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ON THE COVER

Growing cash [crops] such as


peanut can provide a source
of income for Aguila Farmers
Association in Sitio Aguila,
Davao City, while conserving
forest trees.
ATTY. HERMOGENES P. POBRE President & Publisher
ZAC B. SARIAN Editor See pages 8-9 for the story.
SAHLIE P. LACSON Editorial Staff

4 From the Editor: Syngenta Tops


Corn Derby in Cagayan Valley
In the recently concluded Corn Derby
conducted by DA-CVRC, Syngenta’s Agrisure 8 Nuts of hope: Earning while protecting
NK8840 bested 14 other corn varieties Davao City’s watershed
entered by other seed companies. Besides 10 Largest fertilizer company to invest
being consistently the highest yielder at R1 B in Cebu facility

CONTENTS
12,823 kg per hectare, Agrisure is recognized 12 Low yields due to half of farms not using
for its big cobs, big kernels, and other enough fertilizers
desirable characteristics, including low 14 Energy company intensifies green charcoal
placement of the ears and high shelling production
recovery of 78 to 80 percent, hence giving 16 Look Ma! Big building, no posts!
farmers a better variety to plant. 18 The gift of growing

page 4 20 Jackfruit R&D gains showcased

24 Mechanization has its own downside

page 16 which the D.A. should address


26 Isabela farm machinery manufacturer
receives R2.9M DOST interest-free loan
28 Tracking global food security in 2017:
We will be seeing in the very
near future a building without Where is the Philippines?
posts which is very sturdy and
can withstand and resist winds 30 Two glutinous little pumpkins
of up to 250 kilometers per hour 32 Currents
and more. This is the Steel 34 The engineer is also a farmer
Arch Building manufactured by 38 “Makina Expo 2017” highlights importance
TECO of Turkey. It can be used as warehouse for storing various agricultural products, or a barn of farm mechanization
for livestock, or it can be used also as an evacuation center during typhoons and other emergency 40 Oil palm: Coconut’s “big brother”
situations. A local distributor of farm equipment, Agricomp, is representing TECO in the Philippines 43 A cost-effective solution
and in Southeast Asia. to partially replace Vitamin E
44 The global hunger index:
Where is the Philippines?
This is the Talakatak, an endemic chestnut that 45 Fairy F1: A new extra sweet watermelon variety
practically nobody knows about. Its nut’s taste 46 First commercial cultivation
and flavor is somewhat like the imported Chinese of purple magic corn variety is successful
castañas that is often available during the Christmas 48 Biotech crops reduce use of pesticides
season. As shared by Danilo Tiu, “if the taste and 50 Negros agripreneur now as ASEAN awardee
texture is similar to the Chinese castañas, why does 52 Agriculture sector growth slackens in Q3
it remain an unrecognized crop in the country?
Why is the plant itself not known to many?” 53 Abaca program produces virus-free
Perhaps, it’s about time our agricultural scientists planting materials
consider serious study about; after all, it could be 54 Corn silage production as an enterprise
one of the crops worth developing for commercial 56 DOST Cordillera launches program

page 60 production of our farmers. on climate change adaptation


58 Introducing a simple, inexpensive,
yet accurate coffee moisture meter
59 Electronic-based sensor device measures
Editorial: quality of cacao beans instantly
Trunkline: 527-8121 to 35 local 261; Telefax: 450-7106 60 A Philippine chestnut that practically
E-mail: agriculture@mb.com.ph nobody knows
61 New ARS website enhances access
Marketing: to scientific information
Direct line: 527-7524; Trunkline: 527-8121 to 35 62 Drones could help crop management take off
locals 305 or 309; Fax: 527-7533
E-mail: mbmagz@mb.com.ph or mbmagz@gmail.com 64 Breeding resistant chickens for improved
food safety
AGRICULTURE MONTHLY VOLUME XXI DECEMBER 2017 03
SYNGENTA TOPS
CORN DERBY IN
CAGAYAN VALLEY
FROM THE SYNGENTA’S AGRISURE NK8840 bested 14 other corn varieties entered in
EDITOR the Corn Derby conducted recently in San Felipe, Ilagan City, Isabela, by the
>BY ZAC B. SARIAN Department of Agriculture-Cagayan Valley Research Center (DA-CVRC).

This Bt corn that is Glyphosate


Tolerant (GT) yielded 12,823.23
kilos per hectare at a production
cost of R3.43 per kilo. Sold at dry
weight basis at R11.20 per kilo,
gross income was computed at
R143,620.18, for a net income
of R99,574.18 per hectare. Cost
of production was R44,046 per
hectare.

The Corn Derby is a project


of the DA in which different
varieties from seed companies
are planted in one location to
compete with each other. The
results will give farmers valuable
information upon which to base
their decision in choosing the
varieties they plant.

Agrisure NK8840 is recognized


for its big cob, big kernels, and
proven consistent high yield
over the years. Other desirable
characteristics include low The highest yielder in the Corn Derby, NK8840, which yielded 12,823 kg per hectare.
placement of the ears—making
it easy to harvest—and its high
shelling recovery of 78 to 80
percent.

Two other Syngenta varieties planting or DAP), 100 kilos of organic fertilizer and 37.5 kilos of complete fertilizer were
bested the 12 other varieties applied separately on a 2,500 square meter (sq. m.) plot. That’s the basal application. The
entered by other seed companies first side dressing was done 15 DAP, consisting of a mixture of 37.5 kilos of 14-14-14 and 25
that included Monsanto, Bioseed, kilos urea per 2,500 sq. m. plot. The second side dressing was done at 25 DAP consisting of a
Pioneer, Cornworld, Evogene, mixture of 25 kilos 14-14-14, 12.5 kilos urea, and 12.5 kilos 0-0-60 per 2,500 sq. m.
and Asian Hybrid. Syngenta’s
NK6414 yielded 12,655.58 For weed control, the plots were sprayed with Atrazine and Herbadox on the day of planting.
kilos per hectare (kg/ha) while Alika, an insecticide, was sprayed on the plants 25 DAP. The second Alika application was
NK6410 yielded 12,580.23 kg/ha. done at 45 DAP. Armure, a fungicide, was applied 55 DAP.

In achieving Syngenta’s high The three Syngenta entries were planted on June 8, 2017 and harvested on September 26,
yields, the production team 2017 (110 days DAP).
followed the following nutrient
management schedule. Just before The second placer, NK6414, has its own strengths and weaknesses. Its strengths: Suitable for
planting the seeds (0 days after high density planting; responds to high inputs; easy to harvest because the ears are low; good

04IVVOLUME XXI DECEMBER 2017 AGRICULTURE MONTHLY


AGRICULTURE MONTHLY VOLUME XXI DECEMBER 2017 05
Clockwise (from left) Proud and happy Syngenta
sales people at the grand festival. The second
placer, NK6414, is highly suitable for high density
planting. NK8840 has big cobs and big kernels.
Placement of ears in Syngenta varieties is low,
hence harvesting is easy. The third placer,
NK6410, is a consistent high yielder in both wet
and dry seasons.

for both wet and dry season.

On the other hand, the third placer, NK410,


shows consistent high yields in both wet and
dry seasons. It has good standability and
semi-drought tolerance, suitable for normal to
medium population density.

Here’s a complete list of the varieties in


addition to Syngenta’s that were entered in the

06 VOLUME XXI DECEMBER 2017 AGRICULTURE MONTHLY


Clockwise (from top left) The DA Region 2 director, second
from left, at the Syngenta booth. First side dressing with a
mixture of complete and urea fertilizers. Hilling up at 25 days
after planting. Scene at the Syngenta booth during the grand
festival. Harvest time was a most festive event.

competition, and their performance (in terms of


kilograms harvested per hectare):

Seed company Variety Performance


(kg/ha)

Monsanto DK6999s 12,093


Bioseed B9545G 10,788
B541G 10,481
Pioneer P4097 YHR 10,248
P3774 YHR 8,977.9
Evogene Evo 964 10,221
Cornworld RH8 9,344.3
Asian Hybrid J505 8,636.0
Bioseed B9698 8,323.1
Asian Hybrid Supreme 5150 7,902.3
Asian Hybrid Max 828 6,700.9

AGRICULTURE MONTHLY VOLUME XXI DECEMBER 2017 07


ASHA & NAMNAMA

BY NOEL T. PROVIDO

But years passed

NUTS OF HOPE and hope faltered


as the promises
remained unfulfilled
for these farmers,
who are mostly
EARNING WHILE PROTECTING from an indigenous
tribe. Their morale

DAVAO CITY’S WATERSHED plummeted and


they “…lost their
interest to engage in
livelihood projects,”
said Suawan
TAPPED AS GUARDIANS of the local watershed, agricultural technician Selene Sargado.
the Aguila Farmers Association (AFA) in Sitio
Aguila, Suawan, Marilog District in Davao City were As their technician, Sargado had been looking for ways to
promised assistance from various environment-based restore their hopes of better incomes, and sought assistance
organizations. from the Department of Agriculture (DA) in the region. One
viable option offered to them was peanut production, which
the DA High Value Crops Development Program (HVCDP) is
promoting to generate income over a short period of time.

Demand for peanut is increasing as it is a nutritious snack and


an ingredient for various Filipino dishes and confectioneries.
Peanut oil is also extracted for food and industrial uses.
“There is a shortage in peanut production and our country is
greatly dependent on importation to meet the increasing local
demand. We are encouraging local production as part of DA’s
import substitution,” said HVCDP regional coordinator Melani
Provido.

She said peanut production is apt for farmers in Suawan as


it has been identified as a “convergence area” for sustainable
farming. “Planting cash [crops], particularly peanut, can
provide them [with an] immediate income [source] while
[they] continuously [protect] the watershed areas. Like any
other [legume], peanut helps improve soil fertility owing to
its nitrogen-fixing ability and increased organic matter that
improves its porosity.”

In April 2016, the AFA ventured into peanut production after


receiving eight bags of peanut seeds (containing 55 kilos
each) from the DA-HVCDP. The peanut seeds were of the
two newest confectionery varieties: Asha and Namnama.
Coincidentally, “Asha” is a Hindi word while “Namnama” is
an Ilocano word—and in both languages, they have the same
meaning—hope—reflecting what the crop has helped restore to
Aguila Farmers Association chairman Janil Amaya (left) and vice- AFA members.
chairman Albert Impas took the lead and encouraged their group to
venture into peanut production. AFA chairperson Janil Amaya said their association has become

08 VOLUME XXI DECEMBER 2017 AGRICULTURE MONTHLY


Samples of Namnama Red shelled nuts. Peanut production provides an immediate source of income to Aguila farmers.

optimistic again, especially since their 10- and vegetable production.


hectare peanut production showed promising
results. “Growing peanut does not require [a] Under the HVCDP spring development program, the AFA was also the recipient
vast area [devoted to production] and we could of a multi-purpose water system which now serves both as their source of
have two [croppings] in one year. In fact, most irrigation and a potable water supply. “The water system enabled us to continue
of us [have] intercropped peanut with corn and our peanut and vegetable production even during the dry spell,” Amaya said.
vegetables so we maximize our land area.”
He added that the DA’s assistance did not only improve their farm production but
Amaya observed that peanut production turned also built up their confidence in implementing government projects. “We [were]
out to be more profitable compared to corn part of the Cacao Double-Up Program, National Convergence Initiative, and
production, whose yields are usually priced recently, the PRDP [Philippine Rural Development Program] which will further
at only R12 per kilo. “We sell our wet peanut develop our area.”
pods at R45 per kilo and dried peanut pods at
R55 per kilo. Shelled peanuts are sold [for] at The AFA has proven that managing a watershed is not only limited to growing
least R90 per kilo,” he said. trees. “Growing cash [crops] such as peanut can provide a source of income while
conserving our forest trees,” Amaya said. O
Since peanut production yielded a better
income to AFA members, the association
has paid back the 8 bags of peanut seed they
availed themselves of from the DA-HVCDP.
Amaya said, “[Our word] of honor is important
to us. We paid back the peanut seeds we
received for other farmers to benefit.”

As it has a good track record for project


implementation, the DA-HVCDP has poured
in more assistance to the association. These
include the provision of a farm tractor, which
has enabled them to efficiently plow and till
their fields to expand their peanut production
area. “Since we lack [a] farm-to-market road,
the farm tractor is very useful in hauling our
inputs and farm produce along narrow and
muddy pathways,” said Amaya.

Moreover, the AFA also received power and


knapsack sprayers, drums, and plastic crates Agriculture Secretary Manny Piñol awards the certificate of turnover to AFA president
from the DA-HVCDP, which expanded not Janil Amaya during a simple ceremony held in Davao City. Also in photo are DA officials
only their peanut but also their cacao, rubber, and AFA officers.

AGRICULTURE MONTHLY VOLUME XXI DECEMBER 2017 09


BIG BOOST

BY P.J. RESTITUTO

LARGEST FERTILIZER COMPANY


TO INVEST R1 B IN CEBU FACILITY
CEBU CITY – CONFIDENT that the R30 billion industry will continue to expand, the country’s largest fertilizer
company, the Atlas Fertilizer Corporation (AFC) is investing R1 billion over three years on its 17-hectare
fertilizer plant in Toledo City.

AFC, which began operations in 1957, is company have been getting better,” Sumi
the country’s oldest fertilizer manufacturer. says. “It’s been stable for us, [operations-
Now a Japanese company, AFC marked wise], and we’re riding on the good
its 60th anniversary this year and has a economy.”
new admin building for 300 employees.
“Agriculture is not growing as fast as He says AFC needs to increase its capacity,
the gross domestic product (GDP); the so “…we need to rehabilitate the 60-year
country’s farmland area is decreasing; and old Toledo plant.” The company’s move
we need to increase yields by using hybrid to expand and rehabilitate its plant is
seeds and fertilizer,” says Takashi Sumi, welcome as domestic production, which
AFC president and chief executive officer. used to account for over 70 percent of net
supply, is now down. Imports are mostly
If the forecast growth of the industry sourced from Southeast Asian countries
continues over the next 10 years, “…we and other free trade partners such as China,
[will] have to cope with market needs,” he Japan, South Korea, and Australia, for
says, pointing out the country’s fertilizer which the import duty is zero, according
industry is growing at 1-1.5 percent each to the Philippine Institute for Development
year. AFC is so upbeat that it is expanding Studies (PIDS). AFC, which imports urea,
operations in its 60-year-old plant in gets 90 percent of its raw material from
Toledo, about three hours’ drive south of abroad.
Cebu City. Sumi expects the expanded
facility will increase production output AFC president and CEO Takashi Sumi For local distributors, China is the largest
by at least 25 percent, up to a high of 40 source of imported fertilizer. Free trade
percent. partners account for 89 percent of fertilizer
imports by value, according to the PIDS.
The production target this year is 300,000 metric tons, Sumi Together with the tariff exemption of agricultural enterprises,
says, adding that AFC accounts for nearly half or 43 percent imports of fertilizers into the Philippines are effectively duty-
of the local nitrogen (N), phosphorus (P), and potassium (K) free. About 60 percent of local fertilizer consumption goes to
or NPK fertilizer market. About a fourth or 23.7 percent of food crops, mainly rice and corn. According to the PIDS, rice
the country’s total fertilizer business is commanded by AFC. accounts for nearly 40 percent of fertilizer use, followed by
He estimates that volume-wise, the country’s fertilizer market corn, fruits and vegetables, then sugar.
is about 1.9 million metric tons annually, with about 650,000
metric tons of that NPK fertilizer. The PIDS, citing a 2009 study, says that farmers apply sub-
optimal amounts of fertilizer, whether for the main nutrients
“For the past five years, the industry, the economy, and the (nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium) or for micronutrients. O

10 VOLUME XXI DECEMBER 2017 AGRICULTURE MONTHLY


AGRICULTURE MONTHLY VOLUME XXI DECEMBER 2017 11
NO SUBSIDIES

LOW YIELDS DUE TO HALF


OF FARMS NOT USING
ENOUGH FERTILIZERS
CEBU CITY—Less than half of Filipino farmers use
the right amount of fertilizers. And because many
Philippine crops are under-fertilized, this affects
crop yields.

