Wednesday, October 12, 2016

Tarlac cooperative turns misfortune into blessings through S&T and hard work

Farmers harvest “kinerots” variety of sweetpotato in Sapang, Moncada (Photo by ACD, PCAARRD)

The town of Ablang-Sapang, Moncada, Tarlac City has been an agricultural community, growing crops such as sweetpotato, corn, rice, turnips, and vegetables. However, in 1991, Mt. Pinatubo erupted, affecting the provinces of Pampanga, Tarlac, and Zambales. Farmers were devastated to find their crops buried in lahar.

Engr. Cesar L. Tabago, chief executive officer of Sapang Primary Multipurpose Cooperative (PMPC) said that this was unfortunate as the residents of Moncada, Tarlac rely on planting sweetpotato and other crops for their livelihood.

Three years after the eruption of Mt. Pinatubo, the lahar that buried their crops became a blessing to Tarlac’s farmers. According to the Tarlac College of Agriculture (TCA) Director for Research and Development Dr. Lilibeth Laranang, lahar mixed with the soil in the field made it sandy, the type of soil suitable for growing sweetpotato. The farm soil in Tarlac, according to Tabago, gave way to making the province as the largest commercial producer of sweetpotato in the country, with 5,600 hectares of field planted with the crop.

Tabago said that Sapang PMPC earns its revenues from fresh sweetpotato and dried sweetpotato chips. During harvesting, fresh sweetpotato gives them earnings of P325,000 from 250 sacks or 25 metric tons of sweetpotato in their more than 2,000-hectare farm.

Meanwhile, reject sweetpotatoes, which used to be left in the field to rot, are now turned into dried sweetpotato chips that can be processed as animal feed. Combined with its earnings from fresh sweetpotato, Sapang PMPC had its first purchase order for the year amounting to P30,200,000.

Sapang PMPC plants sweetpotato from August to March and harvests from November until June or July. Sweetpotato varieties Kinerots, Inubi, Super Taiwan, and Super Bureau are the four varieties that are planted in its 2,000-hectare farm.

In 2000, the Sapang PMPC was established primarily to manage the excess sweetpotato produce. Before the establishment of the cooperative, there was no alternative market big enough to absorb the excess sweetpotato, resulting to spoilage.

“Our forefathers who were also sweetpotato farmers, did not have information or linkages to make their farm productive. Today, with the help of TCA and with the Sapang PMPC, we can say, ‘may pera sa kamote,’” said Tabago.

TCA has been supporting the cooperative since its establishment by providing clean planting materials. This initiative was done 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): Promoting commercialization of sweetpotato clean planting materials (SP-CPM): support to the food and feed industry in Central Luzon.

Aside from clean planting materials, Tabago said soil preparation is key to having a bountiful harvest.

“We make sure that the soil is powdery by harrowing using a tractor 10 to 14 times. This increases our sweetpotato productivity,” he said.

Tabago highlighted the success story of Sapang PMPC during the sweetpotato field day/harvest festival of the Farms and Industry Encounters through the Science and Technology Agenda (FIESTA) organized by TCA in Sapang, Moncada, Tarlac.

FIESTA is DOST-PCAARRD’s technology diffusion strategy, which uses events to enhance agri-aqua technology transfer and commercialization.

Tuesday, October 11, 2016

Nutrient formulations for potato seed production using aeroponics being developed by IPB-UPLB

The Aeroponics setup at IPB-UPLB (Photo by the Crops Research Division, DOST-PCAARRD)

Nutrient formulations for the aeroponics system are being developed by the Institute of Plant Breeding of the University of the Philippines Los Baños (IPB-UPLB). The formulations are being used to produce cheaper and clean potato planting materials through aeroponics.

Once tested for its effectiveness, the nutrient formulations will help in producing potato seeds using aeroponics, a soilless method of producing potato seeds wherein plant roots are enclosed in a dark compartment. Aeroponics requires smaller space and potentially lower input costs like labor, nutrients, water, and chemical pesticides while producing more seeds relative to conventional seed production.

Aside from the nutrient formulations, systemic pesticides and root hormones were used to improve the capability of the system.

The nutrient formulations were outputs of the project, Potato seed production through aeroponics, which is being implemented by UPLB and the Department of Agriculture Region 10 – Northern Mindanao Agricultural Crops and Livestock Research Complex (DA 10-NMACLRC) and funded by the Philippine Council for Agriculture, Aquatic and Natural Resources Research and Development of the Department of Science and Technology (DOST-PCAARRD).

The project is targeting a yield of 40 mini tubers/plant, which is five times higher than that of the conventional method, which only produces eight mini tubers/plant. The current productivity in UPLB is 15 mini tubers/plant; 19 mini tubers/plant in Benguet State University (BSU); and 27 mini tubers/plant in the DA 10-NMACLRC.

Monday, October 10, 2016

Bacterial crown rot-tolerant papaya being developed in ACIAR-PCAARRD project

Dr. Pablito M. Magdalita (left) discusses the potential bacterial crown rot (BCR)-tolerant lines inside a screen house of IPB-UPLB (Photo by the Crops Research Division)
Papaya plants tolerant to bacterial crown rot (BCR) are being developed in a project funded by the Australian Centre for International Agricultural Research and the Philippine Council for Agriculture, Aquatic and Natural Resources Research and Development of the Department of Science and Technology (DOST-PCAARRD).

During a visit at the Institute of Plant Breeding (IPB) of the University of the Philippines Los Baños (UPLB), researchers of the project examined the potential BCR-tolerant lines grown inside the screen house. New stems, termed as regrowth, appeared in some of the infected plants two to three months after complete collapse of the crown of the test plants that were treated with the BCR pathogen.

According to Dr. Pablito M. Magdalita of UPLB, the occurrence of regrowth as a form of tolerance to bacterial crown rot is a promising technology in identifying papaya selections tolerant to BCR.

