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Makapuno: not your ordinary nut


“Maka puno” is a Filipino vernacular loosely translated as “almost full”. Conversely, when one speaks of makapunoit refers to a mutant coconut because of its genetic abnormality; and it is characterized by its soft endosperm and by how much it fills the nut.

The makapunophenomenon is believed to be governed by a single recessive factor and the palm which occasionally bears makapunonuts is heterogeneous for the character. These coconuts which do not germinate in situ, have normal embryos which can be extracted and cultured in vitro where they will germinate normally to give rise to palms with high makapunococonut yields. The makapunoindustry however, is just a small portion of the whole coconut industry. Area planted is only 577 hectares while area planted to coconut is 3.56 million hectares. (Batalon, 2009).

The increasing demand for makapunomeat as the main ingredient in many food products like sweets, candies, desserts and ice cream, and its use in non-food products like cosmetic lines, lotions and soaps, has led farmers, private investors and entrepreneurs interested in this crop, and thus becoming a lucrative business.

The Makapuno Road Map 2010 prepared by the Department of Science and Technology (DOST), indicated that the total demand for makapunomeat is estimated at 4,209,732 kilograms per year against total production of only 215,202 kilograms per year. The gap of roughly 3.9 million kilograms per year will require 7,900,000 nuts. A total of 800 hectares have to be planted to address the said gap and to ensure stable supply.

In a published report prepared by Dr. Erlinda Rillo of the Philippine Coconut Authority (PCA) in Albay, recommended that in order to meet such demand an estimated 133,151 Embryo-Cultured Makapuno (ECM) seedlings are needed to develop the competitiveness of the food and non-food products, and the only way to mass produce makapunois through embryo culture, which was believed to be developed by the late Dr. Emerita V. de Guzman of UP Los Baños in 1960. ECM involves the excising of the embryo and growing it in a culture medium permits the successful development of seedlings from makapunonuts.

Increasing ECM production

To boost the production of makapunoin the countryside, the Department of Agriculture – Regional Field Office IVA (DA-RFO-4A) through the Southern Tagalog Integrated Agricultural Research Center (STIARC), responded to the challenge by increasing ECM production through a project, “Productivity Enhancement and Development of Makapuno-based Products” which was funded through the National Technology Commercialization Program (NTCP) of the Bureau of Agricultural Research (BAR).

The objectives of the project were to 1) increase the production of ECM through improved package of technology and develop makapuno-based-products; 2) improve the existing tissue culture laboratory and processing room; 3) maintain the existing one hectare makapunodemo; and 4) produce 2,000 germinated ECM at the end of two years. The project was conceptualized in June 2010 and was completed in 2013.

Project proponents led by Ms. Digna Narvacan, STIARC manager, together with Daisynette Manalo, Cynthia Leycano and Fe Lupig, reported that production of ECM planting materials was done in the station’s laboratory which would become the source of quality planting materials for makapunonot only in the Batangas province, but also in other neighboring provinces in Region IV and in other regions as well. The laboratory protocols were also modified resulting in an increased production of ECM from 60 to 89 percent. The mortality rate likewise dropped from 40 to 11 percent. Further, as the result of the technical and financial assistance provided by DA-BAR, total nuts harvested increased by 443 percent.

Project impact

With the modified protocol, which is a result of the project, the in vitro culture was shortened from 14 months to 10 months. The cost of production was also reduced by as much as 20 percent. Since the project started in December 2010, a total of 7,748 nuts were harvested, of which 6,819 embryos were recovered. Twelve percent of the embryos were either non-makapuno, aborted or damaged during excision. However, there was an improvement in the percentage embryo germinated from the total embryo recovered from year 1-3. As of May 2013, there were 5,135 ECM planting materials (different stages) produced at STIARC.

In terms of product development, the project developed three food products from makapuno(makapunostrings, balls, powder) and one non-food product (makapunosoap).