The rice yield, for example, is very small—smaller than that of


other countries in Southeast Asia like Vietnam, which produces
double, said Takashi Sumi, president and chief executive officer
of Atlas Fertilizer Corporation (AFC). Next to China and India,
the largest rice producers in Asia are Indonesia, Bangladesh,
Vietnam, Myanmar, and Thailand, according to the International
Rice Research Institute. These countries account for more than 80
percent of the world’s production.
promotes and is aimed at providing the best yields, Ganga said.
Sumi noted that Filipino farmers are perhaps the only ones in
Asia who do not get fertilizer subsidies from the government, Often, farmers do not use the right amount of fertilizer at the
unlike Vietnamese, Indonesian, Thai, and Indian farmers. The right time and location, and won’t get the optimum yield, he said,
good news, he said, is that the government has decided to provide adding that it’s just like with livestock: feeds must be given at the
free irrigation. It might be an indication of subsidized fertilizer right time and in the right amount. “What you put in is what you
eventually, and he pointed out that the government, which wants get. We need to provide the right kind of fertilizer, [in amounts
the country to achieve 100 percent rice self-sufficiency, realizes and with timing] leading to improved yields and profitability for
that farmers need fertilizer, hybrid seeds, and even crop insurance. farmers.”
Using hybrid seeds, for example, requires fertilizers to optimize
yields, he said in a press briefing. It could be a mix of organic and chemical fertilizers, Ganga said.
“The Department of Agriculture recommends 10 to 20 bags of
Less than 50 percent of Philippine croplands are fertilized, said organic fertilizer per hectare. Vegetable farmers in Benguet [use]
Ernest B. Ganga, AFC assistant vice president, national sales, about 100 bags of organic fertilizer per hectare. Corn farmers
marketing group. While there are many reasons for this, one is that don’t use that much.”
farmers don’t get fertilizer subsidies from the government.
The right amount is crucial. For example, Sumi pointed out that
Agriculture depends on several factors, like the weather, which “too much fertilization is not good for the environment. We are
cannot be controlled, Ganga added. What is controllable are seeds, teaching Filipino farmers to [use] less [inputs] but [to] get bigger
water, and fertilizer inputs. [yields]. This helps farmers. This is our business philosophy.”

Because of overuse in many locations, soils have been depleted of “We owe it to our farmers as agriculture is the backbone of this
proper nutrients. “One [of the] objectives of Atlas…is to replenish nation,” Ganga added. “AFC is just not selling fertilizers, it is
these nutrients for our crops to survive,” he said. selling efficient technology, teaching farmers how to use fertilizers
judiciously. This advocacy is aligned with global trends. One
Location-based crop management; the administration of the of our obligations is how to educate farmers to maximize yields
right amount of fertilizer at the right time; the proper amount of through the proper use of fertilizers. We don’t just produce and
irrigation; the best management of weeds, pests, and diseases—all distribute fertilizers, we also concentrate on disseminating farming
these are a part of Integrated Nutrient Management, which AFC technology.” – BY P.J. RESTITUTO

12 VOLUME XXI DECEMBER 2017 AGRICULTURE MONTHLY


AGRICULTURE MONTHLY VOLUME XXI DECEMBER 2017 13
BANA GRASS

ENERGY COMPANY INTENSIFIES


GREEN CHARCOAL PRODUCTION
AN ENERGY COMPANY based in
Pampanga is intensifying its green
charcoal production, using Bana
grass as its feedstock and technology
from the Forest Products Research
Development Institute (FPRDI) based
in Los Baños, Laguna.

This is the Mackay Green Energy Inc., which


recently bought 30 briquettors, 30 drum kilns, six
binder-mixers, and six charcoal crushers from the
FPRDI, an agency of the Department of Science and
Technology.

The green charcoal is in the form of a briquette, a


compacted mass of fuel material made from a mix
of charcoal fines and a binder, and molded under
pressure. It is less messy than ordinary charcoal and
easier to handle because it is compact and uniform in
size. Also, it easily ignites, burns more slowly, gives
more intense heat per unit volume, and is almost Pieces of dried Bana grass stalks ready for making briquettes.
smokeless when burning, according to FPRDI.

According to Mackay Green Energy, which imported


its Bana grass, the grass is a hybrid of Pennisetum
purpureum and Penissetum americanum. It is a fast-
growing variety that is highly tolerant to drought and
typhoons, pest-resistant, and non-allergenic.

Engineer Belen Besana of FPRDI commented


that the Bana Grass briquette is a most welcome
development as the use of eco-friendly charcoal can
help relieve pressure on the country’s mangroves.
“During the past decade, the heavy dependence on
wood charcoal by lechon businesses all over the
country has been blamed for the depletion of our
mangrove forests.”

During the DOST-FPRDI’s recent techno-demo at


Mackay, officers from Mang Inasal Philippines were
on hand to observe how the Bana grass briquettes
were made. According to Mackay’s Joseph Issifu,
aside from Mang Inasal, they have ongoing talks
with two other top roasting companies who are
interested in their product. O The drum kiln developed by FPRDI. The manual briquettor from FPRDI.

14 VOLUME XXI DECEMBER 2017 AGRICULTURE MONTHLY


AGRICULTURE MONTHLY VOLUME XXI DECEMBER 2017 15
STRONG AND RIGID

LOOK MA! BIG BUILDING,


First, it can
be used as a
warehouse for
storing various

NO POSTS! agricultural
products like rice,
corn, and many
other kinds of
farm produce. The
building can also
be used as a barn
for livestock like
cattle, goats, and
sheep.

The Steel Arch


Building, which is
manufactured by
TECO of Turkey,
can also be used
as an evacuation
center during
typhoons and
other emergency
situations. The
building is so
sturdy, it can
withstand the fury
of super typhoons.
It can resist wind speeds of 250 kilometers per hour and more, according to the
HERE IS A CONCEPT for a big building manufacturer. The building structures are light but they are extremely strong and
without posts which has multiple uses rigid.
for agriculture and other purposes.
This is the Steel Arch Building, Units of the building are expected to arrive in the Philippines in the very near
manufactured by a Turkish company future. An agricultural service company is very interested to acquire at least
and which will soon be available in the one for its big rice production project in Mindoro. The Turkish company is
Philippines. represented in the Philippines and Southeast Asia by Agricomp, which is a
distributor of tractors and other equipment for agriculture based in Isabela. O

The Steel Arch Building, which has no posts, can resist strong winds (top photo). It can be used as a barn for cattle and goats, and can also be a
garage for farm equipment.

16 VOLUME XXI DECEMBER 2017 AGRICULTURE MONTHLY


AGRICULTURE MONTHLY VOLUME XXI DECEMBER 2017 17
FOR KIDS AND ADULTS

THE GIFT OF
GROWING
IF IDEAS FOR CHRISTMAS GIFTS have you
stumped, why not give the gift of gardening? It’s
literally the gift that keeps giving—to you and your
recipient. There’s something special about growing
your own vegetables at home. From planting the
seeds and seeing the sprouts appear, there’s nothing
more satisfying than watching your plants grow
then harvesting and eating the fruits and vegetables
of your labor.

Ramgo International Corporation has designed a fun


way to get everyone, regardless of age or skill level, into
gardening. The Ramgo GrowKit is aimed at giving users
a fulfilling experience in planting their own seeds. Every
Growkit includes Ramgo Vegetable Seeds, Nutricote
Controlled Release Fertilizer, a plastic pot and saucer, and

Seed Raising Mix to ensure the plant’s growth, development, and eventual
harvest.

Ramon Joseph Arcenas, a garden lover from Las Piñas City, finds the
Ramgo GrowKit a unique Christmas gift for family and friends. He has tried
the Pechay, Arugula, and Mongo GrowKits. He shared that the attractive
packaging makes it more appealing, and the kit complements his hobby,
which is gardening.

His first purchase of a GrowKit came about as he passed by the Ramgo Seeds
shelf, something he did every time he was at the supermarket. He says the
GrowKit has been an amazing father and son bonding experience for him and
his 3-year old son. Arcenas was also impressed by the germination rate of the
seeds and the helpful planting guide that comes with the kit.

The Ramgo Growkit comes in Basil, Chives, Parsley Italian, Pechay, Rocket
Arugula, Stevia, and Mongo variants and is available at almost 900 outlets in
the most popular local department stores, hardware stores, and supermarkets
RJ Arcenas holding a Ramgo Growkit Mongo. nationwide. (BY ARIELINA P. AREVALO)

18 VOLUME XXI DECEMBER 2017 AGRICULTURE MONTHLY


AGRICULTURE MONTHLY VOLUME XXI DECEMBER 2017 19
HIGH-VALUE FRUIT

BY MA. CECILIA S. ALABAN & JULIO P. YAP, JR.

Visayas: “Tropical tree fruit research

JACKFRUIT R&D and development in the Philippines


and northern Australia to increase
productivity, resilience and profitability.”

GAINS SHOWCASED The project is being implemented by


the Australian Centre for International
Agricultural Research (ACIAR) and
PCAARRD.

During a recent two-day event at the


FIESTA or Farm-Industry Encounters Through the Science and Visayas State University (VSU) in
Technology Agenda, as conceptualized by the Philippine Council for Baybay, Leyte, the Visayas Consortium
Agriculture, Aquatic and Natural Resources Research (PCAARRD) of for Agriculture, Aquatic and Resources
the Department of Science and Technology (DOST), aims to show the Program (ViCAARP) showcased the
complete sphere of research and development as it treats with equal research and development gains made
in jackfruit as a primary commodity,
importance the whole agricultural value chain from production to together with those of three other
processing to technology mainstreaming. products: coconut, pineapple, and
shellfish. “Jackfruit at Iba Pa (Jackfruit
and Others)” was one of the activities
As a technology transfer and held in connection with the VSU’s 93rd
commercialization platform, anniversary celebrations.
FIESTA gathers the various players
of agricultural R&D, primarily the The event aimed to showcase and
technology generators, farmers, promote technologies of Eastern Visayas
and micro, small, and medium with emphasis on jackfruit by providing
enterprises (MSMEs) to showcase a venue for active interactions among
regional agricultural, aquatic farmers, industry players, and the
and natural resources (AANR) research and development stakeholders.
technologies, innovations, products, Farmers, officials, and faculty members
and services; assist in the diffusion of the VSU, ViCAARP, and other
of technologies for better farming concerned agencies joined the event.
opportunities; and provide a true
encounter of various research The PCAARRD recognizes the combined
and development beneficiaries to effort of the member agencies of the
maximize the benefits of particular ViCAARP on research and development,
products and commodities. which enabled the consortium to respond
to the challenge posed by the Philippine
A TECH PLATFORM FOR AN Development Plan in bringing the
IMPORTANT FRUIT fruits of science and technology to all,
The jackfruit is considered one of especially the marginalized farmers and
the most widely cultivated fruits in fisherfolk in the countryside.
the country. It adapts well to a wide
range of growing conditions and DISEASE MANAGEMENT
has many uses, both commercial The project aims to develop and
and non-commercial. implement integrated disease
management solutions to diseases caused
Jackfruit is considered one of the most widely Given its importance, jackfruit by Phytophthora palmivora. The disease
cultivated fruits in the country due to its excellent was chosen as a priority crop in a causes a decline in fruit production and
adaptation to a wide range of growing conditions project being conducted in Eastern seedling dieback, and other conditions
and many uses. which result in significant yield loss in

20 VOLUME XXI DECEMBER 2017 AGRICULTURE MONTHLY


AGRICULTURE MONTHLY VOLUME XXI DECEMBER 2017 21
The Regional Integrated Agricultural Research Center in Abuyog, Leyte, The effects of different potting media, sanitation, inoculation, and
is conducting trials on disease and nutrient management, fruit load phosponate application on the health of jackfruit seedlings are being re-
regulation, and flower induction of jackfruit. evaluated under the project.

jackfruit. The effects of different potting media, sanitation, inoculation,


and phosphonate application on the health of jackfruit
The project also works to develop and implement crop seedlings are being re-evaluated under the project, among
management options to improve productivity and fruit quality, other activities.
and realize improved processing options for jackfruit.
Research results show that the combination of soil
Various research activities in the project sites are spearheaded sterilization and phosphonate application reduced the
by implementing agencies: the VSU and Department severity of Phytophthora disease in seedlings. A similar
of Agriculture-Regional Field Office 8. VSU handles result was obtained with a highly porous potting medium.
experiments in disease management and studies in food Nursery sanitation was also found to be crucial for disease
processing. On the other hand, the Regional Integrated management.
Agricultural Research Center (RIARC) in Abuyog, Leyte,
and the Eastern Visayas Integrated Agricultural Research Inoculation trials using different Artocarpus species also
Center (EVIARC) in Babatngon, both of the Department of showed that marang (Artocarpus odoratissimus) and camansi
Agriculture, are conducting trials on disease and nutrient (Artocarpus camansi) are more resistant to Phytophthora
management, fruit load regulation, and flower induction. palmivora compared to EVIARC Sweet, a well-known

PCAARRD ACD director Marita A. Carlos (left) and PCAARRD deputy executive director
for R&D Dr. Edwin C. Villar (right), together with VICAARP director Othello B. Capuno, VSU DA RFO-8 Field Operations Division officer-in-charge
president Edgardo E. Tulin, DOST Region-8 director John Glen Ocaña, and other officials Francisco T. Dayap presents the situation report on
during the opening rites of the FIESTA program on ‘Jackfruit at Iba Pa’ at the VSU Campus the Eastern Visayas Jackfruit Industry and Support
in Baybay, Leyte. Programs during the event.

22 VOLUME XXI DECEMBER 2017 AGRICULTURE MONTHLY


The ‘FIESTA on Jackfruit at Iba Pa’ helped in identifying the various Showcased during the FIESTA exhibit were the different production
jackfruit recipes which can be developed with jackfruit as the main and post-production technologies used for jackfruit as well as products
ingredient. processed from the fruit.

jackfruit variety. On the other hand, chempedak (Artocarpus generation, and development of crop load and nutrient
lacootcha) is more susceptible to the disease than EVIARC management techniques.
Sweet.
An improved canopy of trees was observed after the
A trial on scion-rootstock combinations is also being done for application of phosphonate and recommended fertilizer,
disease resistance. The highest rate of survival among grafts which are complete (14-14-14), muriate of potash (0-0-60),
was observed in the chempedak-jackfruit combination. and organic. It also enhanced flower emergence and produced
heavier fruits.
Other ongoing experiments include evaluation of the effect
of scion-rootstock combinations on canopy growth and FOOD PROCESSING
productivity, development of tools to manipulate flowering The “FIESTA on Jackfruit at Iba Pa” also helped in
patterns in jackfruit to spread crop production and income identifying the various jackfruit
recipes which can be developed with
jackfruit as the main ingredient.

In food processing, the project aims


to refine the current vacuum-fried
jackfruit and alternative products
produced in the country and to study
“fresh cut” processing options for
the fruit. For instance, the VSU’s
Department of Food Science and
Technology is testing the process
and product optimization of cocosap
sweetened dehydrated jackfruit.

Also showcased during the


FIESTA exhibit and forum were
the different production and post-
production technologies as well
as jackfruit processed products.
(Parts of this article were published
as http://www.pcaarrd.dost.
gov.ph/home/portal/index.php/
quick-information-dispatch/2820-
The event showcased and promoted the technologies of Eastern Visayas with emphasis on jackfruit aciar-pcaarrd-project-targets-
by providing a venue for active interactions among farmers, industry players, and the research and increased-productivity-resilience-
development stakeholders. and-profitability-of-jackfruit)

AGRICULTURE MONTHLY VOLUME XXI DECEMBER 2017 23


LACK OF DRYERS,
WAREHOUSES

BY ZAC B. SARIAN

practice in many places.

MECHANIZATION HAS Aside from the lack of


mechanical dryers to take care

ITS OWN DOWNSIDE of the huge palay harvest, there


is the lack of warehousing. The
result is that traders stop buying

WHICH THE D.A. because they don’t have enough


storage space. And so the palay
price nosedives; instead of the
usual R19 to R21 per kilo, the
SHOULD ADDRESS price goes down to R14 or even
lower per kilo, according to
Dennis Miguel of Santiago City.
And in Tarlac, as of November
3, 2017, Dr. Rene Sumaoang
MECHANIZING THE FARMS is great. Land preparation, planting, and harvesting reported that buyers were paying
are faster and more economical. But mechanization has its downside, too. only R8 per kilo of palay. The
rice farmers are agonizing, he
said.