The project, Integrated disease management strategies for the productive, profitable and sustainable production of high quality papaya fruit in the southern Philippines and Australia, is being implemented by the University of the Philippines Los Baños (UPLB), Bureau of Plant Industry (BPI), and Del Monte Philippines.

BCR causes the leaves of the papaya plant to turn yellow and eventually die. It causes discoloration and water-soaking of the stem and crown of the plant. The disease has affected many parts of Southern Philippines.

Dr. Nanditha Pathania, collaborating scientist from the Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry in Queensland, discussed the process in generating the potential BCR-tolerant lines.

A joint project review was also conducted between IPB-UPLB researchers and DOST-PCAARRD staff. During the review, Dr. Magdalita explained that the 58 new papaya accessions screened for BCR resistance in Tranca, Bay, Laguna have remained uninfected since December 2014.

Dr. Magdalita discussed the different activities relative to the development of papaya genotypes that are resistant or tolerant to BCR: purification and advancement of BCR tolerant lines; hybridization of BCR with PRSV tolerant lines; selection of new BCR tolerant lines; and natural screening for BCR resistance, acquisition of seeds, and preparation of seedlings for third batch of screening.

Dr. Pathania recommended to look at the relationship between time of field planting and BCR incidence. She also suggested to test for lignified tissues at different parts of the plant to identify the part most vulnerable to bacteria, especially with factors that influence bacterial growth such as cold weather, rainfall, and wind that could damage the tissues.


Tuesday, October 4, 2016

Drawing the Young to Farming

Drawing the Young to Farming
By: Cielito F. Habito

WE MAY have a relatively young work force, but the average age of farmers in the Philippines is 57. All over the world, farmers are similarly aging. In Japan, the average farmer is much older at 67, while for Kenya it is 60, the United States 58, and China 55.

In Barangay Carangcang in the town of Magarao, Camarines Sur, a farmer recently lamented how his children no longer help in the farm: “Tinatamad na dahil nakapag-aral” and “Pag inutusan mo, hawak cell phone” (“He has become lazy because he got educated,” and “If you ask him to do anything, he can’t put down his cell phone”). Japan now resorts to robotic farming even as it tries to educate its youth on agriculture. Other countries import labor. That the youth are increasingly drawn away from farming is something we should all worry about.

Director-General Jose Graziano da Silva of the Food and Agriculture Organization, in his address to its general assembly last May, asserted: “Farmers are responsible for providing the food we all eat… [and] as custodians of the environment, they help preserve and sustain our natural resource.” Farmers are valuable, as they play multiple vital roles in society. But those in the next generation are increasingly unwilling to assume these roles, given how farming has become generally unattractive as an occupation. Societies all over the world have traditionally considered farming a lowly job that involves hard labor, and associated mainly with the poor. In the Philippines, it has become a thankless job that commonly pushes workers to even worse states of poverty.

With generally rising incomes and modernizing lifestyles, young people shun their fathers’ farm plots in favor of work cubicles in the cities where they see pay to be not only better but also more certain. Over the past decades, enrollment in our agriculture colleges and schools has dwindled nationwide. In Los Baños, where the University of the Philippines’ second largest campus used to have agriculture as its primary course offering, a point came when many in the College of Agriculture faculty had no courses to teach and had to focus entirely on research.

The reluctance of young Filipinos to take up farming is easy enough to understand. Aside from the difficulty of the work, there is also the uncertainty in returns, especially due to weather. Farmers have always been the first and worst affected by the adverse effects of climate change. Whether rising temperatures, shifting seasons, El Niño droughts or La Niña floods, there is sure to be some negative impact on the farmers’ output, hence their earnings. Particularly vulnerable are rice farmers who are already at a disadvantage because of our country’s geography and position on the typhoon belt. The recent El Niño delayed the planting season by more than an entire cropping season. Used to the seasonality of their livelihood, the farmers of Carangcang said they got by with odd jobs like construction, beadwork, and cooking.
Experience in Africa offers hope and perhaps a few lessons. There, young professionals are reported to have left their city jobs and are making a difference in farms. Reasons vary. South African Dimakatsu Nono, 34, wanted to make meaningful change. Emmanuel Koranteng could not resist the draw of his father’s farm. Others are taking advantage of new technologies and the increasing unmet demand for food in the continent. Young people make their entry in the sector all over the agricultural value chain, but even those who have taken to tilling the land do it quite differently from their parents. Nono, for example, has introduced stricter bookkeeping, beginning by literally counting cows as her parents never really knew how many animals they had. AgriHub Nigeria CEO Aderonke Aderinoye gathered data on her farms and used that data not only to optimize her own yield, but also to give advice to other farmers on how to improve theirs. Harvard-trained Calestous Juma suggests a rebranding of farming as “agribusiness” or “agri-entrepreneurship” to focus not on the labor but on the technology, innovation, and business principles that are involved. Indeed, it was the agribusiness course that UP Los Baños pioneered, which drew many students even from affluent families during my own college years there.

There is appeal for the young in being able to apply modern tools and techniques, especially information technology, to an occupation that has traditionally bred poverty, and transform it into a lucrative one. The other new twist comes from the wealth-creating opportunities that have opened as farmers find their place in domestic and cross-border value chains. Closer regional integration via the Asean Economic Community has made it much easier for processed Philippine fruits to find their way into the erstwhile uncharted markets of Myanmar (Burma) and Cambodia, for example. In Muslim Mindanao, production of halal products presents much promise in view of Asean being a dominantly Islamic market, and rapidly growing Islamic markets worldwide. Organic farming is a lucrative niche market that the Carangcang farmers are beginning to cash in on. But they continue to be hampered by the same inadequacies in infrastructure and other support that farmers elsewhere in the country face as well.