The adoption of embryo cultured technology is an example of successful technology dissemination. It is a technology that has been optimized and successfully adopted. The dissemination and demonstration of this technology, through the project, has resulted in the high demand for these ECM materials. Proponents concluded that ECM production is feasible and economically viable, and therefore highly recommended for farmers’ adoption. ### (Patrick A. Lesaca, DA-BAR)

1. Batalon, 2009. Makapuno Industry Situation. Paper presented during the Makapuno Road Mapping, DOST-Los Banos, Laguna.
2. Makapuno Road Map. 2010. Philippine Council for Agriculture, Aquatic and Natural Resources Research and Developmen- Department of Science and Technology. Los Baños, Laguna
3. Philippine Coconut Authority-Albay Research Center. The ECM Technology Guide, 2004.
4. Rillo, E. 2005. Technology Dissemination, Demonstration and Adoption of Embryo Cultured Makapuno (ECM) in Regions 4 and 5. Terminal Report.
5. Project Brief of the Productivity Enhancement and Development of Makapuno-Based Products, 2010-2013.

Contact person:
Ms. Digna P. Narvacan
Manager, STIARC
Marawoy, Lipa City, Batangas
email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Optimizing the potentials of kadyos in CamSur


Pigeon pea, locally known as “kadyos” is a reliable legume known to grow amidst drought, fixate nitrogen from air to soil, keep the soil compact, and thrive with low farm inputs. As a multipurpose crop, pigeon pea is utilized for human food, animal feed, and fuel wood.

Seeing the potentials of kadyos in enriching the soil, increasing productivity, and alleviating food insecurity, the Central Bicol State University of Agriculture (CBSUA) is conducting a three-year project titled “Pigeon Pea (Cajanuscajan (L) Millisp) Research and Development Project” in collaboration with the Department of Agriculture (DA), local government unit (LGU), and the Bureau of Agricultural Research (BAR).

Most suitable varieties of kadyos in CamSur

The project team led by Dr. Fe Perlas, professor II of CBSUA, established five sites located in CBSUA (Crop Science and Airport Bridge areas), Ocampo, Tigaon, and Pamplona which were planted with six varieties of kadyos, namely ICPL 88039, ICP 87119, ICEAP 00040, ICP 7035, ICEAP 00932, and ICPL 88034.

After evaluating the recorded physiological characteristics and yield parameters, it is found that “of the six varieties tested, ICPL 88034, ICPL 88039, and ICP 7035 performed better over the others…in terms of height, days to maturity, number of branches, and in the yield parameters,” as stated by the proponents.

“After identifying the varieties that are most suitable in our province, these varieties were used in the next study which aimed to determine if pigeon pea can control soil erosion,” explained Ms. Melani Abalayan, study leader and researcher of CBSUA.

Reducing soil loss through kadyos hedgerows

Three study sites in CBSUA (rice-based and vegetable-based) and Pamplona (coconut-based) were established with control treatment (no hedgerows) and two experimental treatments using an early maturing variety (ICPL 88039) and a medium maturing variety (ICP 7035) as hedgerows.

According to the rainfall and soil loss data, the two sites in CBSUA have had more rainfall and number of rainy days causing soil loss than the site in Pamplona.

According to the findings, the highest soil losses and runoffs were found in the control treatments of the three study sites. Meanwhile, the lowest soil losses and runoffs were found in the experimental treatment using ICP 7035 variety as hedgerow.

“After the study, we learned that pigeon pea as hedgerow is effective in controlling soil erosion,” said Ms. Abalayan.

Developing kadyos-based food products

As a food crop, kadyos possesses a nutty, earthy taste and is a major source of protein. It also contains essential nutrients such as calcium, magnesium, phosphorus, potassium, selenium, iron, copper, manganese, zinc, Vitamin A, Vitamin B6, niacin, thiamin, riboflavin, folate, and pantothenic acid.

Cognizant to its rich nutritive value, CBSUA is developing various food products utilizing kadyos. These are: pigeon pea coffee with stevia, flour, cookies, polvoron, pandesal, pretzels, empanada with sprouted pigeon pea seeds, puto, banana cake, milk, and taho.

During the documentation conducted by BAR and FARM Foundation, through its tv program, Mag-Agri Tayo, a cooking demonstration of puto and banana cake was performed by Ms. Melchora Abonal, study leader and researcher of CBSUA.

