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Appropriate planting distance for malunggay determined

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A French author and entomologist named Jean Henri Fabre once said, “If there is one vegetable which is God-given, it is the haricot bean.” In the Philippines, with the continuing prominence of malunggay (moringa oleifera) due to its proven nutritive and medicinal values, most Filipinos will probably have an obvious choice.


Regarded as a miracle plant, malunggay has much commercial potentials, thus the need for a formal system for its commercial production. Incidentally, such a system is wanting in the Philippines. 


Acting on this concern, a group of researchers from the Bureau of Plant Industry (BPI) conducted a study to develop a malunggay foliage production technology. The study was conducted at the Central Luzon Integrated Agricultural Research Center (CLIARC) in San Miguel, Tarlac.


Using three planting distances (10 cm x 10 cm; 10 cm x 20 cm; 20 cm x 20 cm) and a common depth (2 cm), the study determined the effect of planting distances on the growth of malunggay for fresh herbage (vegetable) and tea herbage production.


Based on the study, after 60 days of transplanting, malunggay planted at a distance of 20 cm x 20 cm, produced the tallest plant and widest leaves. It also gave the highest income at P124,533/ha and the highest return of investment (ROI) at 40%, followed by the 10 cm x  20 cm planting distance at 11%.


The planting distances did not produce any significant differences though, on the length and number of leaves, stem girth, grown out shoots and the total of fresh herbage that is used for vegetable. 


Planting distances, however, proved to have significant effects in terms of herbage tea production. The 10 cm x 10 cm planting distance significantly yielded the highest produce at 3,308 kg over a 1-year period. Despite this yield, it gave a negative return of investment (ROI). The researchers attributed this to higher labor cost and farm inputs compared with other treatments. 


The 10 cm x 20 cm planting distance for herbage tea production gave the second highest produce at 3,077 kg, followed by the 20 cm x 20 cm planting distance at 2,937 kg.  


This and other information on research and development activities pertaining to the agriculture, forestry and natural resources (AFNR) sectors are featured in the 2009 Highlights.


A yearly publication of the Philippine Council for Agriculture, Forestry and Natural Resources Research and Development (PCARRD) Highlights presents research and development accomplishments of government institutions towards bringing better opportunities for our people especially in the countryside. Ricardo R. Argana, S&T Media Service

Written by tuklasinnatin

October 1, 2011 at 4:45 am

Region 2 ensures better health through improved vegetable production

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Much has been said about the benefits of eating vegetables-their antioxidants to stop certain cancers; fiber which makes the digestive system remain healthier and more toned; and the essential amino acids needed in most body processes, and even in the proper functioning of the brain.  However, only a few are fortunate to enjoy these natural benefits from eating vegetables due to a number of reasons. 


High prices especially during the rainy season, minimal use of hybrid varieties, poor quality of produce, and harsh weather contribute to erratic vegetable supply in  urban areas and eventually lead to low vegetable consumption. These inefficiencies affect not only farmers’ income but more so our health.  


Responding to this concern, a group of researchers from the Department of Agriculture in Region 2 implemented a project under the “Plant Now Pay Later” scheme.


Under the said scheme, farmers in Nueva Viscaya, Isabela and Cagayan were provided hybrid seeds and organic fertilizer with the hope that it could stabilize vegetable supply in urban areas of Region 2. It also aimed to make vegetables more affordable to consumers and increase awareness of the benefits of vegetable consumption.     

Farmer-recipients were trained on good agricultural practices (GAP) and acquainted with the nutritional benefits of eating vegetables.


With the project, areas planted to tomato, squash, ampalaya, eggplant, and carrots increased by 559.90 hectares (ha). This increased the volume of production by 5,550 tons. Consequently, with the use of hybrid seeds and organic fertilizer, net income increased at P82,936/ha from off-season planting of  tomato; P82,102/ha from ampalaya; P51,708/ha from  eggplant; P22,395/ha from squash, and P11,650/ha from carrot.


            The introduction of production programming and the use of hybrid varieties have stabilized the prices of vegetables in Region 2, as they were made available throughout the year. More importantly, it has provided a greater number of people in the area with better access to vegetables.


This and other information on research and development activities pertaining to the agriculture, forestry and natural resources (AFNR) sectors are featured in the 2009 Highlights.