Our agriculture challenge now is not simply about assisting farmers raise productivity. It’s more about providing the proper environment to attract new and young people to transform an erstwhile unattractive occupation into the exciting new field of agri-entrepreneurship, whose domain extends well beyond the farm itself.


Monday, October 3, 2016

ACIAR and DOST-PCAARRD address mango production’s pre- and postharvest diseases

Experimental mango trees at the orchard of USeP in Tagum City were prepared for the trial on the effect of endophytic fungi for the control of pre- and postharvest diseases such as anthracnose and stem end rot (Photo by Allan B. Siano)
The Philippine mango industry has been thriving both in the local and international markets, with production as high as 783,225 metric tons combined for mangoes, mangosteens, and guavas in 2012, according to the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) of the United Nations. The Philippine ‘Carabao’ mango is also one of the best varieties in the world. However, pre- and postharvest diseases such as anthracnose and stem-end rot hinder mango production in the country.

To address this, the Australian Centre for International Agricultural Research (ACIAR) and the Philippine Council for Agriculture, Aquatic and Natural Resources Research and Development of the Department of Science and Technology (DOST-PCAARRD) funded the project, Research and development of integrated crop management for mango production in the southern Philippines and Australia.

During a field monitoring at the University of Southeastern Philippines (USeP), Tagum City, the Crops Research Division (CRD) of DOST-PCAARRD has identified experimental mango trees to test the effect of endophytic fungi for the control of pre- and postharvest diseases in mango.

Aside from the experimental trees, the Office of the Provincial Agriculture of Davao del Norte is implementing mango canopy and fertilizer management trials at the Davao del Norte Mango Research and Extension Center in Samal island.

“It is my first time to see our mango trees bear fruits after six years of managing this orchard,” said Mark Jumao-as, a farmer.

The CRD team, headed by its Director, Dr. Jocelyn E. Eusebio, also monitored the mango project site at the SPAMAST orchard in Buhangin, Malita, Davao del Sur. The experimental trees in the orchard are being prepared as a parallel trial on canopy and fertilizer management.

The project aims to address challenges on mango yield and quality through the adoption of an Integrated Crop Management. Project deliverables include a set of “best practices” that will be disseminated to farmers and capacity building among extension workers and scientific staff to help in crop management.

The project is being implemented by the University of Southern Mindanao (USM), University of the Philippines Los Baños (UPLB), USeP, Southern Philippines Agri-business and Marine and Aquatic School of Technology (SPAMAST), and the Office of the Provincial Agriculture of Davao del Norte and Davao del Sur.


Friday, September 30, 2016

DA sets P200-M credit line for poorest farmers

The Department of Agriculture (DA) has allocated an initial funding of P200 million for a credit system focusing on farmers and fisherfolks of the country’s top 10 poorest provinces.

The DA launched the Program for Unified Lending to Agriculture (PUNLA) that will provide non-collateralized loans for agri-fishery production and agri-micro finance.
“This is part of the government’s effort to provide trouble-free services to rural communities, as we want to make things easier for them,” Agriculture Secretary Emmanuel Piñol said.

Piñol said the current credit system is not entirely convenient for farmers as it has too many requirements.

Agricultural Credit Policy Council (ACPC) executive director Alma Badiola said borrowers may avail of up to P150,000 loan at an interest rate of six percent with one-year maturity. 

The loan will be made available thru farmers’ organizations, cooperatives or non-government organizations.

Bandiola said an institutional capability building training would be provided to conduits prior to the approval and release of loans “to enable them to implement the credit system effectively.”

An insurance coverage under the Philippine Crop Insurance Corp. will also be made available.

The program will be implemented in Apayao, Negros Oriental, Zamboanga del Norte, Lanao del Sur, Cotabato, Saranggani, Maguindanao, Eastern Samar, Western Samar, and Northern Samar – the country’s top 10 poorest provinces based on the latest data from the Philippine Statistics Authority.

The department’s focus on the country’s top 10 poorest provinces is in line with the Duterte’s administration thrust of increased food production and poverty alleviation.
Through a strategy called Special Area for Agricultural Development (SAAD), Piñol said the DA would look at the weaknesses of an area, its potentials in food production and provide livelihood programs.


Wednesday, September 28, 2016

Itik Pinas with Private Sector Cooperation to Revive Duck Industry

Three types of Itik Pinas (IP) (left to right) IP-Itim, IP-Kayumanggi, and IP-Khaki (Photo by the Livestock Research Division (LRD), DOST-PCAARRD)

It used to be that there was itik and pato. The difference lies in the color. Those from Pasig, Taguig and Pateros know how it is to raise ducks. In fact, that was the reason that they did not leave their homesteads even though it was perennially flooded. The main industry was boat-building and duck raising.

It has now arrived as a sunset industry in these areas because the natural habitat of the ducks have been encroached upon by residential, commercial and even industrial establishments. The areas of duck raising has decreased significantly and has resulted in lesser duck yields.

In cognizance of this, the Department of Science and Technology has come up with a solution not only arresting the decline but to boost the duck industry.

A new breed of duck is poised to improve the Philippine duck industry anchored on the support of the private sector.  

Launched during the National Science and Technology Week (NSTW), Itik Pinas (IP), a genetically superior breeder duck, improves the egg-laying performance of the Philippine Mallard Duck from 55 to 70% per year with an egg weight of 65 grams, which is suited for balut processing. 
The Philippine Council for Agriculture, Aquatic and Natural Resources Research and Development of the Department of Science and Technology (DOST-PCAARRD) is optimistic that with IP, the Philippine duck industry can be improved, especially with strengthened linkages with the private sector.

A Duck commodity research and development (R&D) review and stakeholders consultation meeting was thus held recently at the office of the Department of Agriculture-Bureau of Animal Industry (DA-BAI) for this purpose. 