Standardization processes such as consumer acceptability, shelf-life stability, packaging, and marketability are being conducted to further develop and improve these food products.

Promoting the potentials of kadyos

“The problem is that farmers lack information on how to plant and process pigeon pea. The farmers said that they need trainings or seminars about cultural management practices and about the proper rearing of pigeon pea from planting to harvesting,” said Ms. Ma. Teresa Lirag, study leader and researcher of CBSUA.

Three hundred eighty-seven farmers in fourteen municipalities of Camarines Sur were surveyed about their knowledge of kadyos and 91 percent or 348 farmers said that they are familiar with kadyos as a source of food.

“Here in the university, we are producing various IEC materials on pigeon pea. Currently, we are making a production guide on pigeon pea,” said Ms. Lirag. “As of now, we are more into promotions and information dissemination [activities]. We want to share to the farmers what our findings are so that they will become more interested in pigeon pea farming.” ### (Leila Denisse Padilla, DA-BAR)

Contact Person:
Dr. Fe Perlas
Professor, CBSUA
CP: 09213851164
Email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Study examines genetic diversity of Arakan Valley’s indigenous upland rice

Upland Rice - Ulipapa

Rice is and will always remain as one of the most important staple foods among Filipinos. For most of us, it is the one thing that satisfies and completes our every meal. However, the agriculture sector is continually faced by challenges brought about by factors that hinder rice production. These include the inevitable occurrence and effects of climate change, as well as the widespread infestation of pests and diseases, among many other unfavorable conditions.

The Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) of the United Nations recognizes genetic diversity as the foundation of improving the genes of the crop and has become an integral part in the domestication and cultivation of crops. Genetic diversity is essential in maintaining the richness of biodiversity as the two are regarded as dependent of each other, such as changes that occur in genetic diversity will also affect biological diversity, and vice versa.

Studying the upland rice in Arakan Valley

In Cotabato lies what is considered as the upland “rice belt” called Arakan Valley where a number of indigenous upland rice are thriving. With support from the Bureau of Agricultural Research, a study was initiated by Dr. Juliet Bangi of the University of the Philippines-Natural Sciences Research Institute (UP-NSRI) in cooperation with the local government unit of Arakan through the Municipal Agriculture Office, Manobo Lumadnong Panaghiusa (MALUPA) of Arakan, Cotabato, and SEARICE, an NGO helping the Manobo tribal community in Arakan Valley Complex.

The study seeks to determine the desirable rice gene characteristics through morphogenetic characterization and analysis of the genetic diversity of the indigenous upland rice in the valley. Understanding the structure and diversity of indigenous rice is needed by our scientists and researchers in the conservation and preservation of genetic resources that have potential uses for future breeding purposes.

In the study, 14 indigenous upland rice were collected from local farmers. These include Azucena, Dinorado, Mal-os, Magalitok, Kapalawan, Mubpon, Manisi, Bungulan, Kawilan, Malundiang, Sinulid, Ulipapa, Dabao, and Hinumay. They were subjected under laboratory and greenhouse experiments to characterize their seeds and plant structure. These include plant height, number of tillers per plant, number of days to flowering, number of panicles per plant, panicle length, and 1,000-grain weight.

Results showed that the indigenous upland rice is highly diverse with desirable characteristics. Among those studied, the tallest plants are the Azucena and Hinumay. Meanwhile, Kawilan had the highest number of tillers per plant as well as the panicles produced, and the Malundiang had the earliest flowering period. The longest panicle was produced by Magalitok, and Ulipapa and Bungulan had the heaviest 1,000-grain weight.

Meanwhile, in analyzing the genetic diversity of the rice, one of the most powerful tools used by scientists is through DNA markers. The study particularly used the simple sequence repeats (SSR) which are also called microsatellites. Among the DNA markers, SSRs are found to be the most efficient and cost-effective tool that can detect higher degree of polymorphisms in rice.

