KYP AT AGRILINK — A full complement of the staff of Known-You Seed Philippines (KYP) headed by its general manager, Julius Barcelona, manned the company’s booth at the just-concluded Agrilink 2013 at the World Trade Center-Manila. The company showcased its high-value crops that include watermelon and honeydew melon varieties. The company is based in Carmen, Rosales, Pangasinan. A joint venture of Harbest Agribusiness and Known-You Seed of Taiwan, it is testing many of the hybrids of Known-You to find out the varieties that have commercial adaptability to local conditions. Julius is seated second from right.
Despite the rainy weather with threats of a storm on July 10-12, so many people, men and women, seniors, minors and in-between, trooped to the World Trade Center-Manila to attend what they have been anticipating all along – the 2013 edition of Agrilink.
There were so many products, technologies and services on display. We could not possibly write about them all to fit in this limited space. But let me write about some interesting people we met at the expo.
One fellow we met for the first time although we are familiar with his name is Jason Javier, an OFW who had to rush home from his work in Nigeria to be able to attend Agrilink. Fortunately, he works in the petroleum industry in that African country as an electrical engineer with very liberal vacation privileges. After every eight weeks of work, he is given two weeks vacation.
He brought with him his wife Wenona and their two girls, Ena Jane and Elisha Jann, to the trade show. The first mention to us about Jason came from Ronald Costales whom we wrote about earlier regarding his organic farm in Majayjay, Laguna.
Ronald told us that Jason, who had earlier read about our story about Ronald, invested P420,000 to put up a greenhouse on 300 square meters in Ronald’s farm. The greenhouse was set up in February 2012 and planting started the following March.
Under the joint venture scheme, Jason owns the greenhouse. On his part, Ronald takes care of planting and marketing the harvest from the greenhouse. The cost of production is deducted from the gross sales and the remainder is divided equally between them.
So far, they have completed eight cropping cycles in a period of 20 months, according to Jason. The last cropping consisted of cucumber, arugula and lettuce. In a growing period of less than two months, they got a harvest which fetched about P44,000. Since the production cost was just about P20,000, Jason and Ronald had a dividend of P12,000 each.
Each of the growing cycles had been profitable. We remember Ronald telling us that in their initial planting of Japanese cucumber, they harvested in about 40 days 720 kilos of cucumber fruits which they sold at P100 per kilo, or P72,000 for the whole batch. Since they spent only P25,000 for production, they each received a dividend of P23,500. There were also times when they also got P17,000 each in dividends.
Jason really loves farming. They are developing a farm in Zambales. Among those he bought at Agrilink for planting in Zambales are Vietnam pummelo and latexless jackfruit. He and his family loved the taste of the Vietnam pummelo they sampled at the show.
ISABELA MELON GROWERS — Isabela is well known as among the biggest producers of rice and corn. But three people we met at Agrilink would rather grow watermelon and other high-value crops than cereals.
The three are Patricio Base of Alicia, Emil Viktor Subillaga of Cabatuan and Dennis Miguel of Cauayan.
Patricio grows watermelons, honeydew melons and papaya year-round on his three hectares. One of his favorite watermelon varieties is the Diana, a variety with yellow skin and red flesh. It is a prolific variety that produces very saleable fruits. The fruits weigh about three kilos on the average and currently sell ex-farm at P20 per kilo. His other favorites are Sweet Flavor and Jade Lady melons which currently fetch ex-farm P35 per kilo.
Before going into melon production five years ago, Patricio used to grow rice. But he says there is no money in rice even if he was getting 120 cavans per hectare before. In watermelon and honeydew melon production, one can hit the jackpot, he said.
Just like last July, he planted just 3,500 square meters to Diana watermelon and got 12 tons. That was worth P480,000 at P40 per kilo ex-farm.
He said that if he were planting rice today, he would not be able to send his children to school. Three of his four children are currently studying in college.
Patricio got into melon production after attending seminars given by Harbest Agribusiness. He was responsible for encouraging Emil Viktor and Dennis to go into melon production, too. He notes, however, that Dennis was even ahead of him in planting melons. However, Dennis stopped planting the high-value crops when he failed to make a profit. When they saw Patricio making money from his crops, Dennis and Emil Viktor became partners and started growing their own Diana watermelon, and Sweet Flavor and Jade Lady honeydew melons.
PURPLE SWEET — There’s a new sweet corn variety that is being launched for commercial production in the Philippines by East-West Seed Company. This is what they call the Purple Sweet, a hybrid whose kernels come in white and purple.
The ears are big and so are the kernels. Just like any sweet corn, the kernels are soft and sweet. Ric Reyes tells us that it has become a bestseller in Thailand. It is also being introduced in Sri Lanka.
LARRY AND AMY MICULOB of Davao City show off a fruit of their delicious durian at the Agrilink 2013. The two sold a lot of their fruits, some shelled and packed in styropor containers. The Miculobs have a 16-hectare durian farm in Calinan District where they grow different varieties like Puyat, Monthong, Kanyao and several others. Very recently, they held a durian festival at the Quezon Memorial Circle in Quezon City.
AGRICULTURE MAG AT AGRILINK — The Agriculture Magazine published by the Manila Bulletin sold like the proverbial hotcake at the Agrilink trade show. Old copies were sold at a bargain of three copies for a hundred pesos. Bookbound copies of 2011 and 2012 were also offered for sale. Yearly subscriptions were also booked at the trade show. Photo shows a customer (front left) filling up a subscription form while the sales staff of the magazine pose for this picture.
LUSCIOUS VIETNAM PUMMELO — Ena Jane and Elisha Jann Javier show half of a Vietnam pummelo at the stall of the Sarian Farm at the outdoor exhibit area of the 2013 Agrilink trade fair at the World Trade Center-Manila. The two are daughters of Jason Javier, an OFW working for the petroleum industry in Nigeria, who had to hurry home to be able to attend Agrilink. The red-fleshed Vietnam pummelo produces big fruits averaging two kilos each. The flesh readily detaches from the skin, is juicy and sweet. The planting materials were bestsellers at the trade show. The farm is located in Teresa, Rizal.
DRIP IRRIGATION MODEL — Caysing Tan of Bowa Company showcased at the recent Agrilink trade show a drip irrigation model for the home garden as well as for commercial planting in the field. Drip irrigation is a technology that is being popularized because it is economical on labor, water and fertilizer, and is efficient in producing high quality harvests. Aside from drip irrigation equipment, Bowa distributes many agricultural machines and implements, rice mill, shredders and many others.