Monday, August 28, 2017

Experimental Integrated Farm in Northern Luzon

An experimental integrated farm is being developed in Northern Luzon. The 10-hectare farm will be one of the first such integrated farms in the country. 

Tha main feature of the integrated farm is that it will harvest fruits and crops the whole year round. Unlike traditional farms, it is not subjected to 2 farming cycles. The integrated farm will have vegetables as well as fruit trees that will provide a year-round harvest for the farm.

Already, the farm has planted vegetables such as lettuce, tomatoes, eggplants, ampalaya (bitter gourd), as well as spices like onions and garlic, sili, sitaw and kalabasa.
Sitaw Poles

Aside from the vegetable, fruit trees have already been planted that is projected to yield harvests of mangoes, lanzones, grapes, Dragon Fruit, Durian, Rambutan and other fruit bearing trees. Legumes such as peanuts have also been planted.

The technological advantage is that it has 3 deep wells for irrigation that will be wholly powered by solar panels to be installed in the far, experimental wind driven turbines are also being considered for its off-grid power supply. Also, newly developed monitoring systems for measuring soil moisture and even rain forecasting equipment will be part of an integrated monitoring system. 

Aside from fruits and vegetables, livestock such as goats, carabaos, and cows are already in the experimental farm. 

The first harvest is expected this October 2017 and a cycle of 3 months harvest for the vegetables is expected.

The current experimental location for the fruit bearing trees is 800 square meters.

Also, a golf driving range is already existing in the development.

Lanzones seedlings ready for planting

Why Indonesian rural folks are better off than their Filipino counterparts

In 1998, the income per capita of Indonesia was $680 at current prices versus $1,050 for the Philippines, 54% higher. In 2015, it was $3,350 for the former, and $2,900 for the latter, only 13% lower (World Bank Development Report).

In 1987, the total poverty at the national poverty line for Indonesia was 17.4%, with rural poverty at 16.4%. The 1994 figures for the Philippines were 40.6% and 53.1%. By the 2010s, Indonesia’s total poverty was 11.3% with rural poverty at 14.2% (2014). The Philippine numbers fell too but remained very high at 21.6% and 30% in 2015 

Why is rural poverty in the Philippines persistently high? It is because of underdeveloped agriculture. There are four metrics to compare: total factor productivity growth, specific crop productivity, crop diversification, and agri-food exports. Average farm size in the Philippines was 1.29 ha (2012 Census). Those in Indonesia average less than one hectare with most in the 0.5 to 1.0 ha range.


During 2001-2013, total factor productivity (TFP), an overall measure of agri efficiency, rose by 2.65% a year for Indonesia and 1.87% for the Philippines. The numbers were derived from the difference between agri production growth and agri inputs growth. The Philippines lagged in both output and input growth. The gap with Indonesia in TFP was about 10% over 13 years (see Table 2).


Of the 15 crops common to both countries, Indonesia was ahead of the Philippines with 13. On the four major crops -- rice, corn, coconut, and sugarcane -- Philippine productivity underperformed.

Indonesia is the highest-cost rice producer compared to India, Vietnam, Thailand, China, and the Philippines, in that order (IRRI/Philrice Study, 2015). It is a net-importer (see Table 3).


Indonesian agriculture is highly diversified. Considering the 15 crops, the three top crops accounted for 67% of total areas for Indonesia as compared to 86% for the Philippines. As to the five top crops, the corresponding numbers were 84% and 92%, respectively.

Of the eight main crops for Indonesia, six of these were heavily export-oriented: oil palm, rubber, coconut, cacao, coffee, and cassava. By contrast, there were only three for the Philippines, of which only one is export-oriented: coconut. 


In 2015, Indonesia’s agri-exports reached $33 billion (B) as compared to about $5B for the Philippines. The former had six products with over $1-billion export a year versus two for the Philippines. For all products that earned $250 million or more a year: Indonesia had 22 versus only five for the Philippines. On per hectare basis, Indonesia exports 2.4 times more at $880 per hectare versus $370 per hectare for the Philippines.

What is so important about agri-food exports, which some sectors discount as poor development strategy? Exports expand markets and, therefore, raise incomes and job opportunities for the poor. Competition brings innovation and crop selection. Focusing on the domestic market alone severely limits market-product size, diversity, and competitiveness.


The widely read book Why Nations Fail by Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) economist Daron Acemoglu and Harvard political scientist James Robinson (2012) showed that political and economic institutions underlie economic success. The authors theorized that there are two types. “Extractive” institutions exist when a “small” group of individuals exploit the rest of the population. “Inclusive” institutions include “many” people in the process of governing.

To paraphrase Thomas Friedman, a noted writer:

“Inclusive economic institutions enforce property rights, create a level playing field, and encourage investments in new technologies and skills are more conducive to economic growth than extractive economic institutions that are structured to extract resources from the many by the few."

Conversely, extractive political institutions that concentrate power in the hands of a few reinforce extractive economic institutions to hold power.

Why is the Philippine rural poverty incidence more than twice that of Indonesia’s? 

First, the political elite has long tolerated that rice self-sufficiency is the gold standard of success of any administration, and not rural poverty reduction. Among others, this led to long-term neglect of tree-crops development, especially coconut. Add to that aquaculture.

Second, the rural development institutions have been weakened by the sustained discontinuities in programs, constant changes in personnel, and promotion by political connections. It has demoralized the bureaucracy and severely failed to attract young talents. They faltered in tracking program impact on poverty reduction.

