The Department of Agriculture-Bureau of Agricultural Research (DA-BAR) and the DA-Bureau of Plant Industry-Baguio National Crop Research Development and Production Support Center (BPI-BNCRDPSC) are working together on a research and development project that will help develop and promote the commercial production of macadamia in Luzon.
The project, “Macadamia Conservation, Propagation and Commercialization in Luzon,” targets to increase local macadamia production; improve farming systems and biodiversity through the integration of macadamia production; and make available quality macadamia seedlings. In achieving these, the project will characterize, evaluate, and conserve existing macadamia trees in Luzon; develop appropriate propagation methods; develop appropriate nursery management technologies; produce quality planting materials; and promote production through the establishment of a demonstration orchard and the dissemination of information materials.
The project has verified the adaptability of the macadamia tree to Baguio City conditions, taking into consideration the macadamia trees in the experimental station that have matured. At the BPI-Baguio experimental station, there are eight fully-grown macadamia trees that are about 15 years old and are already fruiting all year round. The trees show good promise of locally-grown macadamia for commercial production. Macadamia has the potential for commercial production, either as a cash crop or as a component of agroforestry systems. The introduction of macadamia into the existing production systems will enhance food production and biodiversity and industry development from its products and by-products.
On-going verification trials on germination, grafting techniques, and use of cuttings for propagation are being done in the experimental station. Researchers are experimenting on several nursery management technologies using different potting media and soil additives. About 500 cuttings that were set under intermittent mist are now in the callous stage which will eventually produce roots. A total of 150 seedlings were asexually propagated and are being maintained through regular watering, fertilizer application, and pest and disease management.
The existing trees in the station are being maintained as sources of scions for grafting of seedlings and cuttings for propagation. The harvested nuts are used for seedling production. The researchers pointed out that, for the target of 1,500 quality planting materials of macadamia, a total of 1,007 seedlings (seedlings, grafted plants, and cuttings) have already been produced. Majority are seedlings which will still be grafted. Grafting is performed whenever there are seedlings available and scion branches are ready for use in propagation. In addition, 437 macadamia nuts that were sown are now starting to germinate. The harvesting of macadamia nuts is continuously being done since the existing macadamia trees are bearing continuously.
Based on the investment analysis prepared by the project proponent for a one-hectare macadamia orchard, assuming that the initial capital is Php 205,000, positive returns could be realized in the 6th year with projected gross margin of Php 591,800 from the 10th year onwards, or a return on investment of 200 percent.
Considering further that macadamia production has a relatively low input requirement, it could be promoted as a cash crop for small farmers, and a potential crop in areas with inadequate irrigation systems or rainfall due to its relative tolerance to drought. In fact, macadamia plantings were also reported in Ilocos region which is a relatively dry area.
The project on macadamia conservation, propagation, and commercialization in Luzon is funded and supported under the National Technology Commercialization Program of DA-BAR. ### (Patrick Raymund A. Lesaca, DA-BAR)
Winemaking is one of the value-adding food processing activities that can be done with fruits to reduce postharvest losses. This is why the government, through the Department of Agriculture (DA), Department of Trade and Industry (DTI), Department of Science and Technology, and other concerned agencies, is supportive of the initiatives for advancing the wine industry in the country, particularly the fruit wine industry.
With funding support from the DA-Bureau of Agricultural Research (BAR) under its National Technology Commercialization Program, the Isabela State University-Cabagan, led by Dr. Raul B. Palaje, operationalized the project titled, “One Town, One Product Enterprise (OTOPE): Sustainable Fruit Wine Production and Commercialization in Cagayan Valley.” The two-year project aims to refine and standardize the package of technologies for local wine processing, and empower the people’s organizations (POs) through enhancement of their capacity in winemaking.
The team of Dr. Palaje assessed the status and needs of the local fruit wine industry in the region. As expected, there are already existing fruit-based wineries in the locality, with most of these wineries being either single proprietorship or village/organization-managed. They also noted that with research and development (R&D) support, these local wineries can be helped to further elevate their products through provision of technical assistance, skills development, improved marketing strategies and linkaging, and support to packaging, labeling, and equipment.