Attended by technology developers, commercial raisers, farm owners, a faculty from the Asian Institute of Management (AIM), and a private animal nutritionist expert, the review and consultation meeting aimed to assess present endeavors and identify future initiatives on Itik Pinas.

Through the meeting, DOST-PCAARRD has given the private sector an opportunity to comment on the project and provide suggestions on marketing and packaging of the product.

“The government will not only regulate the duck industry but also position itself to develop enabling technologies, strategies, and policies,” said Dr. Synan S. Baguio, officer-in-charge of the Livestock Research Division (LRD), DOST-PCAARRD.

“We will also seek the guidance of the private sector in establishing specialized laboratories like the Swine Genetic Analytical Service Laboratory,” Dr. Baguio added. 

Developed under the project, Development of Sustainable Breeder Philippine Mallard Duck Production System, IP, as an innovative technology in duck raising, aims to address the problem of the lack of quality breeders and continuous increase in production cost.

IP consists of three types: IP-Itim, IP-Khaki, and IP-Kayumanggi. 
IP-Itim lays larger eggs at more than 65 g each. It has black plumage and white feather markings in the neck and orange to brown shank.

IP-Khaki produces more eggs as it shows the highest number of eggs within a 40-week laying period. The male has a brown plumage and darker brown pattern in the head, while the female has plain brown plumage. 

Lastly, IP-Kayumanggi lays more, bigger eggs. It has plain plumage and small body at 1.2 kg.


Tuesday, September 27, 2016

Organic fertilizer from seaweed drippings boosts plants’ yield

KD fertilizer is derived from the drippings of Kappaphycus alvarezii, a species of red alga (Photo by Erwin Valencia, Applied Communication, DOST-PCAARRD)

True to its   status as an agri-business, marine and aquatic institution, a school in Southern Philippines has explored one of the many benefits of seaweed by converting it to an organic foliar fertilizer.  

Developed by the Southern Philippines Agri-Business and Marine and Aquatic School of Technology (SPAMAST), the fertilizer is derived from the drippings of Kappaphycus alvarezii, a species of red alga.  

Kappaphycus Drippings or KD Foliar Fertilizer, which is 100% organic, has proven to increase the yield of rice, baby corn, soybean, mungbean, sweet pepper, cauliflower, mango, pechay, and orchid. The fertilizer has proven to promote enhanced growth in terms of height and diameter as well as enhance seed germination. When used for pechay, it increased the number of its leaves and leaf area index.    

A kilo of Kappaphycus seaweed can yield up to 650ml liquid fertilizer. It contains nutrients that contribute to soil fertility, including nitrogen, phosphorous, potassium, calcium, magnesium, copper, zinc, iron and manganese. 

The recommended rate of application is 20ml of KD per liter of water, which can be sprayed directly and generously to the plant early in the morning or late in the afternoon.
Drippings of the Kappaphycus seaweed contain nutrients that contribute to soil fertility, including nitrogen, phosphorus, potassium, calcium, magnesium, copper, zinc, iron, and manganese. Foliar fertilizers are directly applied on the plant’s leaves, which absorb nutrients through its stomata and epidermis.

“KD Foliar Fertilizer can provide fisherfolk with additional livelihood,” Graciella Caballero of SPAMAST said.

“With a kilo of seaweed, a large plastic bag, and direct sunlight, a fisherfolk can generate 650ml of liquid fertilizer, which can be sold for P75 a liter,” Caballero added.

SPAMAST is a member of the Southern Mindanao Agriculture, Aquatic and Natural Resources Research and Development Consortium (SMAARRDEC), one of the consortia established by the Philippine Council for Agriculture, Aquatic and Natural Resources Research and Development of the Department of Science and Technology (DOST-PCAARRD).      

The KD Foliar Fertilizer technology is one of those on display at the Davao Agriculture Trade Expo (DATE).

Geared towards the development of the agriculture industry in Davao Region, the three-day event is held from September 22-24, 2016 at SMX, SM Lanang Premier.

DATE 2016 features Mindanao’s golden crops and is packaged to cover the basic aspects of  a successful agriculture extending beyond production to cover financing, processing, marketing, and even exporting.

DATE 2016 also highlights the first ever-agri marketing conference on Sept 23 to provide a venue for business matching and networking and to link agri-traders, businessmen, and consumers.


Friday, September 23, 2016

DOST-PCAARRD project beneficiaries from Brgy. Bagong Silang report better vegetable produce

Women farmers bag bitter gourd (left) and water eggplants (right) (Photo by Rose Anne K. Mananghaya, ACD)
Farmer-cooperator and President of Barangay Bagong Silang farmers association Louie Carollo reported that vegetables grown organically yield bigger produce compared with vegetables grown using commercial fertilizers and pesticides. Carollo is one of the beneficiaries of the project, Gender-Responsive Organic Vegetable Production Livelihood Enterprise for Low-Income Communities of Los Baños, Laguna, which started in July 2015.

The project is funded by the Philippine Council for Agriculture, Aquatic and Natural Resources Research and Development of the Department of Science and Technology (DOST-PCAARRD) and implemented by the local government unit (LGU) of Los Baños in cooperation with the Bureau of Plant Industry – Los Baños National Crop Research, Development, and Production Support Center (LBNCRDC).

Carollo also shared his experience in the Friday organic market organized by the LGU, where they were able to sell all their produce as early as noontime.

“We were surprised with the customers’ interest during the Friday organic market which is different from before when we had to drastically lower our prices just to sell all our produce,” Carollo said in Filipino.

Farmers of Barangay Bagong Silang grow organic Filipino bokchoy or pechay, mustard greens, sponge gourd, squash, eggplant, bittergourd, tomato, pepper, garlic, lettuce, and cucumber. A concrete rainwater catchment was set up in the farm vicinity as part of the project.