Like what is happening in Region 2, which boasts of having the most number of rice harvesters The same problem is happening
in the country. The region—which consists of Isabela, Cagayan, Nueva Vizcaya, and Quirino— with the corn harvest. There
has no less than 584,119 hectares planted to rice and 425,965 hectares to corn. aren’t enough mechanical dryers
and warehousing available to the
Today, according to Eugene Gabriel of Agri Component Manufacturing Corp., the whole rice small farmers.
crop in the region can be harvested in a matter of 30 days, thanks to mechanical harvesters.
Previously, before the advent of the mechanical harvesters, harvesting of the rice crop took 40 What the government should
to 45 days. do is to help make the dryers
available to rice and corn
These days, rice farmers have to harvest their crops at the same time so as not to be overtaken farmers. After all, the DA has
by rainy weather and typhoons. The result is that there are not enough mechanical dryers a lot of funds for subsidizing
available to take care of the big volume of mechanically harvested rice. The trouble is that the the farmers. There are locally
palay, which is threshed right at harvest time, contains a lot of moisture and has to be dried manufactured mobile and
within two days; otherwise, it will get spoiled. And if the days are rainy, the poor farmers will recirculating dryers by Agricomp
not know what to do with their harvest. They cannot dry their palay on the road as is the usual using the LSU (Louisiana State

The combine harvester harvests palay fast. The recirculating mobile dryer can dry palay faster than the flatbed type.

24 VOLUME XXI DECEMBER 2017 AGRICULTURE MONTHLY


The typical flatbed dryer can only dry the harvest from one hectare in one day.

The LeeWha, a compact rice mill, can be an important


facility in the rice-producing areas.

For lack of access to mechanical dryers, farmers make do by drying their palay on the
road.

Eugene Gabriel of Agri Component Manufacturing


For lack of warehousing, sacks of palay are stacked in the open. Corp.

University) model, according to Gabriel. The locally manufactured dryers can The LeeWha compact rice mill from Korea,
dry, within a few hours, batches of four, six, and 20 tons. These are much more for instance, can do sophisticated milling that
economical than the imported ones from China, the United States, and Europe, the so-called rice processing complex (RPC)
he adds. can achieve. It has a high recovery rate and is
affordable at a little over R230,000 per unit.
Another way the Department of Agriculture can help rice farmers is to make
available the compact rice mill that has been proven to be an important factor It occupies just a small space and can run on
in giving access to efficient rice milling in different communities. electricity or be attached to a tractor. O

AGRICULTURE MONTHLY VOLUME XXI DECEMBER 2017 25


SETUP BENEFICIARY

ISABELA FARM MACHINERY


MANUFACTURER RECEIVES R2.9M
DOST INTEREST-FREE LOAN
A FARM MACHINERY MANUFACTURER based in Isabela is the latest beneficiary of financial assistance from the
Department of Science and Technology (DOST) under its Small Enterprises Technology Upgrading Program
(SETUP).

Turnover of DOST check to CIAMC; from left are DOST Asst. Regional Director Mary
Ann Maglasin, Asst. Regional Director Virginia Bilgera, CIAMC’s Oscar Maninantan,
Robert Tomas, and Eugene Gabriel, DOST Regional Director, Sancho Mabborang,
and DOST Provincial Director Engr. Marcelo G. Miguel. Signing of documents by DOST and CIAMC officials.

This is the Central Isabela Agri Manufacturing Corporation (CIAMC),


headed by Eugene Gabriel, president and CEO. In November 2017,
the company received a check for a R2.9 million interest-free loan that
is payable in three years. The amount will be used by the company
to purchase equipment that will increase production and improve the
quality of its products.

Among the equipment that will be acquired are a plasma cutter that is
used for precise and quality cutting of metals; a hydraulic bender for
multiple bending of metals; a Mig welding machine for quality welding;
a lathe machine; and other tools and equipment.

CIAMC is currently producing various machines and equipment to Fabrication of the cassava uprooter will be intensified with the
DOST loan assistance.

26 VOLUME XXI DECEMBER 2017 AGRICULTURE MONTHLY


With the DOST loan, CIAMC will be able to fabricate
disk plows and harrows; this equipment is shown in the CIAMC is now fabricating various farm equipment attached to tractors for land
photo, with Robert Tomas standing by it. preparation.

mechanize farming operations; this mechanization will result included Gabriel, VP for finance Oscar Maninantan, and board
in higher productivity, enhanced competitiveness in the market, member Robert Tomas.
and increased profits for farmers. The company will intensify
its production of mounted harrow, disc plow, and cage roller for CIAMC was formed through the initiative of Agri Components
leveling rice fields at planting time; seed cleaners for those in Corporation (Agricomp), a major distributor of imported
seed production; cassava uprooter, chipper and tiller; corn direct tractors, postharvest equipment, and various farm implements.
seeder; boom sprayer; and more. The idea, according to Gabriel, is to produce as many farm
implements that are appropriate for use by local farmers. He
The financial assistance was released through the Region 2 office pointed out that the Philippines cannot yet manufacture its own
of the DOST in Tuguegarao City headed by Regional Director brand of tractor but at least the implements that are attached to
Sancho Mabborang. CIAMC officials who received the check the imported tractors could be fabricated locally.–ZBS

AGRICULTURE MONTHLY VOLUME XXI DECEMBER 2017 27


PH IS BIGGEST IMPORTER

BY ROLANDO T. DY

TRACKING GLOBAL FOOD


SECURITY IN 2017:
WHERE IS THE PHILIPPINES?
HOW DOES THE PHILIPPINES COMPARE WITH ITS ASEAN
THE GLOBAL FOOD SECURITY INDEX (GFSI), NEIGHBORS?
developed by The Economist [Magazine’s]
Overall. Singapore is the runaway winner (Global Rank: 15),
Intelligence Unit with sponsorship from followed by Malaysia (43). Rice exporters are at lower tiers:
DuPont, is a universal benchmarking tool for Thailand (53), Vietnam (64), Cambodia (84), and Myanmar (80).
food security. Rice importers’ ranks, excluding Singapore and Malaysia, are:
Indonesia (73) and the Philippines (79). ASEAN countries with high
GFSI are ahead in affordability, availability, and quality and safety.
It examines the core issues of food affordability, availability,
quality, and safety, as well as natural resources and resilience Affordability. Singapore posted the highest per capita income at
in 113 countries. It is based on 26 unique indicators US$ 73,168, distantly followed by Malaysia with US$ 9,503 in
that measure these drivers of food security across both 2016. Indonesia has US$ 3,570; the Philippines, US$ 2,951; and
developing and developed countries. Vietnam, US$ 2,186. The two leaders had little (if no) poverty.
Malaysia’s poverty incidence was only 1.6 percent in 2014 versus
“This index is the first to examine food security 21.6 percent for the Philippines in 2015.
comprehensively across the three internationally established
dimensions. Moreover, the study looks beyond hunger to the Availability. Rice importers Singapore and Malaysia beat rice
underlying factors affecting food insecurity. This year the exporters Vietnam and Thailand by a mile. The index has several
GFSI includes an adjustment factor on natural resources and factors of which supply sufficiency is only one of six. The
resilience. This new category assesses a country’s exposure Philippines is even ahead of Cambodia, a rice exporter.
to the impacts of a changing climate; its susceptibility to
natural resource risks; and how the country is adapting to Quality and safety. The level of development of a country affects
these risks,” says foodsecurityindex.eiu.com, where the the quality and safety criteria. Singapore and Malaysia are far ahead.
Global Food Security Index is available at no charge. Thailand, Vietnam, and the Philippines are in the middle cluster.

GFSI: Comparators and components

Affordability Availability Quality and Safety Natural Resources and Resilience

- Food consumption as share - Sufficiency of supply - Diet diversification - Exposure


of household expenditure - Public expenditure on - Nutritional standards - Water
- Proportion of population under agricultural R&D - Micronutrient - Land
global poverty line - Agricultural infrastructure availability - Oceans
- Gross domestic product - Volatility of agricultural - Protein quality - Sensitivity
per capita production - Food safety - Adaptive capacity
- Agricultural import tariffs - Political stability risk - Demographic stresses
- Presence of food safety net - Corruption
programs - Urban absorption capacity
- Access to financing for farmers - Food loss

Source: Economist Intelligence Unit/DuPont

28 VOLUME XXI DECEMBER 2017 AGRICULTURE MONTHLY


GFSI, Global Ranks 2017 The worse off
countries in terms
Total Affordability Availability Quality Natural resources GFSI excl of natural resources
GFSI and Safety and resiliency (NRR) NRR and resilience are:
Indonesia, Singapore,
Brunei - - - - - the Philippines,
Cambodia 84 76 90 99 49 83 Malaysia, and
Indonesia 73 68 64 86 109 69 Vietnam. In better
Laos 98 97 97 105 32 102 positions are
Malaysia 43 41 43 37 100 41 Myanmar, Laos,
Thailand, and
Myanmar 80 84 72 71 27 80
Cambodia.
Philippines 79 77 80 69 101 79
Singapore 19 2 16 24 106 4 Overall, how did
Thai 53 46 65 59 45 55 the Philippines
Vietnam 64 60 67 66 75 64 fare? It ranked sixth
Memo among the nine rated
China 45 47 48 38 66 45 ASEAN countries.
Japan 17 20 17 18 24 18 By criteria, it was
South Korea 29 35 22 17 92 24 below median at
seventh among
Source: Economist Intelligence Unit/DuPont nine countries in
affordability and
availability as well as
Natural Resources and Resilience. The 2017 GFSI includes natural resources and resilience, and fifth in quality and safety.
“…a new environmental criteria that recognizes the growing
emphasis on resource conservation, climate change adaption, Where will the Philippines go from here? Under the Philippine
and sustainable agriculture practices. With factors, such Development Plan, 2017-2022, several factors need watching: (a)
as temperature change, land deforestation, and depletion growth in gross domestic product; (b) reduction of national poverty to
of water resources, the Natural Resources and Resilience 14 percent in 2022 from 21.6 percent in 2015; (c) reduction of rural
category measures future impacts on the countries in the poverty to 20 percent in 2022 from 30 percent in 2015; (d) growth of
GFSI.” (http://foodsecurity.dupont.com/2017/09/26/2017- agriculture of 2.5 to 3 percent a year; and (e) climate change adaptation
updated-global-food-security-index-released/, retrieved programs. (Originally published as http://bworldonline.com/tracking-
October 2, 2017.) global-food-security-2017-philippines/)

AGRICULTURE MONTHLY VOLUME XXI DECEMBER 2017 29


SOMETHING NEW

TWO GLUTINOUS
LITTLE PUMPKINS
AT THE RECENT Agrilink trade show, Renita U. Beronilla, who
breeds pumpkins at East-West Seed, gave us two little pumpkins
to try so we could give her feedback.

Close up of the small Waltham Butternut pumpkin that


weighs 300 to 400 grams.

The small Waltham pumpkin (left) and the still unnamed flat, almost black pumpkin. Sliced Wlatham Butternut showing a small cavity.

One is the Waltham butternut pumpkin which weighs only 300 to 400 grams class glutinous camote.
and has been released for planting by farmers. It is now being sold in some
supermarkets in Metro Manila, commanding a high price of as much as R216 Of course, Waltham can be used in vegetable
per kilo compared to the R50 per kilo of the ordinary varieties available in the dishes like bulanglang, dinengdeng, inabraw,
market. and other preparations that make use of squash.
The plant can be grown in the ground but it can
Although Waltham is very small, it is fleshy because it has a small cavity. What also be planted in containers that are provided
is most important is its superior eating quality. It is very glutinous and can be with a stake or trellis for the vines to climb on. It
prepared as a snack food. The fruit can be peeled and sliced into one’s desired is perfect for growing in home gardens in urban
sizes for steaming. The steamed slices are sweet with the consistency of a first areas.

30 VOLUME XXI DECEMBER 2017 AGRICULTURE MONTHLY


(From left) Renita U. Beronilla,
East-West Seed’s pumpkin breeder.
Waltham Butternut peeled and sliced
for steaming. The steamed Waltham
Butternut ready for eating as snack
food; no need for any dressing.

STILL UNNAMED - The


other little pumpkin is round
and flat, very dark green (almost
black), and weighs just about a
kilo. It is still unnamed because
it is under evaluation. It is
currently being tested in farmer-
cooperators’ fields before it
is released for commercial
planting.

We have tasted this little


pumpkin and our verdict is that
it is a super glutinous selection.
The fruit that Renita gave us
was not yet fully mature, so
when we gave it to our cook,
she said there was no need to
remove the skin. She just made
a very simple dish with coconut
milk. The pumpkin was sliced
into small cubes and cooked
with some freshly picked patola
from our garden. The only other
ingredients were a few slices of
half-fried pork and patis to taste.
It took only 10 to 15 minutes to
cook.

We hope the little pumpkin will


survive the rigorous tests that
it will still go through in the
field. The researchers don’t only
look for superior taste; they are
also interested in high yields,
pest and disease resistance,
adaptability to various growing
situations, and more.—ZAC B.
SARIAN

AGRICULTURE MONTHLY VOLUME XXI DECEMBER 2017 31


TILAPIA CONGRESS
2017 HELD
THE FIFTH Tilapia Congress was recently held in San Fernando City,
CURRENTS Pampanga with the theme: “Levelling Up the Philippine Tilapia Value Chain to
Global Competitiveness.”
>BY DR. RAFAEL D.
GUERRERO III

Organized by the Bureau of


Fisheries and Aquatic Resources
(BFAR) of the Department of
Agriculture, it aimed to “enhance
the production, post-harvest
and marketing of tilapia for a
sustainable, profitable and globally
competitive industry, and to update
the sector on current trends by
featuring technical reports on
recent aquafarming technologies
and best practices to improve and
prepare the tilapia value chain for
the world market.”

Featured in the Congress were


various tilapia product exhibits;
technical sessions on the
production, trade, marketing,
and intensive hatchery of tilapia; Congress participants.
and a “Talk Show on Inspiring
Stories of Philippine Tilapia
Industry Champions” to empower
aquafarmers, cooperatives, and
associations. The oath-taking of
the elected officers of the newly-
organized Philippine Tilapia
Stakeholders’ Association, Inc.
(PhilTilapia) was also held.

Three of the “Tilapia Champions”


cited in the Congress were the
Cagayan Valley Fishfarmers’
MultiPurpose Cooperative
(CAVAFIFMPC), the Taal Lake
Aquaculture Alliance, Inc.
(TLAAI), and the Samahan ng
Mga Mangigisda sa Buluan Lake
(SMBL).

The CAVAFIFMPC is a group of


39 tilapia hatchery and grow-out
operators with an aggregate area
of 21 hectares of hatchery ponds
for fingerling production and
31 hectares of ponds for grow-
out. Established in 2012, the Exhibits of the Central Luzon State University.

32 VOLUME XXI DECEMBER 2017 AGRICULTURE MONTHLY


The author (fourth from the left, standing) with members of the TLAAI.

cooperative is a major producer of fingerlings for cage and pond Pampanga contributes 36% of the total tilapia production
growers in Region 2 and the Cordillera Autonomous Region in the country and is considered the “Tilapia Capital of the
(CAR). Philippines.” In 2016, our country ranked sixth in the world in
farmed tilapia production with 259,000 metric tons having a
It has donated fingerlings for the dispersal programs of local value of R18.32 billion. O
government unit of San Mateo, Isabela for small pond growers
and stocking in communal water bodies, and provided free
advisory services on the design, layout and management of
pond, cage, and hatchery operations.

The TLAAI in Batangas is an association of fish cage operators


and other stakeholders in Taal Lake founded in 2009 “to act in
a unified action in protecting the ecological balance of the lake
and to represent the stakeholders who depend on the lake for
their livelihoods.” The association is a member of the Protected
Area Management Board (PAMB), which is mandated by law to
preserve and protect the Taal Volcano Protected Landscape.

With the occurrence of “fish kills” in Taal Lake due to the


proliferation of fish cages causing poor water quality, the number
of cages was reduced from 14,000 to 6,000 in 2012. Aside from
fully complying with the rules and regulations for sustainable
aquaculture, the association also has its own projects for
environmental protection and community development.

The SMBL was organized in 2014 by the fisherfolk of Barangay


Popol in the Municipality of Buluan in Maguindanao with
the assistance of the BFAR-ARMM (Autonomous Region in
Muslim Mindanao). Its initial 20 members operated 300 hectares
of tilapia fishpens in Buluan Lake, the third largest lake in
Mindanao with an area of 6,134 hectares.

Today, with its 42 members, the group is producing as much as


18 tons/day of Nile tilapia with 1-2 pieces per kilogram during
the peak period and 7 tons/day during the lean period, using
only the natural food in the lake and without artificial feeding.
The fish harvest is marketed in nearby municipalities and as
far as Cagayan de Oro City. Tilapia farming has significantly
contributed to the development of the municipality.