The OTOPE concept
OTOPE is similar to the OTOP (One Town, One Product) concept of DTI which supports micro, small, and medium enterprises (MSMEs) through identifying, developing, and promoting a specific product or service for each locality. Instead of distinct products or services, the OTOPE of ISU focuses on fruit crops. According to Dr. Palaje, the key to move OTOPE forward is for local wineries in Region 2 to adopt a standard processing technology and packaging for all the wine products of the region. For this reason, support on trainings and on wine technologies (e.g., winemaking equipment) are two of the main interventions provided by the project.
As a start, consultations were done with the local government units (LGUs) of Isabela, Cagayan, Batanes, Nueva Vizcaya, and Quirino to assess and evaluate the existing local wineries in these provinces. Because of this, the ISU was able to identify and tap the participation in the project of three single proprietorship (SP) businesses and four women’s organizations already engaged in wine production.
Sweet living through winemaking
Aside from the seven local wineries, another project cooperator and technology adopter is the newly-formed Cagayan Valley Integrated Farmers Association (CVIFA), composed of mango farmers and women of Libag Sur. The group was formed due to their common interest of engaging in winemaking as they do not want to suffer losses in their mango farming again. “Nagsimula kami magka-interes sa winemaking dahil sa hindi magandang karanasan ng mga mango farmers dito sa aming lugar. Two years ago, ang mga mangga ay binibili lang nang Php 5 per kilo. Halos 1/3 ng harvest namin ay napupunta lang sa waste kasi tinutusok ng kulisap ang mga bunga. Dahil dito ay bumaba talaga ang income ng mga mango farmers,” shared Mr. Danilo Guinto, CVIFA president.
The group, in their first attempt, was able to produce 2,000 bottles of various kinds of fruit wines such as mango, native guava, wild watermelon, pineapple, bignay, banana, guyabano, avocado, and mulberry. The group was also able to forge a partnership with LGU-Tuguegarao City for financial and in-kind assistance. CVIFA is still new in running the business, but because of their linkage with other stakeholders, they were able to place their products in several pasalubong centers in Tuguegarao City.
Another project cooperator is Ms. Lorelie Valdez, owner of RLGV Fruit Wines. She ventured to winemaking due to her husband’s medical condition. It is known that wine has therapeutic properties as it contains polyphenols and other bioactive compounds that are antioxidant and antimicrobial. According to a number of scientific studies, moderate wine drinking protects against cardiovascular diseases, dietary cancers, ischemic stroke, peripheral vascular disease, diabetes, hypertension, peptic ulcers, kidney stones, and macular degeneration, among others.
The hobby became a business opportunity because of the persuasion of family and friends who have tasted her homemade wine. Since she started the business in 2010, RLGV Fruit Wines now has a captive market in Isabela. Its wines are distributed to a number of supermarkets and other market outlets in Isabela and neighboring provinces.
Being in a place blessed with a variety and abundance of fruit species, it is not surprising that different kinds of fruit wines are finding their niches in the market. With institutions such as ISU that contribute to the development of the local fruit wine industry, it is only a matter of time before the rest of the world will have a taste of Filipino fruit wines. ### (Diana Rose A. de Leon, DA-BAR)
A women-led farmers’ association residing in Barangay Bigong, Tigbao, Zamboanga del Sur is now reaping the fruits of their labor from soybean R&D interventions introduced to them by the Department of Agriculture-Regional Field Office 9 (DA-RFO 9) and the Bureau of Agricultural Research (BAR).
Established in 1998, the Kahugpungan sa Mga Mag Uuma/Mamumuong Kababayen-An (KASAMMAKA) Inc., or the “Organization of Women Farmers and Workers,” was formed and created to meet the basic needs of women, empower them, and establish livelihoods through organic farming, among others. These advocacies were initially carried out and promoted by roughly 200 original members following its creation. To date, the same principles are still being pursued by about 2,000 KASAMMAKA members.
Throughout their farming history, these women farmers are producing organically-grown rice, corn, vegetables, fruits, and other root crops; and are into raising livestock and poultry animals in their area. To the people of Barangay Bigong, everyday living is a challenge to reckon with. Their harvests dictate the quality of living and the amount of personal gains.
Unknown to them, their efforts as individuals, as an association, and as organic farming advocates were not left unnoticed by the DA-RFO 9 and BAR with the implementation of the project titled, “Building a Sustainable Soybean Industry in the Philippines.” BAR funded and supported the endeavor which has a component involving the development of commercial organic soybean in the region whose objectives are: to promote organic soybean as an important legume in Region 9; to demonstrate organic soybean production technology; to make available organic seeds of recommended soybean varieties; and to improve the skills and capabilities of farmers in organic soya product, processing, and utilization. In addition, it has four implementation mechanics, namely: 1) technology demonstration trials; 2) seed and commercial production; 3) product development, processing, utilization and promotion; and 4) enterprise/market development.
