The big bang in bawang

DSC 0140No, it’s not about New Year’s Eve bawang firecracker that is the topic of this article but native garlic, the condiment that is so indispensable for many of our dishes as it adds just the right zest and tanginess to them. What is explosive is the quick multiplication of garlic planting materials in big quantities now possible with advances in Filipino knowhow.

Garlic, scientifically known as Allium sativum L., is a perennial herb that is grown throughout the world. It produces a bulb that is surrounded by sheaths that is actually composed of thin-shelled bulblets, cloves, or set, all of which are capable of forming a new plant. It is the bulblet in fresh or in processed form that is used as food, condiment, and for medicinal purposes.

In all the places that have garlic, the bulblet, either in fresh or in processed form, finds use as a condiment and as medicine (speak hypertension). It is also said to be an ingredient in the preparation of insecticides. In the Philippines it is an indispensable recado. It is simply unthinkable to have sinangag (fried rice), adobo or longanisa that does not have garlic. The crop is widely cultivated in the Ilocos region where the green tops are used for preparing the Ilocano pinakbet.

According to the Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA), garlic production in the Philippines in 2017 amounted to about 7.8 thousand mt. Production area was maintained at 2.6 thousand ha mainly in the Ilocos region. Other growing areas are Southern Tagalog, Mindoro Occidental, Central Luzon particularly Nueva Ecija, Cagayan Valley, Batanes, Bicol, and provinces in Western Visayas.

All varieties grown in the Philippines are native ones and include Batangas White, Ilocos White, and Batanes White. It is this locally-produced garlic, though smaller, that is stronger in flavor and aroma and a bit more expensive. To the discerning Filipino consumer, the cheap imported garlic that is dumped in the country lacks life and is nearly flavorless.

Garlic can only be produced vegetatively as it is sterile. As the planting materials are merely clones of one another, their use renders commercial garlic vulnerable to viral infections and pests and diseases that can cause as much as 70 percent yield loss.

Average yield of garlic in the Philippines is very low at 2.78 t/ha compared to about 10.6 t/ha in Thailand. This is due to the state of garlic planting materials which, through the years, have accumulated diseases through asexual propagation. Up until 1970, the only virus disease known was the tangle top disease. The Asian Vegetable Research and Development Center (AVRDC) has since identified onion yellow dwarf virus, garlic common latent virus, shallot latent virus, and other viruses as also present.

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Local garlic production is reported to be in a decreasing trend. Simultaneously, there have been increases in the price of garlic in the local market to as much as P200 per kilo. Even as local production is exceeded by demand, the cost of production has remained high. The country, therefore, is heavily dependent on cheaper garlic imported from countries where production is more efficient. With high demand, smuggling has also thrived. Imports reached 74,000 mt in 2015, according to PSA, representing more than 90 percent of total supply, valued at $25.43 million.

For Filipino garlic producers to compete with garlic imports and thrive, productivity needs to be raised and costs reduced. One thing working in their favor is the Filipino consumer’s preference for the local garlic. Smaller in size, Philippine garlic is more potent in taste.

Obviously, producing garlic planting materials free from viral and other infections and quickly multiplied in large numbers on a sustained and regular basis is desirable. In other crops, the proven way to do this is through plant tissue culture.

Tissue culture (TC) has several applications such as cell behavior studies (cytology, nutrition, metabolism, morphogenesis, embryogenesis, pathology, etc.), plant modification and improvement, and product formation. Of immediate interest to us is the production of disease-free plants and clonal propagation of the preferred varieties.

With TC, disease-free planting materials are mass produced in capable laboratories for eventual field planting. Different parts may be taken from parent plants and “grown” under aseptic and controlled environments. A bonus is that it is not affected by the seasons as it can be done anytime.

In developing TC for garlic, researchers at the Institute of Plant Breeding of the University of the Philippines Los Baños, submitted to the Bureau of Agricultural Research (BAR) the project titled, “Utilization of the Technology of Producing True-to-Type and Certified Virus-free Garlic (Allium sativum L.) for Economic Production of Planting Materials for the Farmers”. It sought to optimally develop TC technology with economy in garlic production in mind.

