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Zac Sarian
Zac Sarian

Some doable farming ideas

Ambitious plans in agriculture have been voiced by incoming Agriculture Secretary Manny Piñol of the Duterte administration. He said he would increase the area for rice production, pay attention to irrigation, farm-to-market roads, access to financing, markets, and the like. Let me just leave those to the big shots in agriculture. Those support services have been discussed over and over again. And let me just write about projects that are doable by small entrepreneurs, also with ample support from the government. After all the Department of Agriculture is not lacking in money that has to be channeled to the right projects. We are thinking of the commercialization of the products of research by government scientists. One example is the improved mallard ducks by the National Swine and Poultry Research and Development in …

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Have you ever heard of an egg machine?

Do we mean a machine that lays the golden egg? No, it is actually a cage of ready-to-lay pullets that Pilmico is distributing to farmers as a means of helping them to achieve additional income. Pilmico is the food subsidiary of the Aboitiz Equity Ventures which is into flour and livestock feed milling. Only recently, Pilmico distributed 10 egg machines to beneficiaries at the Sports and Cultural Centrum in Sibonga, Cebu. Each of the egg machines consists of 48 layers, a cage and a month-long supply of feeds. The recipients, of course, are trained before hand to take care of the birds by technicians of Pilmico. In a few days, the birds should start laying eggs and the recipient could keep some of the eggs for home consumption and sell the rest. …

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Super napier gives amazing yield in trial

Would you believe that a new foliar fertilizer formulation can accelerate the growth of Pakchong 1, also popularly called Super Napier, up to 15 feet tall in just 70 days from planting? And the amazing part is that the yield can be more than a thousand tons of herbage per hectare in just one cutting. The new liquid foliar fertilizer, called VB Tall, is a formulation of Alfonso G. Puyat who has been doing a lot of research on plant growth accelerators. Earlier, he invented the Power Grower Combo and the Heavy Weight Tandem which have become popular with farmers because of their efficacy in accelerating the growth of various crops that also results in much higher yields. Rodrigo B. España, an accredited researcher of the Fertilizer and Pesticide Authority (FPA), conducted …

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Going native

Ask anyone which chicken tinola tastes best and they will readily tell you it’s the one that uses the native chicken. There are a number of native strains in the Philippines with their own distinct characteristics. All of them are well known for their special taste. The more famous ones are the Paraoakan from Palawan, the Banaba from Batangas, the Bolinao from Pangasinan, the Camarines from Bicol, Darag from Panay, and the Jolo from the south. All over the country, farmers raise their own native chickens. But these are backyard operations and they produce only a limited number. That is fine. They help in ensuring food security in the country and they also derive income, albeit limited, for their family’s upkeep. Big Market But this is a big market waiting to be tapped, if …

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Farm tour to swine, poultry research center

Participants in the AANI Farm Tour on Sunday, June 26, will visit the National Swine and Poultry Research and Development Center (NSPRDC) in Brgy. Lagalag, Tiaong, Quezon. This is an agency of the Department of Agriculture headed by Dr. Rene C. Santiago. The center is where indigenous livestock and poultry are being researched with the aim of developing improved breeds or strains of farm animals, particularly native pigs, native chickens, ducks and some other livestock. Dr. Santiago is very proud of the three new pure lines derived from the native duck (mallard or itik) which are outstanding in a number of ways. The three lines which are true to type are the black, the brown and the white. The ducks that are produced from each of the three have more or less …

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Free lecture on exotic fruits this Saturday

On Saturday, June 18, this agriculture editor will conduct a free lecture on exotic fruit trees from 2 to 4 p.m. at the Quezon Memorial Circle in Quezon City. The lecture is a highlight of the three-day Agri-bazaar cum Agri-Kapihan which runs from June 17 to 19. It is open free to the public. We will be sharing our own experiences in growing exotic fruit trees that many people may not yet be familiar with. One of them is the red jackfruit which we first saw in India and Bangkok, Thailand. It is only in recent years that this variety was introduced in the Philippines. This is very exotic and it can be a conversation piece wherever it may be found. Something that is new and of good quality, like the …

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The Kalinga black pig

An increasing number of people, farmers, and consumers are getting interested in our native pigs. Practically all of them are black. They are normally smaller than the white imported breeds. And they grow slower, too. Just the same, many people go for the native black pig. It is claimed that the native pig is better-tasting, be it made into lechon or into tapa and other pork preparations. Did you know that there are so many strains of native pigs in the country? Yes, there are, and they differ in distinct ways. Some come from Marinduque while others come from Bicol, Jolo, Quezon, Kalinga in the Cordillera region, and others. The different strains of native pigs are being raised at the National Swine and Poultry Research and Development Center (NSPRDC), an agency of the …

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Tapping the native chicken niche market

There is a big potential niche market for native chickens that is waiting to be tapped. We were talking with a consultant of a big chain of restaurants and he was bewailing the difficulty in sourcing native chickens that are more or less uniform in size and meat quality. The demand is big but nobody can commit to supply even just a relatively small volume on a regular basis throughout the year. The reality is that farmers all over the country are growing native chickens but these are backyard operations that produce just small volumes. That’s fine for the farmers and the country because they help ensure food security for the country. And they also derive income albeit limited for their family’s upkeep. The trouble is that because of the limited scattered …

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Ashitaba is better than strawberry

A long-time grower of strawberry in Benguet has shifted to growing the true Ashitaba (Angelica keiski) since 2013 for a number of good reasons. He is Marvin Chagyo, 54, who used to plant strawberry on 7,000 square meters. Now, he is devoting the same area to the production of Ashitaba as a contract grower of Mrs. Adela Ang who has been popularizing the consumption of Ashitaba because of its many health benefits. Chagyo said that strawberry is a profitable crop to grow, just as profitable as Ashitaba. However, Ashitaba is easier to cultivate. You plant the Ashitaba seedlings and in less than three months you can start harvesting the leaves, including the stalks. Harvesting can go on throughout the year. The leaves are big so they are heavy. He is paid according …

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Marketing the Unique

During our recent visit to leisure farms in Taiwan, we witnessed a novel way of cooking by the Ami tribe who inhabits the wet highlands on the Pacific side of the island nation. Did you know that instead of using clay pot or metal cookware, they cook their fish and vegetables in an internode of a giant bamboo that serves as the cooking vessel? The bamboo internode is opened at the top, leaving about two-thirds to hold the ingredients to be cooked. The bamboo vessel is filled about half way over with water. The slices of fish are placed inside. To cook the fish, a black, smoldering rock is introduced inside the bamboo vessel. Four more such rocks are placed one after the other. Before the last rock is introduced, the …

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