A yearly publication of the Philippine Council for Agriculture, Forestry and Natural Resources Research and Development (PCARRD) Highlights presents research and development accomplishments of government institutions towards bringing better opportunities for our people especially in the countryside. Ricardo R. Argana, S&T Media Service

Written by tuklasinnatin

October 1, 2011 at 4:44 am

Jatropha curcas can be safely planted with other crops, research shows

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Farming for biofuels can be a profitable farming endeavor because of the ever increasing cost and demands for fossil fuels the world over.  It also presents other benefits to farmers as it can optimize the use of marginal lands, which are unproductive and underutilized for food production.


One of the most promising plants for biofuel farming is Jatropha curcas, locally known as ‘tubang bakod’.  J. curcas is fast becoming the most promising biofuel source with its reported more than 30% oil yiel.  Jatropha methyl ester (JME) was also found to be better than that of fossil fuel diesel and safer for the environment.


However, farmers and other concerned stakeholders of biofuel farming have been apprehensive about the danger of planting J. curcas alongside other crops as it might do harm to useful soil microbes or microorganisms that can contribute to agricultural productivity.  Useful microbes promote plant growth and development, protect crops from pests and diseases, and improve soil water retention.


According to a report, plant-based substances released by the various parts of J. curcas such as its leaves and roots produce allelophatic substance that has negative effects to soil bacteria along with other beneficial microbes such as Rhizobium and Vesicular Arbuscular Mycorrhiza (VAM) fungi, among others.


Therefore, researchers of the University of the Philippines Los Baños (UPLB) conducted a research study titled “Jatropha curcas: Impact on soil microbial relationship of the said components to determine the impacts of J. curcas on soil microbial populations and its response to mycorrhizal inoculation.


Findings of the study as reported to the Philippine Council for Agriculture, Forestry and Natural Resources Research and Development (PCARRD), revealed the impacts of J. curcas on major functional soil microbes (bacteria, fungi, and mycorrhiza) and jatropha’s responsiveness to beneficial soil microbes (VAM mycorrhiza fungi).


The study proved that jatropha did not hamper the production of functional groups of aerobic (those that can grow or live only in the presence of free oxygen), heterotrophs (organisms which feed on others), free-living nitrogen fixers, and pseudomonads microbes.

Also, the study showed that majority of data on microbial density comparisons indicate that J. curcas is not detrimental to most of the microorganisms examined.  Some results showed higher number of bacteria, other functional groups and fungi in Jatropha-planted soil and even stimulated VAM fungi sporulation under field conditions.


Further, J. curcas did not have any deleterious effect on mycorrhiza, one of the most beneficial soil microbes as exhibited by high percent root colonization and positive growth of J. curcas to VAM inoculation.


With these findings, the researchers said that the ability of J. curcas to thrive in poor conditions while simultaneously promoting mycorrhizal proliferation and other beneficial microbes in soil are the qualities that make J. curcas fit for biofuels production.  Bengie P. Gibe, S&T Media Service

Written by tuklasinnatin

October 1, 2011 at 4:43 am

“Flavors of science” recipes highlight PCARRD T2P

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Media practitioners and experts from the food industry were treated to sample the “Flavors of science” from the TechnoMart kitchen during a recent Technology to the People (T2P) activity of the Philippine Council for Agriculture, Forestry and Natural Resources Research and Development (PCARRD) held at the H2O Hotel, Manila Ocean Park.


T2P harnesses media in promoting the science and technology programs of the Council. TechnoMart, on the other hand, is responsible for bringing the products of research and development (R&D) from the lab to the market.


For the recently concluded T2P, dubbed as the “Flavors of science”, five products from the Council’s regional consortia were featured:  frozen durian and low glycemic index coco sugar of the Southern Mindanao Agriculture and Resources Research and Development Consortium, pili oil of the Bicol Consortium for Agriculture and Resources Research and Development, mango catsup and sauce of the Western Visayas Agriculture and Resources Research and Development Consortium, and the Highland Agriculture and Resources Research and Development Consortium’s strawberry preserve and spreads.


The aim of T2P is to bring the sources of agro-based business to the marketplace and reach the consumers through media advocacy and consultation with the industry players. As such, a demonstration on the use of the five food products in food preparations was conducted. Guests were served pizza and spaghetti in mango sauce and ketchup, vegetable salad with pili oil, strawberry tart, and frozen durian. After the taste test, guests were provided with a consumer satisfaction survey where they could write in their comments and suggestions to derive the information needed to improve the products and their acceptability in the market.