Women played significant role in the Barangay Bagong Silang communal farm. They do the planting, watering, weeding, bagging of bittergourd with nets to prevent damage from pests, and harvesting. Men, on the other hand, prepare the land for planting and transport their harvest for selling. Women also sell their produce in the Friday organic market at the LGU-Los Baños office.

Aside from Barangay Bagong Silang, the project identified barangays Timugan, Putho-Tuntungin, Bambang, and Malinta as beneficiaries. LGU-Los Baños considers organic vegetable production as potential livelihood for low-income communities as it provides growers with regular and continuous source of food and cash for the residents’ basic needs.

This project focuses on empowering women to engage in sustainable production of organic vegetables using science-based technologies. This initiative involves capacity building for farmer-cooperators and project implementers, particularly the LGU; provision of structures for organic seed production; creating and implementing a municipal ordinance ensuring the continuity of the project with permanent fund allocation; and support to a trading post or permanent local market outlet or “bagsakan” of organic produce.


Wednesday, September 21, 2016

Manual offers higher milkfish fry production through better larvae feeding techniques

Poor larval feeding has been linked to the low production of milkfish fry in hatcheries in the Philippines. To be able to boost the production of milkfish fry, the University of the Philippines (UPV) has released a manual on Improved Milkfish Hatchery Management and Production Techniques. The manual offers improved protocols and techniques for high density larval rearing, which can increase milkfish fry production by 200 to 300%. The manual involves techniques such as increased feeding, use of flow-through system, probiotics, and nutritional enrichments for rotifiers (Brachionus sp), which is a staple food for milkfish larvae.

The manual will help the Philippines’ annual requirement for milkfish fry, which currently is at a 54% deficit. Although the country has enough milkfish hatcheries and broodstock, the country is still importing milkfish fry from Indonesia.

The manual provides a protocol for larval rearing of milkfish at 50 larvae per liter from the newly hatched larvae to harvesting of fry. The system ensures higher fry production through continuous introduction of live algal concentrates as food for rotifiers, application of probiotics in the rearing water to prevent the occurrence of red bacterial infection, and use of commercially available products with phospholipids, which provide improved nutrition for the rotifers.

Using high density larval culture, a hatchery can produce 150,000 to 200,000 fry compared with the current production of 60,000 to 80,000 fry in 10-tonner larval tanks. At eight nursery cycles and 30-40% survival, the 12 million fry is attainable annually. An annual return on investment of 68% makes this business highly profitable with a payback period of 1.3 years.

The manual was prepared by the UPV research team headed by UPV professors Dr. Jerome Genodepa, Dr. Rex Ferdinand Traifalgar, Dr. Valeriano Corre, Jr., and Research Assistants Josette Emlen Genio  and Hannah Mae Pasaquian. It is an output of the DOST-funded project, Improvement of milkfish hatchery technology through food enrichment and bioencapsulation under the DOST-PCAARRD-coordinated Milkfish R&D Program.

Tuesday, September 20, 2016

"Sustainability: A Farmer's Perspective" by Enzo Pinga

In recent years the word sustainable has walked into the territory of watered-down buzzwords. It has risen to become a main topic of discussion in numerous conferences, multilateral talks, political agendas, etc. But what does it even mean? Am I being sustainable if I recycle? Sustainable has replaced boring, buttoned-up words such as profitable, green or ‘long-term’. It is the new sexy, in danger of losing its avant-garde status by being the apple of everyone’s eye.

So what has prompted the theme of sustainability to be so mainstream? I am inclined to say that on a global scale, growing recognition of continuing down this current path has brought about fears of leaving a future where our descendants are worse off. The need for an alternative to how the world advances has brought about hope and innovation. Business has been the single-biggest creator of value that mankind knows. And what other way is there for the human race to leverage and move forward with?

In the past, sustainability may have been described as ‘hippie-talk’ or unrealistic, unfit for the current state of the world. This is now gaining increasing influence on the global political and economic agenda as evidenced by high-powered meetings such as the COP21 meeting. One can point to rapid industrialization as the culprit to our woes. The earth is continuously being destroyed by the footprint that mankind leaves behind to serve our “needs”, rapidly depleting and polluting natural resources.

Agriculture is not an exception to the rule. Farming is big business as everyone needs food to survive. Agriculture has allowed our species to evolve from hunter-gatherers to establishing civilizations. The industrialization of agriculture has wreaked havoc on the environment, killing forests, soils and bodies of water.

With a rapidly growing population, food production must increase with it. The population is expected to increase to 9.5 billion people by 2050, with most of them living in cities. This growth necessitates a 60% increase in food production based on current demand. This is a staggering number because, as it stands, agriculture accounts for a third of the world’s greenhouse gas emissions and uses two-thirds of the world’s freshwater resources.

Industrial farming kicked-off post World War II where bomb-making factories switched to the manufacturing of fertilizers to serve a population devastated by war. These initiatives were further pushed by the Green Revolution of the 1970’s promoting industrial agriculture as the solution to global hunger with the use of chemical inputs. Has it been successful? In a way, certainly. These methods have helped produce more food than we can consume. However, this feat does not come without a cost.

Industrial farming relies heavily on chemical inputs, oil, GMOs, and unnecessary transport of food across the planet. Interestingly, it is the small-scale farmers that are responsible for 70% of the food we consume globally, and not the large-scale industrial farms.

Here are some more astounding numbers. Out of 7 billion people, 795 million go hungry everyday while we waste one-third of the food that is produced. The world produces enough food for everyone but it does not get to all of those in need.

Solving food security is not as easy promoting more small-scale farmers. Industrial agribusiness will not simply disappear. We need to find ways to make their practices more effective through partnership and prevent the colonization of food production and distribution. In order for small-scale farmers to be at the forefront of the transformation in agriculture, granting access to support is necessary to overcome the challenges they face.