The study revealed that Malundiang and Ulipapa have 30-50 percent associated genes that possess the desirable qualities of being early-maturing and having high yield potential. Bungulan, Mubpon, Sinulid, and Mal-os have diverse genes, and are found to have desirable genetic makeup based from their morphogenetic characteristics. Bungulan, Manisi, Kapalawan, Magalitok, Sinulid, Mal-os, and Dinorado have varied and narrow genetic distance indicative of having distinct genes. With a dissimilarity index of 3.32, Kawilan and Kapalawan are upland rice with different genes.

These reflect the diversity of the indigenous upland rice in the Arakan Valley Complex based on their genetic makeup, and those that were studied are part of the genetic pool of resources in the locality. High-yielding varieties with promising potentials may emerge in the future as breeding efforts using our indigenous upland rice result in the successful improvement of grain quality, resistance to pests and diseases, and reduction in the maturity period, among many others. If effectively managed and used, they would be substantial in meeting the ever-increasing demand for food as the future unfolds. ### (Anne Camille B. Brion)

For more information about the study, you may contact Dr. Juliet Bangi through (02) 981 8500 loc. 3611. Dr. Juliet Bangi is a post-doctoral fellow of the DA-BAR/UP-NSRI Post-Doctoral and Senior Scientist Research Fellowship in Basic Research in Agriculture and Fisheries.

Banana peduncle turns into valuable products

Banana Peduncle

Initially underutilized and left to waste, the banana peduncle is now considered as an agricultural innovation with various potentials that can significantly improve farming, health, and income.

“Fiber and juice are the main components of banana peduncle. Various products were developed from this lowly material using readily available equipment and simple technologies. Instead of being left to rot in the field, the peduncle can be utilized and thereby can emancipate small-holder farm income,” explained Dr. Mary Ann Tavanlar, researcher from the National Institute of Molecular Biology and Biotechnology (BIOTECH) based at the University of the Philippines Los Baños (UPLB) in a seminar organized by the Bureau of Agricultural Research (BAR).

The seminar on banana peduncle was based on a BAR-funded project titled, “Banana Peduncle: To Waste or Not To Waste” implemented by BIOTECH with Unifrutti Corporation, Forest Products Research and Development Institute-Department of Science and Technology (FPRDI-DOST), and Fiber Industry Development Authority-Department of Agriculture (FIDA-DA).

Every year, the Philippines generates an approximate of 2.3 million metric tons of banana peduncle and these were either utilized as compost or put to waste. This consequently motivated the project proponents, led by Dr. Tavanlar, to determine and utilize the components of peduncle for conversion into value-added products.

“Finding uses for the peduncle other than for compost was challenging,” stressed Dr. Tavanlar as she explained the rationale of the project. The peduncle, which holds the banana bunch, was found to be mainly composed of fiber and juice. These two were utilized to make various value-added products.
The fiber was used as pulp and paper products and composite fiber boards including resin-bonded and cement-bonded peduncle boards. Encouraging results were derived after the products were tested for their endurance, elasticity, and absorption.

The fiber was also processed into powdered banana peduncle (PBP) as a source of dietary fiber to make peduncle fiber-enriched meat products such as burgers, frankfurters, and re-structured ham. As a result, these meat products have higher fiber content, better moisture retention, and higher cooking yields than the meat products without PBP. Also, the production cost of meat products fortified with PBP is lower than that of the meat products without PBP.

“The reduction in the cost could be attributed to the lesser amount of meat in the formulation because this was replaced mostly by water and of PBP,” as stated by the proponents in the terminal report of the project.

Meanwhile, the juice was utilized to make a ready-to-drink calamansi juice fortified with potassium and sodium. Most commercial sports drinks contain potassium and sodium to prevent dehydration and to maintain electrolyte levels.

“Samples of sports drinks in the market contain sodium and potassium ranging fom 24.8 to 48.3 mg/100 mL and 11.7 to 19.5 mg/100 mL, respectively. Pure peduncle juice contained 455.2 and 425.8 mg/100 mL sodium and potassium levels, respectively, which were about 9-30 times higher than in the commercial sports drinks,” as stated in the project report.