Media partners present during the event were correspondents of Diaryong Tagalog, DZXL, GMA TV News, Manila Newsweek, Mag-Agri Tayo of NBN Channel 4, Cook Magazine, Good Housekeeping, Business Mirror, Nutriganics, Greenfields, Manila Bulletin, UNTV, and Remate Online.


From the food industry, the Yellow Cab R&D team, and representatives from the Market Encounter Goes to Manila and Philippine Food Processors and Exporters, Inc. were in attendance. Rowell P. Cortes, S&T Media Service

Written by tuklasinnatin

October 1, 2011 at 4:42 am

DOST’s techno transfer programs back MSMEs

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“Micro small medium enterprises (MSMEs) have significant economic contribution, accounting for almost 32% of the Philippine gross domestic product ”, said Engr. Emelyn P. Flores, Assistant Regional Director for Technical Operations of the Department of Science and Technology (DOST) Region 6.


Flores spoke in one of the forums of the first regional Techno Gabay and TechnoMart Summit conducted by the Western Visayas Agriculture and Resources Research and Development Consortium (WESVARRDEC) held in Iloilo City recently.


According to Flores, three major programs comprise the medium-term component of the technology transfer and commercialization section of the 2002-2010 DOST National Science and Technology Plan. These are the Small Enterprise Technology-Upgrading Program (SET-UP), Technology Innovation and Commercialization (Technicom), and Techno Gabay Program (TGP).


Flores explained that SET-UP seeks to enhance the competitiveness of MSMEs through technology innovations while Technicom identifies technology gaps to facilitate interventions for technology commercialization. On the other hand, TGP, bannered by DOST-Philippine Council for Agriculture, Forestry and Natural Resources Research and Development (PCARRD), promotes science-based technology services to end-users in the agriculture, forestry and natural resources sectors.


Flores also reported that MSMEs represent 99.6 % of total business registered in the country and 92% of which are micro enterprises. MSMEs also employ 40 % of the total labor force nationwide.


“These significant figures attest why DOST supports MSMEs and enhances their competitiveness”, Flores emphasized.


“With priority concerns for natural fiber, fashion accessories, metals and engineering, furniture, horticulture, food processing, aquatic and marine, DOST offers provision of technology, technology training, technical consultancy and advisory services, support services for enterprise development, and laboratory and other testing services”, Flores said in closing. Isaac T. Abello, S&T Media Service, WESVARRDEC-RACE Staff

Written by tuklasinnatin

October 1, 2011 at 4:41 am

PCARRD and UPLB hold national technopreneurship conference

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Los Baños, Laguna – To provide a venue for sharing how entrepreneurship and technoprenuership can be cultivated in the youth by both private and public sector institutions, the Philippine Council for Agriculture, Forestry and Natural Resources Research and Development (PCARRD) and the University of the Philippines Los Baños (UPLB) recently hosted a National Technopreneurship Conference.


The conference was themed, “Strengthening agribusiness entrepreneurship through science and technology: Key to better place agriculture forestry and natural resources (AFNR) graduates”.


Held at the PCARRD Headquarters, the conference gathered experts from the academe, private higher education institutions (HEIs), state universities and colleges (SUCs), private sector, and non-government organizations as well as representatives from the Department of Science and Technology (DOST), Commission on Higher Education, Department of Labor and Employment, Department of Trade and Industry, Technology Application and Promotion Institute, and Philippine Council for Aquatic and Marine Research and Development.


PCARRD Executive Director Patricio S. Faylon opened the conference. He parted words of encouragement to the participants: to share their learnings not only among SUC implementers of PCARRD’s AFNR Program but also with private HEIs, the private sector, government- led agencies implementing entrepreneurship programs, and other stakeholders.


            The event included plenary sessions for presentation of entrepreneurship curricula, programs, and technopreneurial modalities; workshops on strategic directions for strengthening of technology-based agribusiness by various stakeholder representatives; and an exhibition of some AFNR-based technopreneurial enterprise products. The Aguinaldo Blend Coffee of the Cavite State University, Dairy Delights Cream Cheese of UPLB, sweet potato wine of the Visayas State University, coco sugar of the Western Mindanao State University, honey corn products of the Mariano Marcos State University were among the products exhibited.