AGRICULTURE MONTHLY VOLUME XXI DECEMBER 2017 33


WEEKEND FARMER

BY ANGIE M. VENERACION

THE ENGINEER ANGELITO M. DE GUZMAN is a


civil engineer with a masters’

IS ALSO A FARMER degree in public administration.


He works full-time as an
engineer at the Valenzuela
City Engineering office on
weekdays; on weekends,
however, De Guzman
transforms into a farmer.

Born to farmer parents in Angat, Bulacan,


De Guzman never lost his love of farming.
He looks forward to being a full-time
farmer when he retires from government
service; he is currently preparing for that
day and takes every opportunity to attend
agriculture-related seminars and exhibits.
Whatever new technologies and farming
practices he learns are tested and applied in
his farm.

One project that is already being fully


implemented in his farm is oyster
mushroom production. He fabricated
his own fruiting bag filling machine and
The entrance to Angelito de Guzman’s AngelTolits Farm, home to his numerous projects. learned how to produce his own spawn.
AngelTolits Farm is now regularly
supplying vegetable vendors at the
Balintawak Market with fresh oyster
mushroom that De Guzman personally
delivers early morning before he reports
to work. Mushroom produce that is not
delivered fresh is processed into mushroom
chicharon; this is supplied to community
stores in Angat.

De Guzman wants to improve on the


traditional methods being used by Angat
farmers to show that farming can be
profitable. He converted the two-hectare
rice fields located at the back of his
residence into an integrated farm and
planted a large portion of it to vegetables.
Leafy greens like upland kangkong,
camote tops, sili, saluyot, and lemongrass
provide daily harvests that are delivered to
Balintawak Market together with the oyster
mushroom produce.

De Guzman (left) fabricated his own mushroom fruiting bag filling machine; with him is Art His engineering skills are harnessed to
Veneracion. improve his farm facilities; he fabricated

34 VOLUME XXI DECEMBER 2017 AGRICULTURE MONTHLY


The inoculated fruiting bags are placed in a dark room with controlled
humidity and temperature. De Guzman emphasizes that air-conditioning
The fruiting bags are inoculated in a sterile room to prevent contamination. is not necessary.

greenhouses using recycled iron bars sourced from junk shops. To provide a source of protein for the farm, the rabbit is the
Even his trellises are fabricated using recycled materials. He animal of choice at AngelTolits Farm. De Guzman is aware
is also developing a sprinkler system to be installed in his that rabbits are the best source of healthy meat that is high in
greenhouses and used as cooling system for the farm during the
summer. He wants to show that a working farm system can be
made available to farmers with minimal investment.

De Guzman advocates the use of natural and organic inputs;


he maintains vermicomposting bins that provide his vegetable
plantation with organic fertilizer. He also makes use of the
waste materials from his mushroom production to make
bokashi (organic waste fermentation process that is less
odorous than traditional composting) to replenish the richness
of his planting media.

The author with the fully colonized fruiting bags showing initial stages
of fruiting.

AGRICULTURE MONTHLY VOLUME XXI DECEMBER 2017 35


Upland kangkong and other leafy vegetables provide a regular source of Camote vines are grown for the leaves, which are in demand at
income to the farm. Balintawak Market.

For continuous availability of planting materials, seedlings and companion plants are propagated inside greenhouses which were fabricated using
recycled iron bars as frames which were sourced from junk shops.

protein while being low fat, low cholesterol, and low calorie.
He attended the Rabbit Farming Seminar conducted by Art
Veneracion at AVEN Nature’s Farm, where he learned that
rabbits multiply fast and could very easily be integrated with
his farm since they only required a small space and could be
fed grass and greens that were already available on his farm.
Also, rabbit manure is good fertilizer and can be used fresh
with his planting medium.

His family is now slowly integrating rabbit meat into their


daily diet with the goal of introducing the meat to family and
friends. With the favorable responses he gets whenever he
serves rabbit dishes at community gatherings, De Guzman
knows that rabbit meat will eventually be more acceptable to
the community, and when that time comes, he will be ready
to contribute to the supply.

With his farm projects already in place, De Guzman is ready


to show these to his community, with his place serving as a
model farm. As president of the Samahan ng Magsasaka sa
Bokashi made from used mushroom fruiting bags. Donacion, Angat, he advocates organic and natural farming

36 VOLUME XXI DECEMBER 2017 AGRICULTURE MONTHLY


These rabbits eat grass and legumes available at the farm. Rabbits multiply fast and require only a small space.

Madre de Agua is planted on the property’s perimeter, providing a living


Ducks are also raised free-range at the farm. fence and food for the rabbits.

and is gradually introducing it to


his community. He wants people to
be aware of the benefits of organic
farming when it comes to farmers’
health and welfare. It is his belief
that people need to be aware that
the environment is already damaged
by the continuous use of synthetic
chemicals and there is an urgent
need to shift to organic and natural
methods to prevent its further
degradation. He hopes that when he
retires to become a full-time farmer,
his farmer colleagues in Donacion,
Angat will already be employing
organic farming methods and
practices, becoming healthier and
wealthier. O Fruit trees serve as dividers for planting areas.

AGRICULTURE MONTHLY VOLUME XXI DECEMBER 2017 37


FARM MECH

BY JULIO P. YAP, JR.

“MAKINA EXPO 2017”


HIGHLIGHTS IMPORTANCE
OF FARM MECHANIZATION
assembly, manufacture, and application of appropriate,
location-specific and cost-effective agricultural and fisheries
THE DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE (DA) recently machinery using human, animal, mechanical,electrical,
spearheaded the holding of “Makina Expo 2017” renewable and other nonconventional sources of energy for
at the Iloilo Convention Center in Mandurriao, agricultural production and postharvest or postproduction
Iloilo City. The opening program was graced by operations consistent with agronomic conditions and for
Senator Cynthia A. Villar; DA Secretary Emmanuel efficient and economic farm and fishery management
“Manny” Piñol; Davao del Sur Representative towards modernization of agriculture and fisheries.
Mercedes Cagas; Negros Occidental 2nd District
Representative Leo Rafael Cueva; Iloilo Governor Availability: Aside from exposure to farm machinery and
Arthur Defensor; some members of the diplomatic equipment at events like Makina Expo, Sen. Villar says that
we also need to ensure that Filipinos can make the latest
corps; and local officials. technological and systems innovations available to local
industry players.

Formerly called “Makina Saka,” this year’s edition of Makina “…[We] started late in our mechanization efforts, only
Expo with the theme “Aangat ang Pagsasaka sa Paggamit ng about five years ago, while our Asian neighbors started
Tamang Makinarya” assembled a number of participating mechanizing their farms over three decades ago (in the
companies and thousands of agricultural technicians, farmer- 1970s),” she said. “So we have a lot of catching up to do.
leaders, and farmers from different parts of the country. They Data [shows] that the Philippines lags behind its regional
were introduced to an array of modern farm equipment and neighbors in farm mechanization.
machinery which could assist them in improving productivity
while helping uplift the lives of Filipino farmers. Sen. Villar emphasized that local industry players can now
produce or manufacture equipment and machinery that are
Activities such as this could ensure that farmers will have more adaptable to the local setting or terrain. “We hope, with
access to, and attain knowledge regarding, appropriate our concerted efforts, we can improve our standing because it
machinery and equipment that can help improve their farming will be very beneficial to all of us.”
practices, which is crucial to attaining agricultural sustainability.
Promotion, development, and adoption of modern,
Importance of farm mechanization: During the event, Senator appropriate, cost-effective and environmentally safe
Villar, chairperson of the Senate Committee for Food and agricultural and fisheries machinery and equipment will
Agriculture, underscored the importance of farm mechanization. enhance farm productivity and efficiency, and can help
“I am a staunch supporter of agricultural mechanization. I have Filipinos achieve food security in the country and increase
time and again cited that based on studies, two of the barriers farmers’ incomes.
confronting farmers, fisherfolk, and agricultural workers are
lack of technical expertise and mechanization…Together with Maintenance: Sen. Villar likewise emphasized that
the various government departments/agencies and organizations farm schools in the country should also include repair
such as those behind this event, we should focus on working and maintenance of farm machinery in their curricula.
together towards breaking down those barriers.” Mechanization can significantly bring down the cost of
labor, particularly for labor-intensive crops like rice, sugar,
Sen. Villar pointed out that we need to enhance awareness and corn. “We must also emphasize that in realizing our
and access to agri-mechanization technologies available in mechanization goals, we are not only lowering production
the country as well as from other countries. Agricultural and and postharvest losses among others. It also aid in achieving
fisheries mechanization refers to the development, adoption, our self-sufficiency and food security goals.”

38 VOLUME XXI DECEMBER 2017 AGRICULTURE MONTHLY


Senator Cynthia A. Villar addresses the crowd during the event, which assembled a number of companies, agricultural technicians, farmer-leaders, and
farmers coming from the different parts of the country.

It was learned that the AFMech Law is now in place; the law and equipment, and;
acts as a safety net measure for Philippine agriculture to help • Incentives to local manufacturers and assemblers of agri-
it remain competitive and enhance its productivity. It is aimed fisheries machinery.
at cushioning the agricultural industries from the effects of an
intensified regional competition. Competitiveness: Sen. Villar said that another important goal
is to improve the global competitiveness of our agriculture
Under the ASEAN Economic Community or AEC, there is sector, particularly with economic reintegration under the AEC
now a free flow of goods among ASEAN countries, including in 2015 that brought about cutthroat competition. “We need to
agri-fishery machinery and equipment. To protect the local continuously dialogue, discuss, and discover ways and means to
agriculture sector, the AFMech Law has safety net policies on support the Philippine agriculture sector.”
the entry of imported agri-fishery machinery and equipment.
These policies include: Even the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) of the
United Nations has emphasized that mechanization is a crucial
• Mandatory testing and evaluation by AMTEC of agri-fishery input for agricultural crop production and one that historically
machinery sold in the market; has been neglected in the context of developing countries.
• Registration of agri-fishery machinery and equipment Factors that reduce the availability of farm power compromise
manufacturers, fabricators, and importers; the ability to cultivate sufficient land and have long been
• Development and enforcement of the Philippine Agricultural recognized as a source of poverty.
Engineering Standards;
• Local assembling and manufacturing of agri-fishery machinery Sustainable agricultural mechanization can also contribute
significantly to the development of value chains and food
systems as it has the potential to render postharvest, processing,
and marketing activities and functions more efficient, effective,
and environmentally friendly.

However, increasing levels of mechanization does not


necessarily mean big investments in machinery and equipment.
Farmers need to choose the most appropriate power sources
for any operation they undertake, depending on the work to
be done and who will be performing this work. The level
of mechanization should meet their needs effectively and
efficiently.

Among the local industry players that participated in the


event was Bacolod City-based R.U. Foundry and Machine
Shop Corporation (RUFMSC), which manufactures different
agricultural machinery and equipment. Its most popular
machines, which have gained the attention of the agricultural
A shredder machine was among those that were prominently displayed at sector, were on display. These included the shredder, ram pump,
the main convention hall of the Iloilo Convention Center during the event. and solar equipment, among others. O

AGRICULTURE MONTHLY VOLUME XXI DECEMBER 2017 39


PARTNERS

BY PABLITO P. PAMPLONA, PH.D.

development of coconut.
OIL PALM: COCONUT’S I found in my research that many
strategies which made oil palm

“BIG BROTHER” the most productive oil plant


in the world and a top supplier
of vegetable oil in the world
market are applicable to coconut.
According to Oil World (2008),
the average oil yield of oilseed crops in terms of tons/hectare (t/
THERE IS THE BELIEF that oil palm competes ha) per year is 0.41, 0.65, 0.5, 0.8, and 3.8 for soybeans, rapeseed,
with or threatens the coconut industry in the sunflower, coconut, and oil palm, respectively. The world trading
of vegetable oil in 2016 shows that 31% is supplied by oil palm,
country. This is one of the reasons why many of
25% by soybean, and only 1% by coconut (Fig 1). Applying
our agricultural leaders are reluctant to provide relevant technologies of oil palm to increase coconut productivity
substantial support to oil palm. can double or triple the share of coconut.

Countries which strongly developed both oil palm and coconut


are reaping huge economic benefits today from both crops. Take
Recent developments prove that this perception is wrong. What the case of Indonesia. Its equally strong support for both oil
is happening is, the crops complement each other. In many palm and coconut made the country the number one producer of
cases, oil palm is a “big brother,” helping facilitate the export of both coconut and palm oils. It dislodged the Philippines as a top
coconut oil; providing a different target for the predators which producer of coconut oil in spite of a much smaller area devoted
control the insects destroying the coconut trees; pushing the yield to the crop due to higher productivity. The Philippines is an
of coconut to new heights; and providing a successful strategy importer of palm oil from Indonesia—a commodity for which the
for overcoming poverty in the coconut industry. Rather than Philippines has wide stretches of idle land for production, but is
being a threat, oil palm shows the path to greater heights in the prevented from doing so by the wrong
perceptions of the crop.

PALM OIL FACILITATES THE


EXPORT OF COCONUT OIL
The domestic vegetable oil market was
once dominated by coconut oil. Now,
the local market is dominated by palm
oil, which helps provide the energy
and nutritional needs of Filipinos.
A larger portion of the coconut oil
produced in the country is being
exported and is no longer available on
the domestic market.

According to the Philippine Statistics


Authority in 2016, the country
exported more than US$ 1.5 billion
worth of coconut oil at a price of US$
1,539/metric ton (MT). In the same
year, the country imported 956,100
MT of palm oil from Malaysia and
Indonesia at a price of US$ 1,031/
MT for a value of US$ 984,000. The
country was able to export coconut
oil at a price higher than when it is
sold on the domestic market. This
is facilitated by the availability of
Fig. 1. Percent contribution of various oil plants to the global supply of oils and fats. (Oil World, 2016) imported palm oil at a much lower
price for use in the domestic market.

40 VOLUME XXI DECEMBER 2017 AGRICULTURE MONTHLY


The Philippines has to import this huge amount of palm oil A similar experiment was carried out at the Triple P Farms and
because the country has only 89,000 ha of oil palm producing less Nursery (TPFN) in Kabacan, Cotabato almost a decade ago. The
than 10% of the vegetable oil needs of the country. result was more amazing—high yields of Matag similar to those
obtained at UPB in Malaysia. The experiment also saw the high
OIL PALM RESCUED THE COCONUT FROM BRONTISPA yields of two varieties from Thailand, “Nam Wan” and “Nam
More than a decade ago, the coconut industry was threatened as Hom,” which produced over 150 nuts/tree per year (Fig. 2). This
millions of coconut trees were attacked by the coconut leaf bettle shows that there are coconut hybrids and varieties whose yield
(CLB) or Brontisopa longissima. Then a Philippine Coconut can be coaxed to new heights using good agricultural practices
Authority (PCA) entomologist and scientist, Ven Gallego, similar to those being used in oil palm.
discovered that the number one predator of CLB is a natural friend
and pollinator of oil palm. This insect predator is abundant at the These findings motivated many Malaysian investors to embark on
base of the leaves of fruiting oil palm trees. wide-scale coconut farming using the hybrids Matag and Mawa,
both in Malaysia and other countries. The Malaysians who are
What Ven Gallego and colleagues did was to collect the predators known for their oil palm have planted larger areas to Matag than
from oil palm trees, mass produce the insect in the laboratory, the Filipinos who developed the hybrid. This motivated TPFN
and release it among the CLB-infested coconut trees. The rest to put up a 40 ha coconut hybridization farm in 2016 to produce
is history: the help of “big brother” oil palm saving the coconut seednuts of the hybrids Matag, Nam Wan, and Nam Hom in the
industry. In communities where both oil palm and coconut are provinces of Agusan del Sur and Cotabato.
planted, Brontispa is becoming extinct.
Side by side with the seednut production farm is a 15 ha farm
planted to Matag, with two other Philippine hybrids, and five ha
OIL PALM PUSHES COCONUT YIELD TO NEW HEIGHTS planted to Nam Hom to demonstrate the benefits of planting these
At present, the Philippine national average coconut yield is hybrids and varieties using adequate weeding and fertilization.
46 nuts/tree per year or a vegetable oil yield of less than 800 Moreover, TPFN is also conducting an experiment to find out if
kilograms (kg)/ha per year. Coconut farmers apply “jungle the current highest yielding coconut varieties in the country—
farming,” meaning, they plant low-yielding varieties and carry namely Banga Dwarf and Baguer Dwarf with experimental yields
out limited weeding and fertilization. This is not so with other at PCA Zamboanga Research Center of 3.5 and 4.5 t/ha per year,
growers of oil palm, particularly in Malaysia, where high-yielding respectively—can be pushed higher using adequate weeding and
hybrids are adequately weeded and fertilized for high yields and fertilization.
the resulting income is also high.