In the promotion of soybean production and processing in the region, the KASAMMAKA was tapped as one of the organizations with farmer-cooperators engaged to produce, process, and market soybean products. Through the Zamboanga Peninsula Integrated Agricultural Research Center (ZAMPIARC) of DA-RFO 9, the association was provided with 200 kilos of organic soybean seeds which were planted in their four-hectare farming area. The projected average production of soybean achieved in Tigbao, Zamboanga Del Sur is 550 kilograms per hectare.
Prior to their engagement in the project, KASAMMAKA members attended training programs on soybean production and processing sponsored by ZAMPIARC. Since then, the association has become actively involved in farming organically-grown soybeans.
Through the funding support of BAR and the assistance of the region in terms of training and seed support, the association was able to produce and process soymilk, soycoffee, and soya meat balls. With their farming experience and entrepreneurial ability, the group is now selling soycoffee at P200.00 per kilo, and soymilk at P50.00 per liter, while the soya meat balls (fishball size) are being sold at P2.00 per piece.
To reciprocate the government’s assistance, which is part of the agreement between the DA-RFO 9 and BAR, the association returned the 200 kilos of seeds given to them. This will then be re-distributed to the next identified farmer-cooperators in the province.
The group, which is now tagged as small-scale farmer entrepreneurs, plans to improve their products in terms of labeling and packaging, and aims to penetrate larger markets in the province.
KASAMMAKA is one of the frontrunners of the government’s campaign for sustainable agriculture in Zamboanga del Sur. Ms. Porferia Carpina, one of the founders of the organization and spokesperson of the group, admitted that the interventions of the DA-RFO 9 and BAR provided them with the livelihood flexibility in producing and marketing soybean products. To them, engaging in the soybean farming business has given them a sense of pride and fulfillment. ### (Patrick Raymund A. Lesaca, DA-BAR)
Putting a twist to the conventional flavors of ice cream, the Department of Agriculture-Regional Field Office 5 (DA-RFO 5) through the Bicol Integrated Agricultural Research Center (BIARC) developed rimasflavored ice cream as part of their research and development (R&D) activities on rimas. The team proudly shared that 20 kilos of rimas ice cream were shipped to Hongkong for acceptability trials and to look for possible distributors. This was made possible through Global Mana, a company that focuses on food, energy, and water and once sponsored a breadfruit conference in Hawaii.
Rimas ice cream was first showcased and presented to the public during the 9th Agriculture and Fisheries Technology Forum and Product Exhibition held at SM Megamall, Mandaluyong City in 2013. Organized by the Bureau of Agricultural Research (BAR), the said event showcased generated technologies of various R&D institutions in the country. The rimas ice cream bagged an award as one of the innovative products during the said event because of its novelty, uniqueness, and market potential.
Interested to know more about rimas, Mr. Joshua Niel Echague of Global Mana came across to one of BAR’s published articles on rimas ice cream on the internet. Checking on the contact details, Mr. Echague contacted DA-BIARC and the Regional Agriculture and Fisheries Information Division which then endorsed the concern to the project team led by Ms. Luz Marcelino, research manager of DA-BIARC.
Growing abundantly in the Bicol region, rimas or breadfruit is one of the highest-yielding food plants, with a single tree producing up to 200 fruits per season. Recognizing its potential, BIARC embarked on a project titled, “Rimas Biodiversity Research, Conservation, and Propagation in the Bicol Region,” which was funded by BAR. Aimed at determining the biodiversity of rimas in the region, the project also intends to increase the awareness of the Bicolanos on rimas as an affordable and alternative source of essential nutrients.
“It is abundant in carbohydrates, and therefore can be a main source of energy. The fiber present in rimas is found to help the digestive system of our body,assisting in the digestion of food and helping reduce cholesterol levels,” Ms. Marcelino shared.
With abundant harvest and with the conventional notion of preparation of just boiling and being served as snacks, the harvests were left rotting. Value-adding activities were then developed by the team.