Sustainable farming practices call for the increase in soil carbon content, the optimal use of organic and inorganic fertilizers, international trade reform, land management for crop and livestock production, the reduction of food waste, a change in dietary patterns, to name a few. Only then can agriculture be less resource-hungry in an increasingly scarce world, work to regenerate lands, natural resources and ensure proper health and nutrition for mankind.

This post is part of a blog series promoting Open Collaboration for East Asia New Champions (OCEAN) Summit 2016 in Bohol on November 24-26, 2016, with the theme: The Future of Industry and Impact. There will be a session on Sustainability at the Heart of Business: How to Innovate Responsibly. To know more and participate, go to

"Is Disruption All It's Cracked Up To Be?" by Lionel Belen

It was Clay Christensen, a professor at Harvard Business school, that coined the term disruptive innovation. Since then, it has become one of the most commonly used ideas in the tech startup community, to the point that it has entered the mainstream.

Disruption or disruptive innovation, Christensen proposed in his case studies, was what happened when small startup companies developed new innovative solutions or discovered unserved or underserved markets that allowed them to topple their bigger, more established rivals. (Check out: The Innovator’s Dilemma 1997, Seeing What’s Next 2004)

One great example of this would be between Amazon and Borders. Amazon, which started as an online bookstore in 1994, is today one of the world’s most valuable companies, selling all sorts of goods (not just books) to consumers. In 2015 it surpassed Walmart as the most valuable retailer in the United States based on market capitalization, and today its revenues surpass a hundred billion dollars. On the other hand, Borders, which was established in 1971, had at its peak almost 20,000 employees and more than 1,300 stores around the world, but in 2011 filed for bankruptcy.

You might wonder: How did Amazon beat a rival with a 20-year headstart?

Many would refer back to Christensen’s thesis and say that Borders was disrupted - that Amazon had learned how to develop and offer a better solution - e-commerce, a better business model; online payments and customer fulfillment; and even access to more customers and new markets.

Yet, as enticing as disruption is as an idea and management theory, it’s just one of many theories and frameworks out there.

In an article published in The New Yorker, entitled, “The Disruption Machine”, author Jill Yore offers a great rebuttal (and overview of such arguments) against Christensen’s thesis of disruption.

She makes three main points. The first point implicitly stated is that there are other theories and frameworks such as Michael Porter’s Competitive Advantage. To add, I would also put forward his other theory of The 5 Forces.

Michael Porter’s 5 Forces
 Competitive advantage, put simply, is where a company succeeds and beats its competitors either by being the cheapest and having the lowest costs, or by being the most different/differentiated. The 5 Forces, meanwhile, attests to the role of external factors - like suppliers, new entrants, substitutes, buyers, and industry rivals - and the degree of influence or ability of a company to manage these factors in order to survive.

Arguably, both theories also fit the Amazon and Borders example. Amazon was an innovative business model - but at the end of the day, it might have boiled down to the competitive advantage of being cheaper and differentiated compared to borders. And who is to say Borders just couldn’t manage against external forces better than Amazon? After all, theories wouldn’t be theories if they weren’t widely applicable.

The second point Yore makes is that within the many examples or cases that Christensen identifies to prove his theory, there are many inconsistencies as well.

“...Seagate Technology was not felled by disruption. Between 1989 and 1990, its sales doubled, reaching $2.4 billion, “more than all of its U.S. competitors combined,” according to an industry report. In 1997, the year Christensen published “The Innovator’s Dilemma,” Seagate was the largest company in the disk-drive industry, reporting revenues of nine billion dollars. Last year [2013], Seagate shipped its two-billionth disk drive. Most of the entrant firms celebrated by Christensen as triumphant disrupters, on the other hand, no longer exist, their success having been in some cases brief and in others illusory. [emphasis mine] (The fleeting nature of their success is, of course, perfectly consistent with his model.) “

The last point Yore makes in her article is simple yet poignant. While many wish to use as a means to predict the next big thing, Christensen’s framework stands better as an explanation of the ultimate success or failure of companies. At best, it is a pattern seen in retrospect and not a predictor of the future.

Instead of looking at disruption as the “end all and be all” for companies in this age of technology and information, I think what’s most important is to consider what is at the essence and heart of these concepts. That…
  • Today the world is changing faster than it has ever been before. With this rapid change comes change in the business conditions and the needs of customers;
  • That the challenges faced by companies is to adapt and keep pace with these changes while solving their customer's problems most effectively and efficiently.

With everything said, the aforementioned theories and cases lead to one fundamental point: He/she who makes the most customers happiest, fastest and in the most efficient way possible wins the day. And, ultimately, all businesses or business owners should already know this.

This post is part of a blog series promoting Open Collaboration with East Asia New Champions (OCEAN) Summit 2016 in Bohol on November 24-26, 2016, with the theme: The Future of Industry and Impact. There will be a session on The Disruption of Industries: The next decade in digital transformation.. To know more and participate, go to

TOP TECH EXPERTS AND CHANGEMAKERS TO CONVENE IN BOHOL FOR OCEAN 2016 SUMMIT: Summit readies region for next industrial revolution

MANILA, Philippines – Filipino Young Global Leaders and Shapers recognized by the World Economic Forum are getting together and gearing up for the Open Collaboration with East Asia New Champions (OCEAN) 2016 Summit from November 24 to 26 at the Be Grand Hotel in Bohol.

Chief Organizer Winston Damarillo, a WEF Young Global Leader said, “This year in Davos, we talked about the 4th Industrial Revolution – how high technology will promote rapid industrialization and how digital can impact lives for the better. We want to make sure that all emerging countries don’t miss out. We don’t want to miss out.”

“Our goal for OCEAN 16 is to take the whole concept of the 4th Industrial Revolution beyond the think tanks and the people talking theories in Davos. We want to bring it to emerging countries like the Philippines at the grassroots level,” he added.