Representing DOST Secretary Mario G. Montejo, the event’s keynote speaker, was DOST Assistant Secretary for Technology Transfer Ma. Lourdes P. Orijola.  


“Enhancing the demand for AFNR graduates through S&T is the biggest of DOST’s ongoing human resource development programs, reflecting the importance DOST places on the AFNR sectors”, Orijola quotes Montejo’s speech.


Orijola added that the challenges the implementers must face are determining the necessary and effective curricular changes in strengthening the science and technology business background of AFNR degree programs of SUCs and identifying the role of public-private partnerships in enhancing the demand for AFNR graduates.


Incidentally, the conference is one of the activities of the program on “Enhancing the demand for AFNR graduates through science and technology”, which was launched by PCARRD in 2008.  The program, now on its last year of implementation, was intended to improve AFNR curricula, and promote self employment and technology-based entrepreneurship (also known as technopreneurship) as a viable career option for AFNR graduates. April Rose A. Itchon, S&T Media Service

Written by tuklasinnatin

October 1, 2011 at 4:40 am

Dragon fruit boosts livelihood and ecotourism for Ilocos Norte

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Agri-based enterprises are often small operations with very little income. Often, this income isn’t enough to support the farm family throughout the year. Enter the dragon! Or rather the dragon fruit!


Dragon fruit is slowly gaining ground in the local market because of its health benefits and command for profit. Recognizing the potential of this fruit for enhancing livelihood and agri-based tourism, the Philippine Council for Agriculture, Forestry and Natural Resources Research and Development (PCARRD) and Ilocos Agriculture and Resources Research and Development Consortium (ILARRDEC) teamed up to establish a Science and Technology-based Farm (STBF) on organic production of dragon fruit.


This STBF is located on part of a 10-ha farm of Magsasaka Siyentista (MS) Edita Dacuycuy that also is being developed into an agro tourism site.  PCARRD and ILARRDEC effectively partnered with the “dragon fruit lady of the north”, who incidentally received the Department of Agriculture’s National Gawad Saka Award.


The STBF, one of the major modalities under PCARRD’s TechnoGabay Program, showcases the effectiveness of science and technology (S&T) interventions in improving productivity and income derived from specific commodities.


Specifically in Ilocos Norte, it aims to establish a chemical-free production technology for the dragon fruit, develop strategies to prolong its shelf life and promote the S&T interventions to at least 30 farmer-adopters in the community.


To ensure that production is organic, MS Dacuycuy is evaluating the effect of fruit bagging on the quality of the fruits as well as best methods to control pests and diseases. She also produces her own organic fertilizer to maintain the overall health of the soil and to reduce production costs.


Aside from seeking to improve fruit production, the STBF will ensure the production of planting materials to support expansion to other areas. In fact, MS Dacuycuy has been supplying planting materials to farmers from all over Ilocos Norte as well as to those from other provinces in Luzon and Mindanao. She also provides technical support to more than 30 other growers all over the province.


The speed at which dragon fruit has gained acceptance in Ilocos Norte can be attributed to several success factors. MS Dacuycuy herself is one of these. Always enthusiastic for the crop and passionate about sharing, she easily gets converts from among her audience.


Another factor is its promotion by the local government units and the ease with which the production technology is accepted. In fact, even elementary pupils are now dragon fruit producers and they have in turn, convinced their parents to start planting.


As part of its commitment in promoting the fruit nationwide, PCARRD is bringing its Technology to the People (T2P) in Ilocos Norte in time for Dragon Fruit Festival to be held on July 5-6.The T2P on dragon fruit will be held on July 6 in Dacuycuy’s farm located in Brgy. Paayas, Burgos, Ilocos Norte.


During the T2P, PCARRD Executive Director Patricio S. Faylon will be on hand to share with media PCARRD’s initiatives in the promotion of dragon fruit. As well, he will be sharing his thoughts on the direction for the commercialization of the fruit.


The growers of dragon fruit in the province prefer to call the dragon fruit Saniata, meaning light and wealth. As the self-envisioned Dragon fruit Capital of the North, Ilocos Norte, MS Dacuycuy and her REFMAD Farms, PCARRD and ILARRDEC will work together to ensure that the vision becomes a reality.  Butch Pagcaliwagan and Lily Ann Lando, S&T Media Service

Written by tuklasinnatin

October 1, 2011 at 4:37 am

Posted in Usapang Bukid


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