Third, the general lack of appreciation of strong research, development and extension service. Farmers need new techniques to increase incomes and be competitive. The 25-year municipality-based (not province-based) extension system is a monumental failure.

Fourth, land distribution is the overriding development goal, and not investments that will create products in the competitive market, promote robust agri-manufacturing that, in turn, create stable jobs.

The article reflects the personal opinion of the author and does not reflect the official stand of the Management Association of the Philippines or the M.A.P.

Rolando T. Dy is the Vice-Chair of the M.A.P. AgriBusiness and Countryside Development Committee, and the Executive Director of the Center for Food and AgriBusiness of the University of Asia & the Pacific.

Sunday, August 13, 2017

Smart Manage your Poultry Farm

The recent Avian Flu outbreak in Pampanga has brought the urgency to have better farm monitoring and management solutions. Technology together with traditional farm techniques must be brought together to gain further productivity and safety for both poultry and livestock and also with farm workers and owners.

In the Philippines, a Farm Management Solution was developed by a startup from the University of the Philippines. The system is called Farm Watch. 

Farm Watch features systems that include the following:

1. Essential Poultry Farm Monitoring System
2. Remote Monitoring
3. Emergency SMS Warnings and Critical Status Reports
4. Free Data Representation and Analysis Tools
5. Easy to Install and Configure System Operation
6. Has Back-up Power System
7. Modular, upgradeable and Extendable

It also has no need for farm-installed internet connection for remote monitoring since it is based on SMS updates and reports.

The system is composed of a wireless sensor hub, a remote hub and sensors installed in a standard 160m X 36m poultry building. There are six sensors installed in 1 building.

Farm Watch sensors monitor 3 critical aspects in a poultry building:


1. Temperature
2. Relative Humidity
3. Carbon Dioxide levels 
4. Ammonia levels

Health and Consumption

1. Weight
2. Feeds
3. Water


1. Fly Count
2. Hydrogen Sulfide levels

These will enable the farmers and workers to be given data critical to the above-mentioned aspects of a poultry farm.

Farm Watch contact numbers are (+632) 981-8500 local 3363

Farm Watch conducts free farm assessment. Farm Watch office is located at 3F NEC Building, UP Diliman, Quezon City

Saturday, August 12, 2017

Avian Flu Outbreak in Pampanga

For the first time since the Asian Avian Flu epidemic in the early 2000s, the Philippines has its initial case of Bird Flu. The municipality of San Luis, Pampanga is the ground zero for the outbreak and an estimated 34,700 birds and fowls have already been registered as the first casualties.

The Department of Agriculture (DA) Secretary Emmanuel Pinol in cooperation with the Department of Health (DOH) Secretary Pauline Ubial has declared a 1-kilometer radius quarantine area in Barangay San Carlos and Sta. Rita, San Luis, Pampanga. The quarantine affecting the declared area means that all ingress and egress will be restricted.

A 7-kilometer radius that is designated as a “controlled area” will require disinfection of all vehicles coming out from within the radius.

According to the DA Secretary, the quarantine will remain in force for 90 days. 

All birds and fowl numbering 200,000 within the quarantined area will be culled and buried in a designated area that has been deemed the proper place for the disposal of the affected birds.

Also, the DA announced that no bird or fowl will be allowed to be marketed out of Luzon Island, the biggest island in the Philippines. In relation to this, Governor of Pampanga Province, Lilia Pineda has declared a State of Calamity in the province.

The DOH with the Regional Institute of Regional Medicine (RITM) confirmed that the virus identified as the H5 strain and all specimens submitted will have a result in 48 hours.  The H5 strain has a known 100% mortality rate in infected birds and fowls.

As this developed, the DOH accordingly has sent specimens to Australia to confirm what N strain the virus has. By discovering the N strain, it can then be determined if the viral outbreak can be transferred to humans as in the case of H5N1 and H6N1 virus strains. The results are expected within 2 weeks of testing.

The DA and DOH, however, stressed that as of now, there are no reported cases of the infection spreading to humans as evidenced by the workers and owners of the poultry farms that remain asymptomatic to Avian Flu disease.

The reports started last August 3 when 3 poultry farms had their entire chicken population die from as of yet undetermined disease and infestation at that time. By August 4, 2017, an investigation has already been started and the deployment of 90 quarantine officers together with policemen commenced. The DA and DOH are as of now conducting monitoring operations in the areas concerned.

The next step will be to introduce sentinel animals into the area to determine if the infections still exist and further protocols for controlling the outbreak will be undertaken.

The DA stated that the chickens affected by the outbreak are layers which mean that only egg production will be affected but no disruption in fresh eggs supply will be experienced in the markets.

The outbreak was first noted in late April 2017, when quails started dying off and then ducks we also affected. But these were largely unreported to authorities.

 The DA assured that chicken meat supply is still safe but strict monitoring is being implemented. 

Workers in the area are being provided by the DA and DOH so as to ensure their safety. Also, the DA stated that it has two theories how the infections occurred since it started with quails and ducks and Pampanga is known for its Candaba Swamp where migratory birds from Mainland Asia seasonally stay. The other theory is that imported ducks were the source.  


Copyright © 2015 Agriculture Philippines ™ is a registered trademark.

Designed by Templateism . Hosted on Blogger Platform.