Started in 2014 by Damarillo with fellow WEF Young Global Leaders, Karen Davila and Senator Bam Aquino, OCEAN aims to encourage local and global leaders to work together and strengthen the ecosystem for innovation, technology and creativity in the Philippines.

OCEAN 14 brought together over 200 changemakers from all over the world to Mövenpick Hotel Mactan Island in Cebu. Panel discussions covered Inclusive Entrepreneurship, Sustainable Social Initiatives, Environment in the Next Decade, the Creative Economy, and Igniting Private & Public Partnerships. Attendees included Tony Meloto, Maria Ressa, Manny Osmeña, Geena Rocero, Jeffrey Tarayao, Cherrie Atilano, Carlo Delantar, Lynn Pinugu and Anna Oposa.

Notable outcomes from OCEAN 14 include the Start-Up Business Bill, a proposed legislation to provide tax exemptions to young companies; the Hope Now Foundation, which activates mobile hospitals in response to natural disasters; and a bamboo school that facilitates active learning for the youth in Bohol.

What’s going to Bohol?

For this year’s OCEAN Summit, the WEF communities, led by Young Global Leaders and Shapers, are bringing discussions from Davos to Bohol. They will confer on the applications of technology in driving inclusive and sustainable growth in the region.

OCEAN 16 will focus on the question, “How can the Philippines – and other emerging countries – harness new technologies to accelerate economic development and social progress?”

The three-day summit will feature keynote addresses from government, business, and civil society leaders; plenary sessions on entrepreneurship, innovation, the Philippines, and the global community; interactive brainstorming sessions centered on how to scale emerging, youth-led social solutions; demos of cutting-edge new technologies including drones, 3D applications; and a maker market of goods from local artisans and entrepreneurs.

The Summit will also introduce and feed into a roadmap for “Digital Bohol” – a plan for holistic digital inclusion in Bohol that aims to set the standard for how local leaders can collaborate to harness technology to empower business, government and civil society.

Bohol was selected to pilot the smart city movement because of its strong public and private partnerships, and its vast work building its ICT infrastructure towards becoming a tech hub. It is also set to become a global destination with the opening of the Panglao International Airport in 2018.

OCEAN 16 signed a memorandum of agreement (MOA) with the Provincial Government of Bohol and the Bohol Chamber of Commerce and Industry last August 15, as part of a joint initiative for the development of smart cities in the Philippines, starting with Tagbilaran City in Bohol as the pilot and model city.

“Technology plays an important role in society and we’re very excited to be one of the first LGUs to start utilizing it to develop smart cities, enable disaster preparedness, promote inclusive economic development, boost tourism and ensure the safety of our citizens,” says Bohol Governor Edgar Chatto.

Top Filipino experts from Silicon Valley talk about social impact of tech

Top Filipino executives from Silicon Valley will be coming to share the best practices in world technology at OCEAN 16 – Mark Damarillo, Apple Lead Engineer for iDevices, will be talking about wearable technology and its potential to enhance lives; and Pepe Torres, AirBnB Regional Brand Marketing Manager, will talk about the impact of Sharing Economy in the Philippines.

“Bohol will be a whole new experience. It’s a microcosm of what we want to achieve for the theme of this year’s OCEAN,” says Damarillo. “We want to share the lessons from the World Economic Forum to local leaders and benefit communities in the Philippines.”

“For improving the state of the world, we want to talk to the people whose conditions we can improve using technology. Bohol is a good place to see the social impact of this new digital revolution,” he added.

Summit interactions will tackle the following topics:

  • The Future of Talent: Cultivating a new generation of leadership
  • The Disruption of Industries: The next decade in digital transformation
  • Powering Small Business: MSMEs in the digital economy
  • The New Oil: Harnessing the power of data
  • Sustainability at the Heart of Business: How to innovate responsibly
  • Collaborative Governance: Solving problems beyond private and public
  • Innovation for All: Democratizing the Fourth Industrial Revolution
  • The Next Economic Power: Navigating the ASEAN collaboration
  • Preparing for the Digital Future: Where we are and what’s next

OCEAN 16 is co-organized by the WEF communities in the Philippines; Amihan Global Strategies, a digital transformation consultancy; and Kaya Collaborative, an international nonprofit that connects the global Filipino community to entrepreneurship, impact, and innovation in the Philippines.

For more information, visit, email or call 0947-813-6401. You may also participate in online discussions by following OCEAN 16 on Twitter, Instagram or Facebook @WEFPHOCEAN.


For media inquiries, please contact:
Carissa Villacorta / Pauline Mangosing
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Monday, September 19, 2016

S&T program to boost milk production from goats

A goat undergoes artificial insemination, a breeding tool that will be used by the program for dairy goat herd build-up in the countryside.

The country is being envisioned to become a land of milk in a couple of years, goat milk that is.

Through the PCAARRD-funded National Dairy Goat Science and Technology (S&T) Program, milk production from goats is expected to increase in the country by 150% by 2017.

The program will work on initially increasing milk production in backyard farms from 45 liters in 90 days to 135 liters for each 180-day lactation and 180 liters to 360 liters for each 180-day lactation in commercial farms. 
The strategy of scientists from the implementing agencies, namely Isabela State University, Central Luzon State University, Bohol Island State University, Department of Agriculture-Regional Field Office-8, and University of the Philippines Mindanao, is to increase milk yield per doe by selecting the best performing dairy breeds and breeder animals suited to the country and by providing appropriate nutrition suited to the characteristics of these chosen genotypes.

For starters, project implementers will conduct an inventory of stocks and evaluate the performance of dairy goats across the country.

Results of the evaluation would lead to the selection and infusion of good breeds across the country through artificial insemination and buck loan programs. A herd build-up of at least 58% is expected with this intervention.