Over two decades ago, scientists in a huge oil palm plantation OIL PALM DEMONSTRATES HOW COCONUT CAN BECOME
of 60,000 ha in United Plantation Berhad (UPB), Malaysia, A WAY TO OVERCOME POVERTY
experimented by applying adequate weeding and fertilization Many oil palm farmers in Malaysia, Indonesia, and Thailand earn
to coconut hybrids, similar to their practice with oil palm. The incomes above the poverty threshold level with areas of three ha
result amazed them! The two coconut hybrids, “Matag” of the or less. In the Philippines, many coconut farmers earn incomes
Philippines and “Mawa” of Indonesia, delivered yields in as early far below the poverty threshold level. A study of the situation
as three years. By the fifth year, Matag was yielding 5 to 7 tons of shows that it is not the crop which makes one farmer rich and
copra/ha per year (Table 1). the other poor, but the extent of government policy and support.
Both crops can liberate farmers from poverty with areas of less
However, they found this technique not as applicable to a than three hectares using the right policy and strategy. The model
traditional Malaysian variety, Malayan Tall, which produced only for the right policy and strategy is widely used in oil palm; it’s
a maximum yield of 2.4 tons (t)/ha per year despite adequate applicable to coconut to help overcome widespread poverty.
weeding and fertilization. The small plot experiment was
expanded to over 5,000 ha of coconut, from which they obtained In Malaysia, it is the policy and strategy of the government to
similar high yield results. ensure that the small landholders produce high oil palm yields

Table 1. Yield profile of Mawa and Matag hybrids compared with the local variety, Malayan Tall under optimal
management at UPB in Malaysia1/.

Years No. of nuts/hectare/year Copra/ha/year (tons)


from planting

MAWA MATAG MALAYAN TALL MAWA MATAG MALAYAN TALL

4 16,200 9,600 - 3.40 2.40 -


5 14,300 14,200 1,150 3.00 3.55 0.30
6 20,500 21,000 3,850 4.31 5.25 1.00
7 19,100 22,000 5,000 4.01 5.50 1.30
8 18,600 18,000 6,900 3.91 4.50 1.80
9 27,200 26,000 8,500 5.71 6.50 2.21
10 25,300 27,600 9,200 5.31 6.90 2.39
15 30,500 30,800 8,500 6.41 7.70 2.21
20 28,600 28,000 9,300 6.01 7.00 2.42
1/
Extracted from a UP Berhad plantation publication.

AGRICULTURE MONTHLY VOLUME XXI DECEMBER 2017 41


The PCA should also support the establishment of wide
commercial private seed farms to produce millions of seednuts
of the varieties Tagnanan Tall, Catigan Dwarf, Banga Dwarf, and
Baguer Dwarf with yields of 3.0, 3.0, 3.5, and 4.5 t/ha per year,
respectively. Except for Tagnanan Tall, these dwarf varieties
come to bearing less than three years after field planting.
Varieties like Laguna Tall and Baybay Tall with a long period of
immaturity of six or more years, and low yields of only 2.0 t/ha
per year may be cultivated for special purposes only.

Large scale PCA seednut farms or PCA-supported private


seednut farms can mass produce seednuts as early as four years
after the planting of parental hybrids and high yielding dwarf
varieties. When millions of quality seedlings become available,
the PCA should encourage, financially assist, and capacitate
coconut farmers to cut their tall low-yielding and senile coconut
trees and replace these with seedlings of high yield varieties/
hybrids in an estimated two million ha of coconut farms. This
will make irrelevant the current policy and practice of the
government prohibiting poor farmers from cutting low yielding
coconut trees, as this policy keeps farmers in incomes below
poverty levels. It will make irrelevant the current practice of
distributing coconut seedlings with low yield potential, which
simply worsen poverty.

The reason being advanced in the law prohibiting the cutting of


these low yielding trees is to ensure that milling plants will have
a sustained supply of copra for milling to coconut oil. This is a
pro-milling initiative while at the same time being an anti-poor
policy and is not a good strategy for saving the coconut industry.

A better policy is to help farmers cut these low yielding trees


and replant these with seedlings of the hybrids or varieties which
Fig. 2. Oil palm and coconut at TPFN in Kabacan, Cotabato. produce high yields and therefore, better incomes. This will
Component technology developed in oil palm for early maturity and high benefit both the farmers and the milling plants with more copra
yield was found to be also applicable to coconut. for milling. In doing so, poverty in the coconut farms is reduced,
if not overcome, and the coconut industry becomes inclusive.

EXPANSION OF OIL PALM SHOULD BE SUPPORTED FOR


for high incomes above the poverty level. Overcoming poverty
FOOD SECURITY
As for oil palm, food security demands that an important food
is considered the foundation for developing the inclusiveness of item such as palm oil used as vegetable oil should be produced
the oil palm industry. The government encourages and helps oil domestically to prevent a national food crisis. The government
palm farmers to replant oil palm trees with declining yields aged should allocate funds—not from the coconut levy fund, but from
25 years old and above. the annual regular government appropriation similar to those
allocated to other food crops like rice, corn, and coconut—to
First, the government supported the mass production of millions expand oil palm planting to over 400,000 ha over the next
of quality seedlings of high-yielding hybrids and financially ten years. PCA officials should articulate the need for such an
assisted the farmers with land clearing and maintenance for the allocation as it is mandated to develop the palm oil industry.
first three years after replanting. Farmers pay the cost of the
seedlings and pre-harvest maintenance after harvest in three This should also help the country overcome the current palm
to five years at a subsidized cost. This brings the farmers’ net oil importation deficit that benefits Indonesian and Malaysian
income to not less than the equivalent of R89,000/ha per year or farmers. As a highly versatile commodity, many new industrial
R277,000 for three ha above the poverty threshold level. uses of palm oil are discovered almost daily. Exporting countries
may find that exporting palm oil as a biofuel and for other
APPLYING THE OIL PALM MODEL FOR OVERCOMING industrial uses can be done at a much higher price than when it
POVERTY AMONG FILIPINO COCONUT FARMERS is exported to the Philippines as vegetable oil. If that happens,
The Philippine government should implement a strategy of the country will experience a food crisis. This will also harm
using coconut to help farmers overcome poverty, similar to the coconut industry as the coconut oil will be held for domestic
what is done with oil palm in Malaysia. The PCA should use use instead of being exported at a higher price to benefit coconut
the huge coconut levy fund to embark on a grand program of, farmers. Expanding oil palm cultivation can benefit the coconut
among others, financing the establishment of thousand hectares industry.
of commercial seednut farms to produce millions of seedlings
of hybrids and high yielding varieties. Priority should be given FINAL RECOMMENDATION
to the production of seedlings of Matag and other hybrids with Our agricultural leaders should strongly support the development
potential yields of 5 to 7 t/ha per year. of both coconut and oil palm in a way which lets one

42 VOLUME XXI DECEMBER 2017 AGRICULTURE MONTHLY


ALTERNATIVE

A COST-EFFECTIVE SOLUTION
TO PARTIALLY REPLACE VITAMIN E
OXIDATIVE IMBALANCE can reduce animal productivity. If severe, it can lead to inflammation, reduced immune
function, and increased susceptibility to disease. Livestock producers typically use vitamin E to increase the
antioxidant capacity of animals and minimize economic losses.

Recently, the price of vitamin E has risen significantly and might It belongs to a family of antioxidant compounds called
increase further, giving livestock producers a good reason to polyphenols. Within this very diverse family, there are molecules
review their antioxidant sources. This article considers cost- that have a greater antioxidant capacity per gram than vitamin E.
effective alternative antioxidants to partially replace vitamin E.
Furthermore, some polyphenols have improved bioavailability.
OXIDATIVE IMBALANCE CAN REDUCE ANIMAL Thus, the improved activity and availability of some polyphenols
result in a more effective antioxidant supply in livestock than
PRODUCTIVITY vitamin E alone.
The oxidative status of animals is affected by many factors,
including diet quality, health status, and growth rate. These and
other factors contribute to free radical formation. Excessive STUDIES SHOW THAT FEED ADDITIVES CAN SAFELY
levels of free radicals can result in oxidative imbalance and REPLACE PART OF THE VITAMIN E REQUIREMENTS OF
stress. This imbalance can cause damage to DNA, proteins, and LIVESTOCK
unsaturated fatty acids, leading to a decrease in productivity. Trouw Nutrition proved the efficacy of specifically selected
polyphenols in both swine and poultry using a heat challenge
Animals living close to ideal conditions (i.e. high quality diet model. Animals were fed either a negative control diet containing
and adequate environments) are expected to require a vitamin NRC-recommended levels of vitamin E, a positive control diet
E intake as indicated by National Research Council (NRC) containing industry-standard levels of supplementation (above
recommendations. However, if any of these conditions are not NRC), or a test diet in which the vitamin E above NRC was
met, as in the case of animals raised in intensive production replaced by the polyphenol blend SelkoAOmix.
systems, then the antioxidant requirements are estimated to
increase above NRC recommendations. The results indicated that animals under a heat challenge, when
fed vitamin E at NRC recommendations, presented signs of
The most used strategy to avoid the consequences of oxidative oxidative imbalance, showing a lower performance. This increase
imbalance is feeding vitamin E to animals as an antioxidant. of oxidative imbalance was ameliorated by both the higher
Vitamin E serves two main functions as is described in literature. level of vitamin E treatment and the treatment containing NRC
The first is the minimum requirement for gene expression, levels of vitamin E plus SelkoAOmix. There were no significant
enzymatic activity regulation, and neurological functions; the differences in terms of performance and antioxidant status
second is as an antioxidant. The first is specific for vitamin E and between the higher level vitamin E treatment and that containing
cannot be replaced by other compounds. The second, however, SelkoAOmix.
can be satisfied by other antioxidants.
Properly selected polyphenols, with a good bio-availability and
POLYPHENOLS CAN BE MORE EFFICIENT THAN VITAMIN a good in vivo antioxidant action, such as SelkoAOmix, can
E IN REDUCING OXIDATIVE PRESSURE provide antioxidant protection, helping animals perform well
Vitamin E is not unique in its ability to neutralize free radicals. under challenging conditions. O

complement the other. The Philippines is among the few countries the Philippines imported 485,000 MT of palm oil. This increased
blessed with the natural resources highly suitable not just for one to 956,000 MT in 2016 and is projected to increase to 1,500,000
but for both crops. The country should take advantage of this MT in 2020 with an estimated value of US$ 1.5 billion. This
situation to benefit the environment and its people. is such a big drain on our foreign reserves which should be
overcome by the large-scale planting of oil palm.
Successful oil palm strategies relevant to coconut should be used
to boost the yield and productivity of coconut to help farmers Let’s employ science and the correct mindset to develop both oil
growing the crop to overcome poverty. The oil palm industry palm and coconut to boost the agricultural development of this
should be expanded rapidly from the current 89,000 ha to over country and help our farmers overcome poverty so that they will
400,000 ha to overcome the rapidly expanding importation caused be at par with or better than their counterparts in our neighboring
about by the booming domestic consumption of oil palm. In 2012, countries. O

AGRICULTURE MONTHLY VOLUME XXI DECEMBER 2017 43


PH IS 4TH

BY ROLANDO T. DY

THE GLOBAL HUNGER INDEX:


WHERE IS THE PHILIPPINES?
WHAT ABOUT IMPROVEMENTS SINCE 2000?
THE GLOBAL HUNGER INDEX (GHI) Cambodia, Myanmar, Vietnam, Laos, and Thailand posted dramatic
surges at 40 to 50 percent. Indonesia and the Philippines recorded the
comprehensively measures and tracks slowest advance.
hunger at the global, regional, and national
levels. The International Food Policy
Research Institute (IFPRI) calculates GHI Global Hunger Index Score and Rank, ASEAN
scores each year to assess progress in
combating hunger. The 2017 GHI has been Country Rank 2000 2008 2017 2017/2000
calculated for the 119 countries for which 2017 Change, %
data is available.
Malaysia 44 15.5 13.7 10.2 -34
Thailand 46 18.1 12.0 10.6 -41
Vietnam 64 28.6 21.6 16.0 -45
The GHI is designed to raise awareness of the struggle Philippines 68 25.9 20.2 20.0 -23
against hunger, and call attention to the areas of the world Indonesia 72 25.5 28.3 22.0 -14
in greatest need of additional resources to eliminate Cambodia 75 43.6 27.1 22.2 -49
hunger. Myanmar 77 43.6 30.1 22.6 -48
Laos 91 48.1 33.4 27.5 -43
Given the multi-dimensional nature of hunger, GHI
scores are based on four metrics (http://ebrary.ifpri. Source: IFPRI
org/utils/getfile/collection/p15738coll2/id/131422/
filename/131628.pdf):
1. Undernourishment: the share of the population
that is undernourished (that is, whose caloric intake is Malnourishment. The Philippines ranked fifth among the eight ASEAN
insufficient); countries, just slightly ahead of Cambodia.
2. Child wasting: the share of children under the age of
five who are wasted (that is, who have low weight for Wasting in Children. The Philippines tied with Myanmar in terms of
their height, reflecting acute undernutrition); wasting in children under five years at 7.9 percent.
3. Child stunting: the share of children under the age
of five who are stunted (that is, who have low height for Stunting in Children. The Philippines tied with Myanmar at the fourth
their age, reflecting chronic undernutrition); and slot with some 30 percent of its children under five that were stunted.
4. Child mortality: the mortality rate of children under Cambodia, Indonesia, and Laos rated low in this index.
the age of five (in part, a reflection of the fatal mix of
inadequate nutrition and unhealthy environments). Child Mortality. The Philippines trailed Malaysia, Thailand, Vietnam,
and Indonesia here.
Fourteen countries had index scores of less than five.
The low score mean[s] high achievement. They include WAY FORWARD
diverse countries like Bosnia, Chile, Cuba, Kuwait, Among the 17 Global Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) for Vision
Turkey, and Uruguay. Advanced countries were not rated. 2030, Goals 2 (Zero Hunger) and 3 (Health and Well Being) rank very
high, just after Goal 1 (No Poverty).
Among the eight ASEAN countries rated, the Philippines
ranked fourth behind Malaysia, Thailand, and Vietnam, Poverty and hunger are correlated. The higher the income, the more
the last two being rice exporters. Indonesia is fifth. likely it is for hunger to be lower; this is better for health.
However, rice exporters Cambodia and Myanmar ranked
low with the seventh and eighth slots. The Philippines has a long way to go to alleviate hunger and poverty.

44 VOLUME XXI DECEMBER 2017 AGRICULTURE MONTHLY


FROM JAPAN

BY JULIO P. YAP, JR.

FAIRY F1: A NEW EXTRA SWEET


WATERMELON VARIETY
usual watermelon. It’s bred to be that way; those who are used
to cultivating larger fruit varieties or who prefer larger sizes of
watermelons will be surprised by the unexpected sweetness of the
Fairy variety.

The Fairy F1 Watermelon variety, which is much sweeter than


the available varieties in the country, also has very good eating
quality. Its sweet and juicy flesh is crimson red in color and can
be consumed fresh, squeezed for juice, mixed in fruit salads, or
served however a creative cook wishes. It is also known for having
a distinct flavor.

Its small size makes it an ideal novelty gift item, especially since
it has a longer shelf life. The fruits can easily be placed in any
creative arrangement.

Another advantage of Fairy F1’s smaller fruit size is that it


can be prepared as a single serving; there is no need to worry
about leftover watermelon portions which can be forgotten in a
refrigerator or need to be disposed.

Finally, there are many health benefits derived from watermelon;


WATERMELONS are available practically the fruit is highly nutritious in addition to being very refreshing.
everywhere during the summer months. But a new Easy to grow: This variety of watermelon can also be grown
variety recently introduced to the market by Allied any time of the year on a farm or right in one’s own garden. The
Botanical Corporation (ABC) is expected to thrill growing vine of this variety can also be placed in a trellis in the
not only farmers but also consumers in general. garden to become a conversation piece when it starts to bear fruit.

