Wednesday, June 28, 2017

Veggie production program makes school children taller, heavier

Hundreds of public elementary school pupils and high school students in six pilot towns in this province have become taller and heavier, thanks to a School Garden Program being implemented jointly by government agencies and a Philippine-hosted Southeast Asian center based here.

Officially named “A Participatory Action Research on School- and Community-based Food and Nutrition Program for Literacy, Poverty Reduction, and Sustainable Development,” the program is now on its penultimate phase and is expected to be completed this June.

Involved in the program’s implementation are the Department of Education (DepEd)-Laguna, the Southeast Asian Regional Center for Graduate Study and Research in Agriculture (SEARCA) and the University of the Philippines -Los Baños (UPLB).

Launched last year, the program was supported in its initial phase by the Asian Development Bank and the Thailand-based Southeast Asian Ministers of Education Organization Secretariat. The seeds used in the vegetable production activities were provided by the Department of Agriculture-Bureau of Plant Industry-Economic Gardens in Los Baños.

A memorandum of agreement for the implementation of the program was signed by DepEd-Laguna through Schools Division Superintendent Josilyn Solana, SEARCA director Gil Saguiguit Jr. and UPLB chancellor Fernando Sanchez Jr.

The accomplishments of the multi-agency project are now being assessed. Initially, the program covered as pilot sites one elementary school each in Alaminos, Cabuyao, Majayjay, Nagcarlan and Pila, and a public high school in the Laguna capital town of Sta. Cruz. The local government units of these municipalities were also harnessed.

Subsequently, 18 more elementary schools in the province were covered as the program was scaled up.

Assessing the achievements and outputs of the activities recently, the program measured the heights and weights of the school children involved in the gardening activities. From the start, the program had used the garden produce in DepEd’s School-based Feeding Program.

The results were encouraging as the school children showed progress in terms of height and weight, SEARCA said.

The program has also been developing lesson plans integrating science and education and related fields in the  school curricula.

Tuesday, June 27, 2017

Disease Control for Philippine Onions

Philippine Onions

Ilocos is the top producer of onions in the Philippines. Accounting to 99.8% of the much sought after spice. This is then translated as an economic boon for the countries that plant and harvest onions.

With an output of 9.22 thousand metric tons, Ilocos is top in onion production. But recent data from the Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA) disclosed that there is a decrease of 5.1% in the production of native onion registered in the 4th quarter of 2016. This can be attributed to production and post-production factors.

These can be attributed to climate and weather conditions, dearth of planting materials and disease and infestation.

One of the diseases is “Twister Disease”. It causes having the plants produce slender bulbs thus greatly reducing the yield. It has affected not only the Ilocos region which is the top onion producing region but also Cagayan Valley and Central Luzon.

Scientists at the Central Luzon University (CLSU) in Nueva Ecija are conducting research with regards to managing the disease.

It was discerned that frequent rains and high humidity greatly contribute to the spread of the disease. Twister Disease” is a fungal infection and thus humidity, length of exposure to moisture, exposure factor to light and even temperature are factors.

Inoculated onions were thus introduced and trials were undertaken so as to know the parameters wherein the disease will proliferate.

Samples were gathered from tye onion producing areas os Ilocos Norte, Ilocos Sur, Batanes, Mindoro Occidental, Nueva Vizcaya, Tarlac, Pangasinan and Nueva Ecija.

The findings from these experiments will decide which management and protocols can be used for optimum  effect with regards to proper fungicides and gibberellin inhibitors that will effectively control twister disease in onions.

The research is being supported and funded by the Bureau of Agricultural Research (BAR). 

Record Rice Yield Posted by SeedWorks

A “Rice Derby” among palay seed varieties was conducted in Cotabato, Mindanao and the winner is Seedworks Philippines. The yield was certified by the Department of Agriculture Regional Field Office 12.

TH-82 hybrid rice variety posted a yield of 8.05 metric tons per hectare. This is double the average production in the Philippines by other hybrid rice varieties. 

The hybrid rice developed by SeedWorks Philippines Inc. posted the highest yield among other hybrid palay seed varieties during a rice derby held in Cotabato, Mindanao.

Seedworks’ TH-82 hybrid rice yielded a total of 8.05 metric tons per hectare, double the reported average production.

The rice derby was held in Region 12 where farm owners and rice growers allowed their farms to be used. This was done in support of the rice hybridization program of the government.

TH-82 posted a yield of 8.05 MT as compared to other varieties developed that gave a yield from 4 – 6 metric tons. 

Another hybrid rice variety developed by Seedworks performed exceptionally well, the variety called US-88 yielded 6.03 MT per hectare. It has long grains and excellent eating qualities. 

The 4th National Rice Technology Forum ‘s theme is  theme “Increase Production through Hybrid Rice Technology, Mindanao: Mag-hybrid na Kita!”

It was participated in by farmers, seed producers and government officials.  The event that spanned 3 days were supported by the the Rice Productivity Advocacy, Inc. (Rice Board), the SOCCSKSARGEN (South Cotabato, Cotabato, Sultan Kudarat, Sarangani, General Santos) region, the DA National Rice Program, the provincial government of Cotabato and the municipal government of M’lang.

This is inline with the government’s efforts in national food security, self – sufficiency and is a pillar of the administration’s economic policy program also known as “Dutertenomics.”

The winner, Seedworks is engaged in breeding, marketing and production of hybrid rice, corn and vegetable seeds. The programs of Seedworks are based in India, Thailand and the Philippines.

SeedWorks  is a company that breeds, produces and markets hybrid rice, corn and vegetable seeds. The company invests a significant amount of its annual revenues on research and development to provide a continuous stream of exceptional products. Its research and breeding programs are based in India, Thailand and the Philippines.


DA set to boost piña fiber industry

Red Spanish Pineapple variety

Not all pineapples are equal. Mostly what the world knows is that pineapples are tropical fruits and they are much sought after in temperate countries such as the United States, Europe and China.

The Philippines is one of the top pineapple producers in the world. It is one of the top agricultural exports of the Philippines with Mindanao wherein plantations of multinationals account for the bulk of production.

What is little considered is that fiber is also much sought after for clothing such as the barong and also for other commercial uses. The red Spanish pineapple is the source of the piña fiber. The red Spanish variety does not count much for its taste. Smaller than the more well-known Hawaiian variety, its course taste does not appeal much to the palate. But its spiny leaves does grow up to 2 meters in length. That is the source of the piña fiber. The fruit is thrown away.

In order to maximize the potential of the red Spanish Variety and enable farmers to increase their revenues, Department of Agriculture (DA) Agriculture Secretary Manny Piñol tasked the Bureau of Agricultural Research (BAR) and the Bureau of Plant Industry (BPI) “to lead research initiatives on how to improve the size and the quality of the red Spanish pineapple.

Stakeholders were then convened by the BAR together with experts and representatives from Aklan State University (ASU), DA-Regional Field Office (DA-RFO) 5, DA-RFO 6, and the Philippine Fiber Industry Development Authority (PhilFIDA) to conduct and finalize research and development for improving te quality and the size of red Spanish pinapples. 

The aim is to conceptualize actions and implement the results of the research so that the size and quality of the said variety will improve but the quality of the fiber will still be retained. 

This will include market studies that will justify the large scale cultivation and planting of the variety thus boosting the supply of the fiber and also making the fruit palatable for consumers. 

The result will be maximizing the red Spanish pineapple and revenue optimization for farmers. 

The piña fiber industry used to be a lucrative enterprise but falling production of the red Spanish variety has led to decrease availability of the fibers.


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