With regards to nutrition, the performance of Indigofera as dairy goat feed will be validated. Although some progressive farmers have claimed that this species is responsible for the sustained high milk production of their herd, research data has to be generated and analyzed.

To abate the increasing incidence of subclinical mastitis, a program on its control will be implemented. Mastitis was identified by goat raisers as one of the greatest problems faced by the industry. The condition can reduce milk volume and alter its composition; lower its hygienic value; and impair the processing of quality milk. 

At present, there are no local standards to screen and evaluate goats with intra-mammary infections, particularly at the farm level. Thus, management risk factors that influence the development of the infection will be identified and a control protocol will be developed and disseminated to the goat farmers. The application of the protocol is expected to reduce the incidence of mastitis by 37%.

According to PCAARRD Executive Director Patricio S. Faylon, the program “will boost the development of local goat dairying and may eventually help reduce milk imports.”


Friday, September 16, 2016

Bamboo propagation via branch cuttings to assist farmers in production

Bamboo Nursery prior to replanting. Agriculture Department, Rodriguez, Rizal
Bamboo is considered as an alternative to timber. This is one reason why science and technology is applied to further enhance its growth performance and ensure its sustainability. This is being done by the Philippine Council for Agriculture, Aquatic, and Natural Resources Research and Development of the Department of Science and Technology (DOST-PCAARRD), particularly its Forestry and Environment Research Division (FERD), which has identified bamboo as one of its priority commodities.

DOST-PCAARRD partnered with the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) and state universities and colleges to develop technologies that could enhance the propagation and plantation management of bamboos.

Among these technologies is the propagation via branch cutting from three to four-year-old bamboo culms and one-node culm cuttings. Another technology is the clump management and suitable cultural treatments for the species of giant bamboo (Dendrocalamus asper Schultes f.) and kawayan tinik (Bambusa blumeana J.A & A.H. Schultes f.).

It was also found that branch cuttings from three to four-year-old culms are the best planting materials for giant bamboo propagation. At least 10 branches can be collected from one giant bamboo culm and each branch should have two to three live nodes and live buds. These branch cuttings will develop sprouts seven to 10 days after potting. With proper care and maintenance, the potted branch cuttings will be ready for outplanting after at least three to four months.

As for the kawayan tinik species, one-node culm cuttings is the propagation method suggested for its propagation. The mother culm selected is segmented into one-node culm cuttings. One-node cuttings are cut out from the mother culms containing an equal portion of the lower and upper internodes of about four to six centimeters. After a month, the rooted cuttings that developed sprouts are exposed to sunlight to improve growth. Then, in six to 12 months, the potted cuttings are ready for outplanting.

In order to sustain shoot or culm yield, clump management for both species should be done through regular tending operations such as cleaning, thinning, mounding, mulching, and fertilization.

Rehabilitation of existing old bamboo clumps can be achieved through the application of suitable cultural treatments which includes sanitation cutting, cleaning, or fertilizer application. This method offers a quick and cheap means of increasing the supply of bamboo.

These methods are now widely adopted by farmers and nursery owners growing and selling bamboos for livelihood in regions 3, 4-A, 6, and 10 and beginning to be replicated by other individuals throughout the country.

Thursday, September 15, 2016

PCAARRD articulates science and technology agenda for sweetpotato

From an average production of 5.1 metric tons of sweetpotato per hectare in 2012, the Philippines is to increase production to 20 metric tons per hectare in 2016, about four times of the country’s usual produce.

This is how the Philippine Council for Agriculture, Aquatic and Natural Resources Research and Development of the Department of Science and Technology (DOST-PCAARRD) articulates its science and technology agenda for the country’s sweetpotato industry.

DOST-PCAARRD Deputy Executive Director for Research and Development Dr. Edwin C. Villar described the country’s research and development targets on sweetpotato during the Sweetpotato FIESTA held at the Tarlac College of Agriculture (TCA) in Camiling, Tarlac. 

The event with the theme “Sweetpotato for health, wealth, and wellness,” showcased sweetpotato as a nutritious alternative staple food and source of income, especially in the countryside and the various technologies to improve the said rootcrop.         
Villar delivered the message on behalf of Dr. Reynaldo V. Ebora, PCAARRD Acting Executive Director. 

Considered as one of the important food crops in the Philippines, sweetpotato emerged as an important food resource especially for impoverished areas in the countryside. It is a good source of minerals as it contains high levels of provitamin A and vitamin C, dietary fiber, and phytonutrients.   

Aside from being used as food, sweetpotato is also used in the manufacture of industrial products like flour and starch. In 2006, sweetpotato contributed P4.4B in domestic earnings. 

In recognition of the vital contribution of sweetpotato and other root crops to the economy, DOST-PCAARRD, in cooperation with its partners, pursues its Industry Strategic S&T Program (ISP) for Sweetpotato.     

Villar talked on sweetpotato’s versatility, adaptability, low input requirements, and nutrition, making it a good substitute for rice and corn, especially during the aftermath of calamities.  

Taking off from TCA’s initiative in adopting Farms and Industry Encounters through the Science and Technology Agenda (FIESTA) to promote sweetpotato as an agricultural commodity, Villar described FIESTA as a strategy towards hastening the delivery of technology to farmers and other clientele. 

“FIESTA aims to achieve higher agricultural productivity, improve product quality, lower production and distribution cost, and strengthen the economy  through the micro, small, and medium enterprises,” Villar explained.   

“Faced by the aggressive challenge posed by food security and global competitiveness, we need to maximize the potential of the sweetpotato industry,” Villar said. 

“People’s desire to achieve health and wellness, offers a growing market for sweetpotato and its industry can well participate in the competitive market of organic and natural products,” Villar added. 

Villar was optimistic that Sweetpotato FIESTA would open doors towards recognizing sweetpotato’s health benefits and in equipping farmers with knowledge and know-how to be able to commercialize and develop their crops. 



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