Harvesting can be done just 55 days after transplanting. The


Smaller and better: According to ABC, the variety’s oval fruit is general practice is to check if the fruit produces a hollow sound
the only watermelon in the country with gradient stripes. What’s when thumped with the knuckles; this is a sign that it is ready for
fascinating is that the fruit of Fairy F1 is smaller than that of the harvesting. O

Among the ASEAN-5, it is behind in the


GHI by Components in 2017 Poverty Incidence, Hunger, and Food
Security Indices.
GHIRank Malnourished Wasting Stunting Under 5
population, % in children in children mortality, The Philippine Development Plan, 2017-
under 5, % under 5, % % 2022, targets to reduce national poverty to
14 percent by 2022 from 21.6 percent in
Malaysia 44 2.2 8.0 17.7 0.7 2015. Much will hinge on the lowering of
Thailand 46 9.5 5.4 10.5 1.2 rural poverty to 20 percent in 2022 from 30
Vietnam 64 10.7 6.4 24.6 2.2 percent in 2015.
Philippines 68 13.8 7.9 30.3 2.8
Indonesia 72 7.9 13.5 36.4 2.7 Moreover, the 4Ps (conditional cash transfer)
Cambodia 75 15.3 9.6 32.4 2.9 is an effective program that helps address
Myanmar 77 16.9 7.9 30.3 5.0 wasting, stunting, and child mortality. It
Laos 91 17.1 6.4 43.8 6.7 will help the poor break the vicious cycle
of poverty in the next generation through
Source: IFPRI human capital development. O

AGRICULTURE MONTHLY VOLUME XXI DECEMBER 2017 45


EMERGING FAVORITE

BY JULIO P. YAP, JR.

BOUNTIFUL HARVEST
FIRST COMMERCIAL Joni and Susan Sanchez of San Pablo City
in Laguna have successfully cultivated the
variety in commercial quantities. From a
CULTIVATION OF one-hectare farm, they were able to harvest a
considerable number of corn ears which they
sold at a very profitable price through their

PURPLE MAGIC Joni and Susan Agroshop in San Pablo.

During their first harvest season, some of

CORN VARIETY their clients even went directly to their farm


to buy the freshly harvested corn ears, while
others placed their orders beforehand.

IS SUCCESSFUL The popularity of the variety can be


attributed to its healthful benefits, since
purple-colored fruits and vegetables are
becoming popular due to their anthocyanin
content. This is usually found in blue, red,
FOLLOWING the successful introduction of the Purple Magic corn and purple fruits and veggies, like purple
variety at the Agrilink 2016 series, it has become the favorite snack corn.
food of those with discriminating tastes and the favored planting
material of enterprising farmers and agri enthusiasts. According to Rudy Dean, area sales manager
of Allied Botanical Corporation for Regions
4A and 5, anthocyanin is said to improve
the functions of the heart, eyes, and nervous
In fact, the purple corn variety is becoming more popular among many Filipinos, system. He claimed that anthocyanin can
primarily due to its eating quality. help lower bad cholesterol levels, which can
in turn help in preventing heart diseases and
Purple corn has been available for thousands of years. It was believed to have been hypertension.
planted first by the Incas of Peru some 4,000 years ago. Here in the Philippines, the
purple corn seeds can now be sourced from Allied Botanical Corporation (ABC). Purple corn, with its rich antioxidant content,
can also help protect against cancer, diabetes,
and obesity. Being a natural food, purple corn
can help restore the amount of collagen in the
body, and this may delay ageing. Collagen is
also believed to improve the appearance of
the skin, nails, and hair.

INSTANT POPULARITY
The Purple Magic variety, which is under
the Condor Seeds brand, can be cultivated
just like ordinary sweet corn and white
corn varieties. During last year’s edition of
Agrilink, the purple corn variety introduced
by ABC attracted the interest of many event
visitors.

Freshly harvested purple corn was made


available, cooked at one of the outdoor
exhibit booths of ABC and sold for a very
affordable price. It is very sweet-tasting,
The Purple Magic corn variety is becoming more popular among many Filipinos primarily due soft, and enjoyable to eat from the cob when
to its health benefits and eating quality. boiled or steamed.

46 VOLUME XXI DECEMBER 2017 AGRICULTURE MONTHLY


BRIGHT PROSPECTS
Because of the popularity and ease in cultivating the
variety, the Sanchez couple signified their intention to
cultivate more Purple Magic in their other farms, which are
located in different areas. Incidentally, the Joni and Susan
Agroshop has started a corn plantation partnership program
which aims to convert vacant lots or idle farms into crop
producing areas.

Joni explained that under the program, they can help in


supplying the rising demand for corn in the market while
at the same time providing livelihood opportunities for
residents where the farm is located, and creating investment
opportunities for prospective partners or investors.

According to him, the partnership program includes a


dedicated one-hectare farm lot, corn seedlings, manpower,
farm-to-market distribution of the crop to established
buyers, in-house insurance for the investment, and the cost
of other inputs like fertilizers, farm machinery rentals, and
other incidental fees. Joni and Susan Sanchez while harvesting the purple corn variety.

RISK-FREE
The Sanchez couple says that the partnership is virtually
“risk-free” since the investment is covered by an in-house
insurance scheme. “During cases of unforeseen events,
such as natural disasters or human activities that may
cause inevitable damage to the crop, through our in-house
insurance, we will replace and replant the seedlings,” Joni
says.

He added that the minimum investment amount is just


R50,000 and after each harvest cycle, the partner will
receive a 20 percent share from the partnership scheme.

Joni and Susan are not setting any limits regarding the
partnership fee. It is based upon the agreement between
both parties, they explained. It was learned that the couple
is now cultivating several farmlands which are located in
the provinces of Pangasinan, Zambales, and Laguna. “We
allow our partners or prospective investors to visit the
farms and interact with the farmers for them to appreciate The couple’s corn plantation partnership program also provides livelihood
the salient features of the agreement,” they said. O opportunities for the local residents.

Sanchez explains the salient features of their corn plantation Alan Cledera of ABC helps a farm worker who is sorting the freshly harvested
partnership program to a prospective investor. purple corn.

AGRICULTURE MONTHLY VOLUME XXI DECEMBER 2017 47


GOOD FOR ENVIRONMENT

BIOTECH CROPS REDUCE


USE OF PESTICIDES
Health experts claim pesticides can enter the human body
through the lungs, digestive system, or skin. Depending on
THE ROME-BASED Food and Agriculture the pesticide, health effects can be immediate (acute) or they
Organization (FAO) of the United Nations can occur after years of lower-level exposure. The long-
estimates that up to 35% of the losses in annual term effects of exposure to pesticides include skin disorders,
damage to internal organs (liver, kidneys, lungs), increased
crop production worldwide are due to pests:
sensitivity to pesticides, and effects on progeny.
insects, weeds, plant diseases, rodents, and birds.
Of the estimated one million insects in the world,
between 150 to 200 species frequently cause A SAFER ALTERNATIVE: BIOPESTICIDES
Now, if Filipino farmers want to stop using pesticides to
serious damage to crops. control pests attacking their agricultural crops, all they need to
do is plant biotech crops.

When losses due to pests are combined with postharvest A report from the International Service for the Acquisition
losses, worldwide food losses amount to 45%. “This is almost of Agri-Biotech Applications (ISAAA) said farmers who
one half of the world’s potential food supply,” the FAO planted biotech crops have reduced pesticide spraying. There
pointed out. This is the reason why most farmers around the was a “decreased [environmental] impact from herbicide and
world use pesticides to control these pests. insecticide use by 19%,” the report stated. From 1996 to 2015,
there was a reduction of pesticide applications by 8.1%. In
2015 alone, a reduction of 6.1% was noted.
THE DANGERS OF PESTICIDE USE
For a long time, no one seemed to question the safety of
pesticides, not until 1962, when marine biologist and writer The reduction was made possible through the use of
Rachel Carson wrote the now classic “Silent Spring.” In her biopesticides. For years, many organic farmers have used a
book, she described how pesticides cause long-term hazards to bacterial pesticide called Bt to control a variety of pests that
birds, fish, other wildlife, and humans, though these provide attack agricultural crops.
only short-term gains to controlling the pests.
Bt stands for Bacillus thuringiensis, a common soil bacterium
Despite her findings, pesticide use continues to soar. “Farmers so called because it was first isolated in the Thuringia region
now apply about one pound of pesticides per year for every of Germany. It produces a protein that paralyzes the larvae of
person on the planet, 75% of it in industrial countries,” Peter some harmful insects.
Weber, a researcher with the Washington-based Worldwatch
Institute, reported some years back. Scientists, through genetic engineering, have taken the Bt gene
responsible for the production of the insecticidal protein from
In the Philippines, most farmers use chemicals to control the bacterium and incorporated it into the genome of plants.
pests that attack rice. “Pesticides are like bombs being As such, the plants have a built-in mechanism of protection
dropped in the food web, creating enormous destruction,” against targeted pests.
said entomologist Dr. K.L. Heong, who once worked with the
International Rice Research Institute. Aside from corn, Bt has also been introduced in cotton,
poplar, potato, rice, soybean, tomato, and more recently,
Pesticides are killing more than just the pests. “Some eggplant. “The protein produced by the plants does not get
pesticides harm…living organisms other than the targeted washed away, nor is it destroyed by sunlight,” stated a briefing
pest,” observed the Davao-based Technical Assistance Center paper published by the Global Knowledge Center on Crop
for the Development of Rural and Urban Poor. “Some travel to Biotechnology. “The plants are protected from the insects
the food chain to bioaccumulate in higher organisms.” round the clock regardless of the situation.”

48 VOLUME XXI DECEMBER 2017 AGRICULTURE MONTHLY


other day or 60-80 times
in an entire four-month
eggplant cropping season.
They did this to eliminate
the extremely persistent
moth known as the fruit and
shoot borer (FSB). Damage
caused by the FSB, whose
larva consumes the inner
part of the eggplant, usually
results in nearly 80% of
yield loss, especially during
periods of high incidences
of infestation.

But thanks to Bt eggplant,


farmers can now do away
with pesticide spraying
by as much as 100%.
“Producing the no toxin-
laden eggplant is now
possible,” the report stated.

“Researchers on Bt eggplant
from the University
of the Philippines
at Los Baños have
Since Bt crops are able to defend themselves against pests, the experimentally demonstrated that it is effective, and the use
use of chemical insecticides is significantly reduced. A study of this technology can dramatically reduce the current use of
conducted by the United States Department of Agriculture showed toxic chemical insecticides,” pointed out Dr. Eufemio T. Rasco,
that 8.2 million pounds of pesticide active ingredients were Jr., an academician at the National Academy of Science and
eliminated by the farmers who planted Bt crops in 1998. Technology.

Currently, there are more than 200 types of Bt proteins identified A field trial was conducted in two barangays in Pangasinan, the
with varying degrees of toxicity to some insects. country’s biggest eggplant producer. According to the report,
“All throughout [the] three trials, the superior efficacy of Bt
eggplant in stopping by virtually 100% infestation of FSB was
HOW THE PHILIPPINES CAN LEAD THE WAY IN observed in the three eggplant varieties tested: Dumaguete Long
EGGPLANT Purple, Mara, and Mamburao. All three varieties—unsprayed
A recent report said that the Philippines has the potential to be [with] insecticides—were planted both for Bt eggplant and non-
a global forerunner in the healthful, pesticide-free growing of Bt eggplant.”
traditionally intensively-sprayed eggplant. The country is among
the world’s top 10 eggplant producers, with a production of Dr. Desiree M. Hautea, who led the study, concluded:
around 200,000 metric tons annually. “Commercial production of Bt eggplant has great potential to
reduce yield losses to FSB while dramatically reducing the
In the past, Filipino farmers sprayed the crop with pesticides every reliance of growers on synthetic insecticides, reducing risks
to the environment, to
worker’s health, and to the
consumer.”

Their report was filed with


the peer-reviewed journal
PLOS (Public Library of
Science).

Meanwhile, ISAAA said


that while biotech crops
are essential, they “are not
a panacea.” It explained:
“Adherence to good
farming practices, such as
rotations and resistance
management, are [as
much] a must for biotech
crops as they are for
Fruit damage on non-Bt (left) and Bt eggplant. (UPLB IPB Bt Eggplant Project, 2014) conventional crops.” O

AGRICULTURE MONTHLY VOLUME XXI DECEMBER 2017 49


FEEDING PROGRAM

BY JULIO P. YAP, JR.

NEGROS AGRIPRENEUR
NOW AN ASEAN AWARDEE
AN AGRIPRENEUR from Bacolod City became an
awardee of this year’s Association of Southeast
Asian Nations or ASEAN Women Entrepreneurs
Network (AWEN) due to her relentless and
unselfish efforts in promoting organic agriculture
and leading humanitarian missions that are aimed
at helping the most vulnerable sector of society.

May Aileen S. Uy received the coveted award during a ceremony


at the Philippine International Convention Center (PICC) in Pasay
City. She received the award along with other entrepreneurs from
different parts of Southeast Asia who were chosen as winners for
this year.

The award—which was bestowed by AWEN in partnership with


the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) and the Philippine
Commission on Women—aims to celebrate the work and efforts of
women in the field of micro, small, medium, and large enterprises
in all the member-states of the ASEAN.

AWEN is a network of women in business in the region, operating


to exchange knowledge and experience; develop and propose
initiatives to promote economic and trade activities in order to
enhance gender equality; empower and strengthen entrepreneurship
May Aileen S. Uy received the award during a ceremony which was
skills for women in ASEAN community; and to create favorable held recently at the Philippine International Convention Center in Pasay
environment for female-led enterprises and support for women City.
entrepreneurship in the region.

Uy was among those cited for the quality and breadth of their
engagements, which greatly benefited the grassroots level of
society. Among the many initiatives that won Uy the AWEN The feeding program is being implemented during each school
award was the feeding program which continues to benefit at least day, and after each school year, an evaluation is done to make
60 pupils at the M.G. Medalla Integrated School in Barangay sure that the pupils benefited from the initiative.
Pahanocoy. Providing organic food to the malnourished elementary
pupils has been the advocacy of May and her husband Ramon Uy Aside from the feeding project, Uy has created livelihood
Sr. for almost three years now. opportunities that benefited those in their community, established
a public library for the use of poor students and out-of-school
The couple believes that organic agriculture should not be youth, and conducted humanitarian efforts.
practiced by farmers alone, but also by the children of the farmers.
“Our advocacy is to help the farmers and their children by sharing A showcase garden: In 2010, together with her husband, Uy
the importance of organic agriculture, which will greatly benefit established May’s Organic Garden at Sitio Aning in Barangay
not only our health but [also] the environment,” says Uy. Pahanocoy, Bacolod City, with the primary aim of contributing

50 VOLUME XXI DECEMBER 2017 AGRICULTURE MONTHLY


to and showcasing organic practices that would
benefit society and marginalized farmers in general.

According to her, the purpose of establishing


May’s Organic Garden was not just as a farm
tourism destination in Bacolod City but also as a
venue for farmers and members of the community
to learn more about organic farming and organic
practices. Through the resort-cum-farm, farmers
can learn how to produce organic fertilizers which
they can use in their respective farms to help them
save on farm inputs.

It can be noted that the prices of different farm


inputs, particularly chemical fertilizers, have
continuously risen, adding to the expenditures of
marginalized and hardworking farmers. But the
Uys believe that “a person who wakes up early
in the morning and works all day until late in the
afternoon should be rich.”

“But why are [do a] majority of…farmers remain


May Uy, together with her husband Ramon, established May’s Organic Garden with the poor despite their diligence?” the couple asked.
primary aim of contributing and showcasing organic practices that can benefit tsociety
and marginalized farmers in general. Providing organic food to malnourished elementary They attributed this to the conventional or
pupils is their advocacy. inorganic farming practices of some farmers who
continuously use expensive pesticides or chemicals
as inputs for cultivating their crops.

Uy explained that the rising cost of synthetic inputs


can deplete the already very limited resources of
poor farmers; it also degrades the quality of soil
and affects the environment in general. “Promoting
organic agriculture is a gargantuan task. One
must exert an extraordinary effort to convince…
traditional farmers, and eventually… consumers, to
practice organic farming,” she says.

She also says that her success in life can be


measured in how she delivers their advocacy to the
targeted sector, and how she performs her duties
to her family. “I want to inspire them through the
spiritual, emotional, and physical aspects of life.
I believe that life is a precious gift from God, and
sharing that gift is the best that I could offer to
May’s Organic Garden serves as a venue for farmers and members of the community to those who value their lives.” Uy firmly believes
learn more about organic farming and organic practices. that “when you help others, God will bless you in
an unexpected way.”