The project used the tissue culture technique to micropropagate (rapid multiplication of a small amount of plant material to produce more progeny) garlic; conduct serology, molecular markers development for genetic fidelity tests, and cytology to determine if the plant materials are true-to-type; and carry out a feasibility study to determine if the technology is indeed commercially feasible. It also sought to determine the production rate of different tissue-cultured garlic varieties/ cultivars in terms of shoot and bulblet production and in terms of bulb production under greenhouse and field conditions. Several concerns to be addressed were: evaluation and utilization of local genetic diversity of garlic, the establishment of an effective seed system of garlic, and development of a standard indexing protocol for virus-free certification of garlic for effective management of the major garlic virus-diseases.

Eight studies have been carried out. Study 1 involved the collection of representative materials of the different garlic cultivars for TC. Study 2 was on in vitro culture of different cultivars. Study 3 was on virus-free certification of the different cultivars. Study 4 focused on genetic fidelity testing of different cultivars with the use of molecular markers. Study 5 was also about genetic fidelity testing but using cytological techniques. For Study 6, different varieties/cultivars were acclimatized and transferred to greenhouse and field production conditions. In Study 7, different tissue-cultured cultivars in the form of certified clean bulblets were distributed to farmers for evaluation under actual farming conditions.

Finally, Study 8 was on the economic feasibility of producing good quality planting materials of garlic, i.e., the production of true-to-type and certified virus-free bulbs of the different garlic varieties/cultivars. This was of two parts: a) feasibility study of producing in vitro bulblets from multiplied shoots, and b) feasibility study of producing bulbs under greenhouse and field conditions using tissue-cultured materials.

Micropropagation of 18 accessions of garlic has been done on a continuous basis and conserved in vitro and subjected to virus-indexing and karyotyping (a test to examine chromosomes in a sample of cells). These tissue-cultured accessions also became the basis for the production of true-to-type and certified virus-free garlic bulblets.

With the initial data collected on the field performance of TC and non TC garlic under greenhouse and field conditions, yield performance of TC garlic under field conditions (Ilocos) were already noted to increase by 65 percent. The media used for garlic shoot and bulblet production are undergoing optimization.

In developing a standard protocol for virus-free certification, several viruses (onion yellow dwarf virus, garlic common latent virus, shallot latent virus, and leek yellow stripe virus) were detected in the samples collected. Only six of the accessions were found to be virus-free and the rest have to be “cleaned”.

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A number of molecular markers (22 SSR primer pairs) were tested and used for genetic fidelity tests of the different garlic cultivars. Cytological tests for genetic fidelity were also conducted.

Current results show that at 13 SSR loci, the tissue-cultured garlic are genetically the same as the non-tissue garlic. The researchers are proposing to try additional ones. With more markers tested, DNA markers can be established for variety identification of our local cultivars and for validating the genetic fidelity of tissue-cultured garlic. A diagnostic kit for genetic fidelity and cultivar identification can then be developed.

Farmer-cooperators in Iloilo and Ilocos were certified virus-free TC planting materials (bulblets) for initial field testing along with a series of trainings on the production of TC garlic, and on its planting and maintenance in the field. In Ilocos, the results were encouraging with the excellent farmer-cooperators’ performance and their readiness to adapt the tissue culture technology for commercial garlic production. Technology transfer was partially successful and needs to be intensified according to the researchers. Plans are being made to spread the technology to other farmer-cooperators in Batanes, Mindoro, Cagayan, and some areas in Mindanao.

Already, in the Department of Agriculture, TC is already being done by various agencies and Regional Field Offices (RFOs) along with partner state universities and colleges (SUCs) various crops.

