A special fertilizer that has been proven to more than double the yield of sugarcane and fruit trees also does wonders on Burley tobacco. This is the Power Grower Combo, a plant growth promotant formulated by Alfonso G. Puyat.
Earlier, the special fertilizer formulation doubled the yield of sugarcane in the farm of Mauro Merculio in Victoria, Tarlac. This time, the trial in a farmer’s farm in Balungao, Pangasinan, shows the yield of Burley tobacco could be more than doubled with the Power Grower Combo.
Frederick Pinpinio of San Miguel, Balungao, Pangasinan has a standing crop of Burley tobacco on one hectare from which he has harvested two times as of this writing. His tobacco plants that were sprayed just two times with the Puyat growth enhancer have grown to about six feet tall whereas the plants of the unsprayed adjacent field were mostly four feet or less in height.
The sprayed plants produced much bigger and more numerous leaves. The leaves of the sprayed plants were two feet long and one foot wide. On the other hand, leaves of the unsprayed plants measured only 17 inches long and seven inches wide. When the leaves were dried in the sun, as is the usual practice in Burley tobacco, the dried leaf of the sprayed plant weighed 12 grams whereas the one of the unsprayed plant was 5.1 grams.
As per the estimate of Frederick, one plant could yield as much as one kilo of dried leaves.
He has planted 15,000 plants in the one hectare that he rented for P5,000 per planting cycle. That means, he could harvest about 15 tons from one hectare. At the usual price last year of P70 per kilo, the 15 tons could be worth more than one million pesos. Even if the yield is only ten tons, that would still give the grower P700,000.
Compared to corn, which is also a major crop in Pangasinan, tobacco requires more labor to produce. The cost of production includes the cost of seedlings which is supplied by the buyer of the cured leaves at 70 centavos per seedling. The other costs are land preparation, fertilizer, daily attention to the plants while they are growing to prevent insect infestation, irrigation, cost of harvesting, sticking and drying. At any rate, Burley tobacco is still profitable to grow.
According to the National Tobacco Administration, Burley tobacco is being produced largely in Pangasinan which accounts for 51 percent of local Burley production. The other provinces growing Burley tobacco are Tarlac (16%), Nueva Ecija and Mindoro.
The NTA adds that there are about 11,376 farmers involved in planting Burley tobacco on 7,198 hectares.
The good thing about Burley tobacco is that unlike Virginia tobacco, it is not cured in flue-curing barns. Burley is dried in the sun like the native tobacco.
Burley is a light colored aromatic tobacco that is used in making cigarettes. About 75 percent of local production is used by local cigarette manufacturers. The rest is exported to countries like the United States, Germany, Hong Kong, Singapore, Russia and Japan.
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DASOLAND MANGO PICKING — If you want to experience the joy of picking mango from the tree, better visit Dasoland Adventure Park in Dasol, Pangasinan on March 7. Sec. Proceso J. Alcala of the Department of Agriculture will also be there to promote agri-tourism. Visitors will be able to pick and pay for what they harvest at the Carolina Mango Farm. The farm boasts of century-old and high-density mango trees that are profusely fruiting. Aside from the many full-grown mango trees, Dasoland Adventure Park is proud of its zoo, its World War II memorabilia collection with military vehicles, and museum. There’s also a villa that showcases old Philippine furniture collection from all over the archipelago, antique transportation and farm equipment display, heritage Ifugao house.
Dasoland is an agritourism project of businessman Menardo Jimenez and his wife Kay Gozon-Jimenez.
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AGRI-KAPIHAN ON MARCH 9 — Make sure to attend the Agri-Kapihan on March 9 at the AANI Urban Farm in Antipolo City, starting at 8 a.m. This is a forum that is open free to everybody who is interested in farming. The place is at the Kingsville Court Subdivision that could be reached through Sumulong Highway. Aside from the scheduled speaker, attendees can also observe organic farming and gardening practices which are employed in the urban farm.