

In terms of marketing, whether it is live chicken, dressed, or cooked, both the raisers and traders preferred to sell the chicken as live. Then, the most preferred recipes for the chicken by two eatery owners surveyed in the study were the grilled and chicken stew “tinibuok”.

 

The odor, color, taste and over all acceptability of the quality of raw meat were not influenced by the four upgraded chickens crossed with native during the sensory evaluation. Likewise, when the upgraded chickens were subjected to different menus such as oven-roasted and grilled, the consumers’ preference was not also affected. ###