The peduncle juice was also used as a potassium supplement fertilizer in hydroponics that can improve the quality of salad vegetables such as lettuce, chives, and arugula. It was also found to be an effective liquid potassium fertilizer in banana and other high value commodities such as pechay, kale, parsley, carrots, okra, eggplant, and tomato. ### (Leila Denisse E. Padilla)

Exploring the potential of Apayao’s indigenous fruit


Exploring the wild-growing plants has been one of the initiatives of the government now particularly the agriculture department. There have been programs and projects on the protection and cultivation of indigenous plants. Research efforts are being pulled into in order to exploit the potentials these wild, indigenous crops in the country. “Farmers are encouraged to produce fruit crops thereby promoting sustainable agriculture in the uplands,” said Dr. Ronald O. Ocampo of the Apayao State College (ASC).

The province of Apayao houses some of the country’s indigenous crops including: lubeg, bignay, bignay kalabaw, calumpit, saging matsing, other than the fruit-bearing trees like durian, marang, lanzones, rambutan, pineapple, mangosteen, coconut, santol, among others. Given this, Apayao is dubbed as the “Cordillera’s last frontier for nature’s richness”. With the abundance in indigenous and wild growing fruits, the province of Apayao is envisioned as the prime ‘Agroforestry Center in the North’.

According to Dr. Ocampo, growing of fruit crops has various benefits including soil protection against erosion due to its profuse and widely distributed roots. With wider canopies, fruits crops are considered to have longer productive life. “They have wider tolerance to adverse soil and climatic conditions such as drought, typhoon, and strongly low ph,” Dr. Ocampo added.

Funded by the Bureau of Agricultural Research (BAR), the Apayao State College is currently working on the product improvement and commercialization of indigenous fruits in Apayao. One promising indigenous fruit in Apayao is called “lubeg”.

Lubeg (Syzygium lineatum) belongs to the family Myrtaceae. It is an erect, medium fruit tree usually 4-5 meters in height, with its leaves usually ovoid to elliptical measuring about 8-10 cm. The leaf posses a sour taste. Forty percent of total production is in Apayao and is mostly found in the Cagayan Valley with an estimated 1,000 lubeg trees grown.

Lubeg are cherry-like fruits with thick and fleshy, spongy, leather or brittle rind, oblong (ovoid or ellipsoid), up to 13 mm long. “Fruits are in cluster, whitish in appearance, and gradually turn from red to violet as they ripen. The fruits are considered to be highly perishable,” ASC researchers described.

Different processing technologies for lubeg were developed to include wine, vinegar, jam, jelly, and fruit concentrates. ASC is also processing and packaging bignay and wild banana into wine and vinegar. These fruits are believed to have anti-oxidants and anti-cancer properties.

Lubeg jam serves as fillers for fruit-based baked products like inipit, custard cake, cup cake, and even Jelly as fillers for doughnut.

To further promote and commercialize the products, three trainings on baking, wine-making, and packaging were conducted. Nutrient, total acidity, and alcohol content analysis were conducted. The nutrient analysis was made specific for lubeg jam and jelly; alcohol content for lubeg wine, bignay wine, and wild banana wine; while total acidity were conducted for lubeg vinegar, bignay vinegar, and wild banana vinegar.

The processing and production of indigenous fruits have gained impact not only to farmer-individuals but also to the community as a whole. “The project will alleviate the present socio-economic condition of the farmers, creating additional livelihood opportunities for sectoral groups including farmers, women, Out-of-School Youths (OSY), and elderly,” reported Dr. Ocampo.

The project is also considered a productive enterprise to help alleviate poverty in Apayao. To date, Elsie Sapad, one technology adopter in Luna, Apayao, is processing lubeg wine and vinegar. Likewise, the members of the Pudtol Agrarian Reform Beneficiaries Cooperative are packaging fruit-based products.

To sustain supply of fruits, the college is producing seedlings under the National Greening Program. “We also link with the local government units, people’s organizations, and other line agencies for collaboration,” Dr. Ocampo explained. The project team also established linkages between buyers, traders, and processors. ### (Ma. Eloisa H. Aquino)