Aside from the qualities that may have helped


her earn her the AWEN award, Uy has been
continuously implementing projects that aim
to benefit poor farmers and members of the
community. These include the Bagsakan Market
at May’s Organic Garden where local farmers
can market their organically produced crops; the
promotion of an organic lifestyle through various
activities; and allocating a 10 percent share from
the entrance fees for the organic garden to the
feeding program.

Uy has transformed her vision into a viable


business venture that helps break the traditional
barriers affecting marginalized farmers, and the
AWEN award she won challenged her to continue
with her task, and to inspire more women to pursue
The couple transformed their vision into a viable business venture that sustained their
mission to break the traditional barriers affecting marginalized farmers. humanitarian endeavors. O

AGRICULTURE MONTHLY VOLUME XXI DECEMBER 2017 51


SLOWER GROWTH

BY MADELAINE B. MIRAFLOR

AGRICULTURE SECTOR GROWTH


SLACKENS IN Q3
THE COUNTRY’S AGRICULTURE SECTOR slowed down in the third quarter of the year but has logged higher gross
earnings of R383 billion on the back of higher prices recorded across different subsectors, mainly at crops.

Data from the Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA) showed that The PSA noted that despite the growth in output, the prices of chicken had gone
the agriculture sector grew by 2.32 percent in the third quarter of down significantly, or 10.84 percent, during the period which could be explained
2017, which was slower than its 2.98 percent growth in the same by the prevalence of AI that caused fear of buying among consumers.
period last year.
At current prices, the gross value of poultry production amounted to
From January to September, agriculture recorded a 4.64 percent R47.1 billion or 4.32 percent lower than the previous year’s record.
growth in output, coming from a decline of 1.53 percent in the
same period in 2016. The subsector recorded a 4.56 percent growth in output for the period
January to September 2017.
“[Contributing to the sector’s growth were] the production gains in
the crops, livestock and poultry subsectors,” the PSA said. Meanwhile, production in the livestock subsector slowly grew by 0.91
percent, accounting for 18.37 percent of the total agricultural output
In the third quarter of 2017, the gross value of agricultural during the third quarter of 2017, from a growth of 4.03 percent in the
production amounted to R382.5 billion at current prices. This was same period last year.
6.27 percent higher than the gross earnings recorded last year.
“All components of the subsector recorded output increments. The subsector’s
On the average, prices received by farmers across the country went gross earnings amounted to R68.9 billion and registered an increase of 14.88
up by 3.86 percent in the third quarter of 2017, while it went up by percent from last year’s record. The subsector’s gross output in the first nine
an average of 4.19 percent in the first nine months. months of the year grew by 0.87 percent,” the PSA said.

PSA noted that price increments were higher in the livestock and Accounting for the 17.40 percent of the total agricultural output in the
fisheries subsectors at 13.84 percent and 7.64 percent, respectively, third quarter, the fisheries subsector registered a 4.27 percent decline
while prices grew by 1.92 percent in the crops subsector. in output from a decline of 2.58 percent last year.

But as the country was pestered by its first case of Avian Influenza (AI) in From January to September 2017, the subsector’s output went down
August, poultry subsector recorded an average price drop of 7.47 percent. by 1.97 percent.

The crops subsector, which shared 46.89 percent in the total The subsector grossed R56.7 billion at current prices. This was 3.05
agricultural production, particularly expanded by 5.18 percent, a percent higher than last year’s record.
little bit slower than the 5.22 percent growth seen last year.
PSA said that the country’s milkfish production contracted by 0.73 percent
During this period, production of palay improved by 14.17 percent, due to heavy siltation in the marine cages in Davao del Sur which prompted
while that of corn went down by 2.74 percent. the local government unit (LGU) to issue an advisory to limit fishing
activities because of water pollution brought about by too much feeds.
“Output gains were also noted among the major crops such as
coconut, sugarcane, banana, pineapple, tobacco, peanut, mongo, “In Bulacan, the harvesting of smaller sizes of milkfish from
cassava, sweet potato, tomato and rubber,” the PSA said. brackishwater fishponds was the result of sudden rains from hot weather
in July locally known as ‘nagitawan.’ The use of poor quality fingerlings
For the third quarter of 2017, the subsector grossed R209.8 billion, and the effects of changes in weather conditions also negatively affected
up by 7.20 percent from last year’s gross receipts. production of milkfish in Zambales,” the PSA noted.

For the poultry, which registered 17.34 percent contribution to the In CALABARZON, there was temporary stoppage of some farming
total agricultural output, the sector grew by 3.41 percent in the third operations due to possible dismantling of fishpens by the Laguna Lake
quarter of this year from only a growth of 2.52 percent in 2016. Development Authority (LLDA).

This, as chicken and chicken eggs recorded output gains of 2.52 Production of “other” fish species also declined by 9.29 percent due to
percent and 7.67 percent, respectively. different factors, PSA said. (MANILA BULLETIN, 16 NOV 2017)

52 VOLUME XXI DECEMBER 2017 AGRICULTURE MONTHLY


PCAARRD INITIATIVE

Addressing these

ABACA PROGRAM problems would increase


farm productivity;
farmers’ incomes will

PRODUCES VIRUS-FREE also increase as a result.


Hence, the Abaca Industry
Strategic S&T Program
(ISP) of the Philippine

PLANTING MATERIALS Council for Agriculture,


Aquatic and Natural
Resources Research
and Development
(PCAARRD) of the Department of Science and Technology
(DOST) aims to increase annual fiber yield by 128% from
0.53 metric tons per hectare (mt/ha) to 1.2 mt/ha, significantly
increasing the production of quality planting materials/
hybrids and the area for the abaca rehabilitation program,
increase revenue from high-end or high-value products, and
finally, increase annual farmers’ incomes with improved farm
productivity.

Within the last three years of Abaca ISP implementation, the


program has already produced 2,512,597 high quality and
bunchy-top resistant plantlets for field testing and demonstration
in ten major abaca-producing provinces; developed 1,000
dipsticks for abaca bunchy top virus (ABTV) detection; improved
the ABTV diagnostic/detection kit for pilot testing; and identified
molecular markers for ABTV resistance.

For the downstream processing initiatives, bench-scale production


of packaging paper and currency base paper has been conducted
under the program. It has produced spun yarns of the hybrid,
which will soon be made into fabric; extracted nanocrystalline
cellulose; prepared microfibrillated cellulose; and tested grafted
adsorbents for adsorption capacities.
ABACA FIBER can be found in native products On capacity-building, training sessions/workshops on abaca tissue
such as footwear and hand-loomed bags. It is used culture, proper hands-on management of tissue culture-derived
for medical and industrial applications, such as in abaca hybrids, and virus detection, indexing, and agronomic data
orthopedic materials, and its composites are used in collection have been conducted. Moreover, eight state universities
making glass fibers for vehicles, paper, and ropes. and colleges’ (SUCs) tissue culture laboratories for abaca hybrid
These are just a few of its applications. propagation were upgraded and renovated.

Four publications comprised of two papers have been presented


in scientific conferences, and one brochure and two posters have
Fibers from abaca (Musa textilis Nee) are considered to be been produced. There is also an ongoing application for plant
among the strongest natural fibers in the world. The Philippines variety protection of abaca ‘Bandala,’ a bunchy top-resistant
supplies about 85% of the global demand for abaca fibers, variety.
which continues to grow in both the local and foreign markets.
But though the abaca industry has long been established, With the ongoing and future initiatives in the Abaca ISP, the
farm productivity and fiber quality have been generally low. PCAARRD will continue to provide support for the creation of
Specifically, the industry’s constraints include a limited supply more benefits, primarily for farmers, towards a thriving global-
of high-yielding varieties, losses due to the spread of pests and class Filipino-led abaca industry. (RENELLE C. YEBRON, THE
diseases, and limited technologies for new products. PCAARRD MONITOR)

AGRICULTURE MONTHLY VOLUME XXI DECEMBER 2017 53


LIVESTOCK FEED

CORN SILAGE PRODUCTION


AS AN ENTERPRISE
ENTERPRISING FARMERS can look into corn silage
production as an alternative source of livelihood.

Corn silage is a form of carabao feed made from chopped


corn plants that are sealed tight in a silo or container and then
fermented for two to three weeks. It is a nutritious feed for
carabaos as it is a good source of energy and protein.

Isagani Cajucom, a farmer entrepreneur, is an adopter of


silage production technology. He is a farmer leader for the
Silage Production project of the Philippine Carabao Center
(PCC) and the Philippine Council for Agriculture, Aquatic,
and Natural Resources Research and Development of the
Department of Science and Technology (DOST-PCAARRD).
DOST-PCAARRD supports the project through its
Technomart (TM) modality.

Cajucom has been producing and marketing corn silage in


Nueva Ecija. From 2013 to 2016, Cajucom produced 2.4
million kilograms (kg) of corn silage from 62 hectares of
land, giving him PhP 1.02 million in net income over three
years. He sells his corn silage to the PCC, dairy cooperatives
in Nueva Ecija, and commercial livestock farms in Batangas, Isagani Cajucom, entrepreneur and farmer leader for the Silage
Production project of PCC and DOST-PCAARRD, shares his
Laguna, Pangasinan, and Quezon. experience in corn silage production with attendees of the Pistang
Kalabaw in PCC, Nueva Ecija.
To process the corn silage, Cajucom adopted the corn silage
processing of 75-80 day-old corn plants into livestock feed.
This process allows him to easily prepare the silage on either
a small or commercial scale in any season without using
sophisticated equipment. Moreover, the corn silage’s quality needs about 25 to 30 kilograms (kg) of feeds in 24 hours for a
does not diminish over a long period of storage time. carabao weighing from 400 to 500 kg.

The market for corn silage is huge, says Cajucom. In the Not all farmers have access to open pastures where they can
Philippines alone, according to the Philippine Statistics let their carabaos graze; hence, the potential of corn silage
Authority, there are 2.86 million carabao heads as of July production. Currently, aside from Nueva Ecija, Cajucom sees a
2014. In a day, a farmer engaged in dairy carabao production demand from Quezon, Batangas, and Pangasinan.

54 VOLUME XXI DECEMBER 2017 AGRICULTURE MONTHLY


MONTHLY MAGAZINE

Agriculture
An Invitation To Contributors

We are inviting contributors


to write articles for Agriculture
Magazine. We want stories
about people in farming
who have practical and do-
able ideas. They could be
in the production of crops,
livestock and poultry, fisheries,
ornamental horticulture and
others.

Feature stories should be


However, he admits that he has also encountered some constraints in corn accompanied with appropriate
silage production, including the availability of corn seeds, varying cost of labor, color photos for more impact.
availability of water, and the availability of a forage chopper.
We also encourage experts to
Corn silage production won’t hinder regular corn production for food and poultry write how-to articles on various
feeds, as both can be a farmer’s form of livelihood. According to Cajucom, agri-topics. We are also looking
farmers can gauge where they can better profit by looking at the price of corn in
the market. for research results that could
be helpful to those engaged in
Cajucom shared his experience during the Pistang Kalabaw held at the national
headquarters of PCC at the Science City of Muñoz, Nueva Ecija. Pistang Kalabaw
any form of farming, small-scale
is part of the Farms and Industry Encounters through Science and Technology or otherwise.
Agenda (FIESTA), an initiative of DOST-PCAARRD. It is a technology transfer
modality that aims to bridge farmers and the micro, small, and medium-scale
industries through a science and technology-based platform. (ROSE ANN M. AYA, To those who wish their
THE PCAARRD MONITOR) manuscripts to be returned, if
not accepted, please enclose
a self-addressed envelope with
A forage chopper sufficient stamp. Manuscripts
(upper photo) is
used for chopping not accepted for publication
the corn plants without return postage will be
before these
are packed and disposed after one month. All
fermented for two original contributions exclusive
to three weeks.
to Agriculture Magazine will be
paid for at competitive rates.

Send your contributions to:

The Editor
Agriculture Magazine
Manila Bulletin Publishing Corp.
Muralla corner Recoletos St.
Intramuros, Manila
or at agriculture@mb.com.ph

AGRICULTURE MONTHLY VOLUME XXI DECEMBER 2017 55


SCIENCE-BASED

The SAFE Program on Disaster

DOST CORDILLERA Risk Reduction on Climate


Change Impacts on Agricultural
Farms in CAR is a multi-sectoral

LAUNCHES PROGRAM initiative spearheaded by the


DOST and DOST-Philippine
Council for Agriculture, Aquatic

ON CLIMATE CHANGE and Natural Resources Research


and Development (PCAARRD),
in partnership with the

ADAPTATION
Highland Agriculture, Aquatic
and Resources Research and
Development Consortium, and
the six participating state colleges
and universities (SUCs).

“On behalf of DOST Secretary Fortunato T. de la Peña, we are


TABUK, KALINGA– In an effort to address fully supporting the SAFE Program and he will be very happy
the negative impact of climate change and to know that the SUCs here in the Cordillera region are doing
implement science-based solutions to minimize research and development (R&D) to study ways to minimize the
its effects and ensure the viability of agricultural negative effects of climate change particularly in agriculture,”
programs, the Department of Science and said DOST-CAR Director Victor B. Mariano, who represented
Technology-Cordillera Administrative Region the DOST Secretary.
(DOST-CAR) launched the S&T Action Director Mariano added that research work that remains on
Frontline for Emergencies & Hazards (SAFE) shelves are useless. Thus the importance of the SAFE program
Program.The launch coincided with the is very obvious as it represents the results of R&D. This is the
recent celebration of the regional science and reason why the funding agency, DOST-PCAARRD, did not
technology week of DOST-CAR and was held hesitate to provide R43 million in assistance to the SUCs.
at the Kalinga State University-Main Campus in
Tabuk, Kalinga. Dr. Carlito P. Laurean, vice president for research and extension
of the Benguet State University and the program leader,

DOST-CAR Assistant Regional


Director for Technical Services
Dr. Nancy A. Bantog (at the
podium) leads the awarding of
financial assistance to the six
participating SUCs of the SAFE
Program recently launched at
the Kalinga State University.
SAFE stands for S&T Action
Frontline for Emergencies and
Hazards in the agriculture,
aquatic and natural resources
sector. Mayor Ferdinand B.
Tubban (seated, 4th from left) of
Tabuk City, Kalinga, welcomed
the participants.

56 VOLUME XXI DECEMBER 2017 AGRICULTURE MONTHLY


presented the components of the SAFE Program.
He explained how it will be implemented in the
six provinces of CAR to get the most benefits for
the farmers who are most vulnerable to, and at
risk of, climate change.

The SAFE Program has six project components,


including the one launched for Kalinga State
University, which focus on the different
conditions of the different provinces in CAR.
KSK GRADUATES HOLD
Project 1 is about Disaster Risk Reduction
Climate Change Impacts on Vegetable Farms in HARVEST FESTIVAL
Abra. The project will be implemented by the
Abra State Institute of Science and Technology
(ASIST), headed by Dr. Vicente A. Ato, and has TACLOBAN CITY - It was a fun-filled day as Batch 147 of SM
received funding of R6.991 million. Foundation’s Kabalikat sa Kabuhayan Farmers’ Training Program held
a harvest festival in Barangay 99, Diit, Tacloban City.
Project 2 is about Disaster Risk Reduction
Climate Change Impacts in Agricultural Farms As the season-long training program came to its culmination, 258
in Apayao Province, to be implemented by participants attended the harvest festival and related activities, all
the Apayao State College and headed by Dr. proud of what they have learned which they consider as tools to
Reymalyn C. Aman; the project has funding of sustainable farming and livelihood.
R6.289 million.
This is the second KSK Program in Tacloban intended for typhoon
Project 3, titled Disaster Risk Reduction Climate Yolanda survivors; the first one was held in Brgy. Imelda at a demo
Change Impacts on Vulnerable Terrace Farms in farm owned by UP. An earlier KSK Program in Tanauan, Leyte,
Benguet, is led by Dr. Carlito P. Laurean of the just a few months after typhoon Yolanda struck the region, was held
Benguet State University and has a total funding and participated in by residents of municipalities in Northern Leyte.
of R10.299 million. The seminars were held in an effort to give an immediate alternative
livelihood source to those who were affected by the typhoon.
Project 4 deals with Disaster Risk Reduction
Climate Change Impacts on Rice and Vegetable Among those who joined the farmers’ training program in Diit were
Farms in Ifugao and a funding of R6.109 million. 30 anti-drug advocates as part of their rehabilitation program. Other
It will be implemented by the Ifugao State activities aside from the harvest festival were a market orientation
University through Dr. Teresita D. Allig. for possible fresh vegetable suppliership to SM SaveMore Tacloban,
a cultural program, and a cooking contest using the vegetables
Project 5 is called Disaster Risk Reduction harvested.
Climate Change Impacts on Vulnerable Coffee
Farms in Kalinga, to be implemented under
the leadership of Dr. Robert A. Rodolfo of the
Kalinga State University. Funding for the project
is R6.312 million.

