Monday, March 30, 2015

Something New at the MMSU in Batac City

Whenever we visit a place, we always look for plants or farm animals that we think will interest our readers. Just like when we visited recently the Mariano Marcos State University (MMSU) in Batac City in Ilocos Norte.

 We met Dr. Gliceria Pascua, a recent retiree, who used to be in charge of the fruit crops nursery. Now, the position has been taken over by her daughter, Glisten Faith.

 Dr. Pascua, together with her daughter, briefed us on the fruit trees of interest. One of them is the Rabanal star apple which was registered with the National Seed Industry Council by Dr. Sixto Pascua, Glisten’s father.

Rabanal caimito or star apple is outstanding in a number of ways. It was the best caimito selection by the then Philippine Council for Agriculture, Forestry and Natural Resources Research and Development (PCARRD) in 1995.
The fruit is big compared to other varieties. It weighs an average of 379.7 grams each. The flesh is creamy white to purple, very sweet (18.9 degrees brix) and the edible portion is 69.6 percent.
This variety is a regular bearer and is very fruitful, according to Glisten.
GRAFTED BREAD FRUIT – Dr. Gliz Pascua was also excited telling us about their Cachuela bread fruit or rimas which bears fruit in just two years after planting the grafted tree in the ground. Their plant propagators are experts in grafting rimas on kamansi rootstock.
This cultivar is prolific and its fruits’ skin does not have warty protrusions that are found in some selections. The fruits are sweet and fine-textured.
MINIATURE EGGPLANT – When we earlier met Gov. Imee Marcos, she wanted us to see the indigenous vegetables found in Adams, a mountain municipality which is not easily accessible. One of them is the Balbalosa, a native eggplant with tiny clustering fruits. It is perfect for cooking into pinakbet together with the other usual pinakbet vegetables. It could also be cooked with a dash of bagoong or fish paste.
Since it was a Saturday, the one in charge of the collection of indigenous plants was not around. So Dr. Pascua volunteered to show us the indigenous vegetable that Gov. Imee Marcos wanted us to see.
SOGOD-SOGOD – One other indigenous vegetable that caught our attention is the Sogod-sogod botanically known as Momordica cochinchinensis. It is a relative of ampalaya so it could serve as a sturdy rootstock for grafted ampalaya.
The young fruits are cooked in the same way gourd or “upo” is cooked. Its tender shoots can be a substitute for ampalaya tops when cooking mungo. The young shoots could also be blanched and served as salad.
Mature orange fruits with soft spines are very colorful that is why they could be a good material for fruit and flower arrangements. It is something novel that decorators would love to use.
EVER-BEARING BIGNAY – Birds love to eat the sweetish-sour berries of the bignay. It is also a favorite of wine makers to produce bignay wine. The bignay at MMSU is the Palamuti variety which is a selection of the Institute of Plant Breeding at UP Los Baños.
Dr. Gliz Pascua said they harvested a lot of berries last February. When we visited the place last March 21, the tree was full of new flowers again. No special treatment is being given to the tree, except that it is continuously watered so the soil will not get too dry.
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AANI FARM TOUR NEXT SUNDAY – Participants in the AANI Farm Tour on Sunday, March 29, 2015, will visit the “Kamay ni Jesus shrine and healing center in Lucban, Quezon.
The next destination will be the Costales Nature Farms in Majayjay, Laguna where they will observe how organic lettuce is grown as well as the production of organic pigs, chickens and eggs.
Those who would like to join may contact May Ann at (02) 475-0134 or 0929-993-3148. Assembly place is the AANI Herbal Garden and Livelihood Center at the Quezon Memorial Circle in Quezon City.
AANI AGRI-BAZAAR – The next AANI Agri-Bazaar and Agri-Kapihan will be held on April 17 to 19, 2015 at the Quezon Memorial Circle. This is a monthly event for lovers of farming and gardening. There will be farm products available and there will also be free lectures and demonstrations on timely topics.
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URBAN AGRICULTURE TRADE SHOW– Agriculture Magazine is coming up with “Urban Agriculture” trade show which will be held on May 1-3 at Rockwell Tent in Makati. The exhibits will feature different products and services showcasing organic and hydroponic products. Experts will discuss and demonstrate improved techniques in urban farming and gardening.
The trade show partners include Organic Certification Center of the Philippines (OCCP), Bureau of Agricultural Research (BAR), Bureau of Plant Industry (BPI), Bureau of Soils and Water Management (BSWM), Fertilizer and Pesticide Authority (FPA), UP Los Baños, UPLB-College of Agriculture, and International Society of Southeast Asian Agricultural Sciences (ISSAAS).


Written by: Zac Sarian

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Author & Editor - The Philippines' First and Only Web Magazine on Organic Farming.

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