The Regional Food Laboratory of DA-BIARC is continuously undertaking researches on product development given the succulent endosperm present in the fruit. To date, 15 recipes were developed. These include rimas pastillas, rimas cheese cupcakes, rimas chips, rimas caramel, ginataang rimas, rimas fries, , rimas kimchi, torones de rimas, rimas cookies, rimas pork dumplings, rimas rice balls, rimas custard cake, rimas spring roll, rimas muffin, and rimas ice cream. Comprising 80 percent of rimas meat, ice cream now comes in three variants: rimas with sweet potato, rimas with cheese and chocolate, and rimas with langka. Other crops abundant in the region like siling labuyo, taro, and pili nut are also added in the mixture.
The processed 10 kilograms of rimas fruit will be packaged in one kg of ice cream that can be sold at Php 150. “If we could just meet the demand, we could process as much as 50 kilos thrice a week,” Ms. Marcelino said. These would also be parallel to the objective of helping farmers increase their income as sources of raw materials come from farmers in Tigaon, Camarines Sur and in Sorsogon.
Rimas ice cream gained high acceptance in terms of taste, aroma, texture, and appearance based on the product acceptability survey conducted. These can also be offered to cafes and restaurants given the increasing demand to innovative offerings.
“Rimas ice cream has a high potential because of its distinct flavor and we are using organically-grown ingredients,” Ms. Marcelino added.
The team acknowledges the BAR’s support to the development of products utilizing locallyavailable crops. “With this undertaking supported by BAR, we were able to see the economic importance of this crop, which could also be in response to the goals of the DA of making food available and affordable; and increasing the income of farmers.Also, to be able to mainstream Gender and Development, we also give importance to empowering women’s role in farming and processing,” Ms. Marcelino said.
The local government of the six provinces in the region assisted the project in identifying farmers and rimas sites. There isalso the support from Sorsogon Dairy Farm who became the source of raw materials, and the Yulaik Food Company who helps in facilitating feedback surveys for product improvement.
Through propagation techniques (tissue culture and grafting), the project was able to maintain 100 plants inside the laboratory and 50 potted plants from tissue-culture technique and150 grafted rimas.
To date, BAR is supporting five projects on rimas covering benchmarking studies and researches on pest management, propagation techniques, and nursery establishment implemented by some DA agencies and state universities and colleges.
“We hope that there would be a consolidated effort on rimas. Also, I encourage fellow researchers to continue finding ways on how to utilize indigenous crops in our localities and collaborate with other research centers or networks for sharing of information, expertise, and future collaboration,” Ms. Marcelino concluded. ### (Ma. Eloisa H. Aquino)
Over the years, the Department of Agriculture-Bureau of Agricultural Research (DA-BAR) has supported research and development (R&D) initiatives that generated technologies and initiated interventions, benefitting the lives of the country’s farmers and fisherfolk. Farms, especially in the rural areas, continue to reap the fruits of increased production and improved productivity through these technology-based interventions.
To disseminate information on these technologies to its stakeholders, particularly of what has been done in R&D during the last decade, DA-BAR and its partners came up with “A Decade of Success: A Compendium of Agriculture and Fisheries R&D Projects Supported by the Bureau of Agricultural Research from 2005-2014.” The compendium serves as a 10-year portfolio featuring DA-BAR-supported projects implemented by its partners from the DA-Regional Field Offices (RFOs), Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources (BFAR) Regional Offices, and state universities and colleges (SUCs) towards improving the agri-fishery sector.
The compendium is composed of 17 volumes of published material - of which 16 volumes highlight researches accomplished by the regions, while the remaining volume features the researches done by the bureau’s partner SUCs. The books summarize a decade of R&D efforts with concise information including project summaries, technology description and application, as well as the intended beneficiaries.
The consolidation and packaging of information to produce the compendium was funded under DA-BAR’s Scientific Publication Grant (SPG) that aims to support initiatives on technology promotion and dissemination through print media with grants for the preparation and printing of research-based publications.
According to BAR Director, Dr. Nicomedes P. Eleazar, “As the material allows for quick reference and easier information retrieval, we are likewise providing ready-to-access information on technologies generated in R&D that will cater to the technology needs of the farmers, fisherfolk, research institutions, policy makers, entrepreneurs, academe, organizations, and other interest groups.”
On 27 October 2016, DA-BAR, in the presence of DA Undersecretary Ariel T. Cayanan and representatives from different DA regional offices and SUCs, formally launched the compendium during the closing ceremonies of the 28th National Research Symposium held at the Bureau of Soils and Water Management Convention Hall in Quezon City. ### (Ephraim John J. Gestupa)