Project 6, titled Disaster Risk Reduction Climate


Change Impacts on Vulnerable Farms in
Mountain Province, will be implemented by the
Mountain Province State Polytechnic College.
The R7.097 million project is led by Elmer D.
Pakipac.

The launch was attended by DOST-Science


and Technology Information Institute Director
Richard P. Burgos; Gary Damian representing
Kalinga representative and vice chair of the
House Committee on Science and Technology
Allen Jesse C. Mangaoang; Tabuk mayor
Ferdinand B. Tubban; DOST-CAR director Victor
B. Mariano; supervising SRS Noel A. Catibog
representing DOST-PCAARRD executive director
Dr. Reynaldo V. Ebora; Benguet State University
president Dr. Feliciano G. Calora Jr.; Dr. Carlito Harbest Agribusiness president Arsenio ‘Toto’ Barcelona (in white shirt) leads
P. Laurean of Benguet State University and SAFE the harvesting of fruits and vegetables during the culmination of the Kabalikat
program leader; and Kalinga State University sa Kabuhayan Farmers’ Training program in Diit, Tacloban City. With him are
farmer-participants and representatives from SM Foundation, which is the primary
president Dr. Eduardo T. Bagtang. (RODOLFO P. proponent of the program, along with Harbest and local government units.
DE GUZMAN, S&T MEDIA SERVICE)

AGRICULTURE MONTHLY VOLUME XXI DECEMBER 2017 57


FROM PHILMECH

INTRODUCING A SIMPLE,
INEXPENSIVE, YET ACCURATE
COFFEE MOISTURE METER
THERE IS NOW a
simple, inexpensive,
yet accurate
coffee moisture
meter for green
coffee beans and
coffee parchment,
thanks to a project
funded by the
Philippine Council
for Agriculture,
Aquatic, and Natural
Resources Research
and Development
of the Department
of Science and
Technology (DOST-
PCAARRD).

Local coffee farmers, buyers, and processors need not varieties: Coffee Arabica, Coffee Liberica, and Coffee
employ the traditional, subjective, slow, destructive, and Canephora for both green coffee beans and coffee parchment.
costly way of moisture content measurement. Researchers This was the result of calibration experiments and validation
from the Philippine Center for Postharvest Development and tests conducted at PhilMech, Nueva Ecija.
Mechanization (PhilMech) have developed a better alternative
through the PCAARRD-funded project “Development of It is important to know the amount of moisture content in coffee
non-destructive moisture meter for green coffee beans and parchment and beans to maintain high cupping quality. Green
parchment coffee.” coffee beans with high moisture content (greater than 12 percent
wet basis) can deteriorate due to bacteria, mold, and yeast.
The research team, led by Engr. Arlene C. Joaquin of
PhilMech, in partnership with a local electronic company, On the other hand, coffee beans with less than 9 percent
made a prototype unit coffee moisture meter using a capacitive moisture will shrink and become distorted, making them appear
sensor oscillator circuit for both green coffee beans and coffee to be low quality beans. To ensure the best quality in coffee,
parchment. monitoring the beans’ moisture content at all times after it is
dried is necessary for it to command a better price at the time of
Joaquin, in a project report, indicated that the prototype sale. (BY OFELIA F. DOMINGO, DOST-PCAARRD S&T MEDIA
moisture meter is sufficiently accurate for three coffee SERVICE)

58 VOLUME XXI DECEMBER 2017 AGRICULTURE MONTHLY


PCAARRD-FUNDED

ELECTRONIC-BASED SENSOR
DEVICE MEASURES QUALITY
OF CACAO BEANS INSTANTLY
A NEW DEVICE that instantly measures the quality of freshness of cacao beans has been developed by the
Philippine Center for Postharvest Development and Mechanization (PHilMech) through a project funded by
the Philippine Council for Agriculture, Aquatic, and Natural Resources Research and Development of the
Department of Science and Technology (DOST-PCAARRD), based in Los Baños, Laguna.

The sensor The sensor device can also tell if the bean is adulterated
device is by assessing its water content and salinity. Programmable
portable and software does the measurement and shows the results in
easy to use. By a liquid crystal display similar to the kind used for laptop
just placing monitors.
a few drops
of the bean’s The cacao quality sensor and software were developed by the
watery mucilage research team led by Engineer Reynaldo P. Gregorio through
into the sensor the PCAARRD-funded project “Development of Sensor
receptacle, one Devices for Cacao Quality Measurement.”
can immediately
assess the This technology will be useful to suppliers, buyers of freshly
freshness of harvested cacao beans, and processors of chocolates. High
the harvested quality and good tasting chocolates come from quality, freshly
cacao bean harvested cacao beans. It is important that the raw materials
by measuring be assessed prior to processing. Cacao beans with high sugar
its sugar and content which have not exhibited the onset of fermentation
alcohol content. are regarded as high quality.

The use of a cacao quality sensor will encourage growers to


set better prices for their produce, as buyers will be assured
that the quality of the beans sold to them is within a desirable
range. Similarly, processors will benefit from using high
quality cacao beans as raw materials for chocolate processing.
The cacao beans
sensor developed This sensor has been tested in Davao and there are plans to
by PhilMech test it in other cacao-growing regions in the Philippines. This
researchers is to further ascertain its performance and accuracy. Patent
led by Engr. application for this technology is currently being arranged.
Reynaldo P. (BY OFELIA F. DOMINGO, DOST-PCAARRD S&T MEDIA
Gregorio. SERVICE)

AGRICULTURE MONTHLY VOLUME XXI DECEMBER 2017 59


ENDEMIC

A PHILIPPINE CHESTNUT THAT


PRACTICALLY NOBODY KNOWS
FROM DANILO TIU, we recently
received a report on his own research
about a Philippine chestnut that is
supposed to be found in many places
in the Philippines but which practically
nobody knows about.

This is the Talakatak, as it is supposed to be called


in Quezon and Camarines, but which is also known
by many other names in different places. The nut’s
taste and flavor are somewhat like the imported
Chinese castañas that is often available during the
Christmas season.

A few years back, at the Agri-Kapihan, the late


Ramon Tan brought some for us to taste. We liked
the fruit, but it is only at this time that we were
reminded of this endemic chestnut (found only in
the Philippines) when Danilo Tiu sent us what he
found in literature about Talakatak. Tiu is a UP
Los Baños graduate who is engaged in the plant
business.

Danny says that this native chestnut was first Talakatak, the Philippine chestnut, is somewhat like the Chinese castañas in taste
and texture. (Photo source: www.rarepalmseeds.com)
mentioned by Fr. Francisco Manuel Blanco (1778-
1845) in his “Flora de Filipinas” (1845) edition 2,
as Fagus philipensis of a specimen from Angat,
Bulacan. He noted that the natives sold the nuts as
far as Pasig then.
Danny writes that a vintage picture taken by David Fairchild during the
The plant was again mentioned by Sebastian Vidal Cheng Ho Expedition (1939-1940) showing the towering trunk of a tree
y Soler (1842-1889) in his “Revision de Plantas with a man standing below its base gave him an “awesome feeling” so he
Vasculares Filipinas” (1886) as Castanopsis had to get to see the plant to know it. He was brought there by Gerardo
philippinensis. He reassigned the plant to the Sales, a plant trader from Lucban, Quezon. Luckily, Danny says, some
Castanopsis genus and corrected or modified the Lucbanin and their foresters have found reasons to protect, conserve, and
spelling of the specific name from philipensis to maintain the climax species now in their municipality.
philippinensis, presumably in consonance with the
country name “Philippines.” Vidal was a Spanish In the course of his research for information about Talakatak, Danny says
forester and botanist with a particular interest in that it is widespread but never abundant. It is found in Malinao, Albay;
woody plants. different towns of Bulacan; Camarines in Bicol; Siniloan in Laguna;

60 VOLUME XXI DECEMBER 2017 AGRICULTURE MONTHLY


NEW LOOK

NEW ARS WEBSITE ENHANCES


ACCESS TO SCIENTIFIC INFORMATION
THE AGRICULTURAL RESEARCH SERVICE (ARS) launched a
newly designed website that improves access to information about ARS
research. The new site features mobile responsiveness allowing users
to better navigate and view information on both mobile and desktop
devices.

ARS maintains scientific information stemming from research


conducted by nearly 2,000 Federal scientists researching animal and
crop health, human nutrition, food safety, and natural resources. The
ARS website features more than 300,000 dynamic pages.

“This new design better showcases the research generated by our


scientists and allows us to better share ARS research findings that have
impacted our nation and our world,” said Paul Gibson, ARS Chief
Information Officer.

Visiting the site, one can learn the stories of ARS’s role in mass-
producing penicillin; in developing new crops like seedless grapes,
carrots, watermelon, and tomatoes; in preventing foodborne pathogens;
in developing low-fat cheese; and about countless other ARS
discoveries.

Notable new features added to the site include “I Want To,” “Trending
Topics,” and “ARS Research in Your State.” ARS has nearly 4,000
active research projects and more than 77,000 publications on its
website. The first two features make it easier to quickly find hot topics
from ARS’s vast research portfolio.

The new format also allows ARS to spotlight the Agency’s extensive
Image Gallery. These images document ARS scientists and research in
action and are available for download free to the public. O

Montalban and Antipolo in Rizal; Lucban, Quezon; Oriental We can now say that Talakatak is one plant that is
Mindoro; Nueva Vizcaya; Puerto Princesa in Palawan; awaiting serious study (research) by our agricultural
Buenavista near Jaro, Leyte; Samar; Agusan del Norte; North scientists and development for commercial production
Cotabato and Basilan. by farmers. Danny has a few plants but he observes that
they are very slow-growing. Well, one of the studies by
Danny reports that Talakatak is also known by many local names our researchers could focus on how to accelerate the
like Bating and Bayoktuan in Rizal; Takatak and Talakatak in growth of Talakatak plants. Aside from propagating by
Camarines and Quezon; Bayente Nueve in Tagbanua; Ulayan in seed, Danny has not read anything about multiplying by
Samar and Leyte; Lobian, paun-ngagan, tulakatak in Tagalog; asexual means.
and Philippine chestnut in English.
By the way, Danilo Tiu is an experienced researcher.
In his research, Danny observes that other than the identity and He was the assistant of Dr. Helen V. Valmayor in
descriptions, almost nothing is written about the plant. Which researching about Philippine orchids which were
leads him to ask: If the taste and texture is similar to the Chinese published in “Philippiniana Orchidiana.” This is an
castañas, why does it remain an unrecognized crop in the exhaustive volume on Philippine orchids which was
country? Why is the plant itself not known to many? published by the Eugenio Lopez Foundation. O

AGRICULTURE MONTHLY VOLUME XXI DECEMBER 2017 61


AERIAL APPROACH

DRONES COULD HELP CROP


MANAGEMENT TAKE OFF,
RESEARCH SHOWS
JACKSON, TENN. - Unmanned aerial systems
(UAS), commonly referred to as drones, could
help farmers determine if their crop is growing
satisfactorily, according to a recent study
conducted by University of Tennessee Institute of
Agriculture researchers.

The study evaluated the ability of a UAS to accurately and


precisely determine plant populations of cotton. Producers
routinely assess plant populations early in the growing season
to determine the state of their crop - and what management
decisions are needed to ensure an optimal harvest. This is most
often done by counting the number of plants within a selected
distance and repeating those counts in different locations
throughout the field to find an average.
Shawn Butler, a graduate student at the University of Tennessee College
“This traditional approach is reliant upon a highly uniform of Agricultural Sciences and Natural Resources, analyzes cotton research
plant population across the entire field and can be influenced plots from his laptop thanks to images obtained with an unmanned areial
by human bias,” says Shawn Butler, graduate student in the system (UAS), also called a drone. This research could help farmers
improve crop monitoring. (Photo by Ginger Rowsey)
University of Tennessee College of Agricultural Sciences and
Natural Resources. “Theoretically, an aerial approach could
provide spatially dense information on plant populations across
large areas quickly and remove human bias.”

For two years, researchers assessed plant stands of emerging “Based on initial results, the aerial imagery provided by either
cotton through manual counting and through images obtained RGB or multi-spectral sensors may be a sufficient tool to
from both digital and multi-spectral cameras mounted beneath improve accuracy and efficiency of plant stand assessment,”
a quad-copter. The quad-copter was flown at varying altitudes says Butler. “The most impactful difference to the end user
ranging from 30 to 120 meters. in deciding a method to use will be the cost between the two
camera systems.”
Of the two camera systems analyzed, the images produced
from the multi-spectral camera proved to be more accurate in “Crop monitoring is a big obstacle for many producers,” says
estimating plant populations, with a greater than 93 percent Tyson Raper, project leader and assistant professor with the UT
accuracy. However, researchers say the red, green, blue (RGB) Department of Plant Sciences. “We want to continue to evaluate
images produced by the less-expensive digital camera still tools and methodologies that have the potential to help farmers
looked promising, with a greater than 85 percent accuracy using overcome monitoring challenges, improve response time and
current methods and scripted programming. increase profitability.” (SCIENCEDAILY, 17 NOVEMBER 2017)

62 VOLUME XXI DECEMBER 2017 AGRICULTURE MONTHLY


AGRICULTURE MONTHLY VOLUME XXI DECEMBER 2017 63
RESEARCH

BREEDING RESISTANT CHICKENS


FOR IMPROVED FOOD SAFETY
A NEW TEST developed by Agricultural Research Service
(ARS) scientists in College Station, Texas, could make
it easier to breed pathogen-resistant chickens.

The test identifies roosters whose blood contains naturally high levels
of two key chemicals: cytokines and chemokines. These chemicals
mobilize the birds’ innate immune response, according to ARS
microbiologist Christi Swaggerty, in ARS’s Food and Feed Safety
Research Unit.

Using the new test, commercial poultry breeders can single out roosters
that have a strong immune response and use them to selectively breed
a more robust flock. Such resistance, especially during the birds’ first
week of life, may lower costs related to animal well-being and food
safety.

Protecting chickens from pathogens involves sanitation, vaccination,


biosecurity, and the use of antibiotics and other medications. But some
chickens have an especially robust and efficient immune response and
can resist pathogens, notes Swaggerty.

The researchers used the test to select roosters for breeding a line of
resistant broilers. They then exposed the resistant broilers to several
pathogens. They compared the resistant group to a group of susceptible It’s not a simple process to map and sequence the genome
broilers bred from roosters with low cytokine and chemokine levels. of an animal. Geneticist Hans Cheng and collegues at the
ARS Avian Disease and Oncology Laboratory used the DNA
of the Red Jungle Fowl line combined with that of a White
The published results showed that the susceptible broilers had more Leghorn chicken, similar to the one shown here, to create a
pathogens and signs of infection than the resistant group. Ultimately, genetic map of the chicken. ARS scientists are also mapping
such resistance could mean fewer pathogens remaining on birds at the the genomes of the pig, cow, and honey bee. (Photo by
processing plant and improved consumer safety, Swaggerty notes. Stephen Ausmus)

Swaggerty and her colleagues study the genetics of chickens’ resistance


to foodborne disease-causing pathogens, such as Salmonella and
Campylobacter. Some species of these two bacteria together cause 2 to 3
million U.S. cases of foodborne illness in consumers and 450-500 deaths For more information contact Jan Suszkiw, ARS Office of
annually. Communications. The Agricultural Research Service is
the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s chief scientific in-
Another poultry disease, coccidiosis, is caused by a single-celled house research agency. Daily, ARS focuses on solutions
parasite known as Eimeria. In the U.S., coccidiosis inflicts annual to agricultural problems affecting America. Each dollar
production losses of up to US$ 800 million, making this intestinal invested in agricultural research results in US$ 20 of
disease a significant threat to nearly 9 billion U.S. meat-type birds. economic impact.

64 VOLUME XXI DECEMBER 2017 AGRICULTURE MONTHLY


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68 VOLUME XXI DECEMBER 2017 AGRICULTURE MONTHLY