The contribution of BAR has been in equipping a number of these RFOs and SUCs with tissue culture facilities and laboratories. With TC technology for garlic a reality, these facilities can turn out the production of virus-free planting materials in rapid fashion. Once the tissue-cultured planting materials reach the production areas, native garlic production can increase drastically as the cost of production shall be reduced. This will also make possible the development of a seed system that shall lead to a revival of the native garlic industry. We will thus be getting a bigger bang for our R&D buck. ###Victoriano B. Guiam

Contact details:
Dr. Lilian F. Pateña
University Researcher and Head
Plant Cell and Tissue Culture Division 
Institute of Plant Breeding 
Crop Science Cluster, College of Agriculture
University of the Philippines Los Baños
College, Laguna
email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
mobile: 0929715-8669 or 0917-102-6734

Fast detection of disease and pest-resistant native corn through molecular characterization

There are now more than 100 million Filipinos and still growing. The Department of Agriculture (DA), together with its bureaus and attached agencies are, therefore, hard pressed to meet the demands of this population. Even marginal lands are being marshalled to be more productive and be a source of employment. Under these challenging conditions, the usefulness of biotechnology comes to the fore.

 

Corn is one of the most phenotypically diverse of cultivated crops as it can grow over a wide range of environments. Breeders emphasize selection for a desired mix of traits that are controlled by multigenes. Known as quantitative traits, these include important agronomic characteristics such as yield and yield components, and resistance to pests and diseases. In looking for these, the application of biotechnology is vital.

 

The effectiveness of selection for different quantitative traits lies in the effectiveness of screens used in determining the traits. Variations among corn lines can be determined using phenotypic markers but their performance is strongly affected by environmental factors. Molecular markers for detecting total genetic variation of corn lines are preferred when environmental influences are not desired.

 

The use of molecular markers, or microsatellites, can facilitate the breeding process. The time needed to reach breeding objectives is much reduced as it entails less field assays. For many crops, molecular markers have been determined. With the use of molecular markers, genetic variation and the genome dynamics of many plants including corn are now better understood, leading to improved breeding efficiency.

 

With the biotechnology tools available at their disposal, a team of researchers at the Institute of Plant Breeding of the University of the Philippines Los Baños led by Ms. Alma Canama, set out to assess the genetic diversity among the country’s native corn populations using SSR DNA markers. Guided by the institute’s aim for its corn breeding program which is to develop corn varieties for biotic and abiotic stress resistance and nutritional properties, a proposal titled, “Molecular Characterization of Philippine Native Maize Populations (Year 2)”, was submitted to the Bureau of Agricultural Research and was approved for funding in 2016.

 

No study on molecular genetic diversity analysis of native corn populations had previously been done. Knowledge about diversity and relationships among the Philippine native corn populations is important for the corn breeding program of UPLB-IPB and will benefit the corn program of DA. The new study built up on the assessment done under the project’s Year 1 for genetic diversity among native corn populations on resistance to corn borer infestation and downy mildew infection with the use of SSR DNA markers and dendrogram (a tree diagram used to represent data where each group or “node” links to two or more successor groups based on similarity of traits).

 

Among the molecular markers, simple sequence repeats (SSR) microsatellites are commonly used for genetic diversity analyses due to their high level of polymorphism, repeatability and low cost. SSRs are abundant and their chromosomal assignments have been established, thus, the corn genome can be uniformly sampled and analyzed.

 

Polymorphic SSR markers can distinguish the allelic profiles of resistant lines over susceptible lines to particular pests and diseases. With knowledge about the allelic profiles of resistant/tolerant corn, molecular screening criteria can be used to sort out various crop lines as to resistance. It can be expected that high heterosis in yield and its components could be obtained from crosses among those lines belonging to different heterotic groups.

 

In the Project Year 2’s Activity 1, a total of 20 SSR markers were used to screen the inter-population diversity among 26 native corn populations. These populations were chosen based on a Project Year 1 constructed dendrogram (a tree diagram used to represent data where each group or “node” links to two or more successor groups based on similarity of traits eventually creating a viewable clustering) that assessed the genetic diversity among native corn populations using SSR DNA markers.

 

A new dendrogram was created using 20 representative populations with five (5) samples each utilizing 12 SSR markers. The dendrogram showed high diversity within a population. From this, the researchers infer that the samples within a population are very diverse owing to corn’s open pollinated nature.

 

For Activity 2, allelic diversity between susceptible and resistant populations on downy mildew infection and corn borer infestation were studied. Unique alleles were found to be associated with either downy mildew-resistant or susceptible populations with the use of an SSR marker.

 

As for corn borer resistance and susceptibility, populations that exhibited high susceptibility showed a more complex banding pattern and a monomorphic pattern. Also, more alleles were observed compared to the populations that are highly resistant to the pest. The populations that exhibit high resistance to corn borer infestation tended to exhibit a more polymorphic pattern.  

 

The researchers conclude that the results indicate the reliability of the information provided by the dendrogram from Project Year 1 and can be the basis for breeders to devise better breeding programs and choose populations which are distant from one another to create better breeds or varieties. The SSRs used were also found to be informative markers that revealed genetic variation among the inbred lines studied and that SSR markers tightly linked and associated with pest and disease resistance can be utilized to screen populations at the DNA level.

 

The knowledge generated about diversity and relationships among Philippine native corn populations, through the use of SSRs in the search for resistance to corn borer infestation and downy mildew infection, will lessen the time and cost it will take to conduct breeding efforts for native corn. ### [VictorianoB. Guiam]

 

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For more information:

Ms. Alma O. Canama

University Researcher and Project Leader

Institute of Plant Breeding

University of the Philippines Los Baños

Tel: (49) 557-3568

Building climate-resilient communities

 “Mainit na talaga…kapag nahuli ka ng tanim wala na talaga…”

This is the common sentiment shared by the farmer cooperators in San Francisco and Guinyangan, Quezon. They shared that rain hasn’t poured in their area since the start of the year. Experts from the Department of Agriculture-Regional Field Office (DA-RFO) CALABARZON and agricultural technicians from the Office of the Municipal Agriculturists (OMA) warned them that this dry spell is not yet the start of the dry season. It would get drier and hotter. They were advised to anticipate and prepare for the possible problems it would entail.

 

Earlier this year, the Department of Science and Technology-Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration (DOST-PAGASA) advised the public to take precautionary measures to mitigate the potential adverse impact of El Niño. This natural phenomenon threatens the livelihood of the agriculture and fisheries (AF) sector. To make matters worse, extreme weather changes, severe droughts and floods, more frequent and stronger typhoons, increase in annual mean temperature, among other events brought about by climate change also pose a serious threat to the AF sector as it threatens the sector’s stability and productivity.

 

In 2013, DA launched the Adaptation and Mitigation Initiative in Agriculture (AMIA) Program to enable the AF sector to adapt to the adverse effects of climate change and build climate-resilient communities and livelihood. The initial phases of the program identified climate hazards and assessed climate-risk vulnerabilities of the communities. DA tapped various state universities and colleges to conduct a Climate Resiliency and Vulnerability Assessment (CRVA) in the first 10 provinces: Ilocos Sur, Isabela, Tarlac, Quezon, Camarines Sur, Iloilo, Negros Occidental, Bukidnon, North Cotabato and Davao del Sur. CRVA is measured through three components: 1) exposure of the municipality to climate-related hazards, 2) sensitivity of the crops to climate-risks, and 3) capacity of the farmers to adapt with the changing climate conditions.

 

Dubbed as the “Food Basket of CALABARZON,” Quezon is primarily an agricultural province with more than 300 thousand hectares of agricultural land. According to the Southern Luzon State University (SLSU) through its CRVA in Quezon, “most of the municipalities have low to moderate exposure index to hazard; but considering that crops are highly sensitive to changes in temperature and extreme rainfall, then a minor change in weather and climate could have major implications on production.”

 

SLSU identified San Francisco as the most vulnerable municipality followed by Guinyangan. San Francisco has low exposure to hazard index but several crops are sensitive to climate change and they have low adaptive capacity index. SLSU said that the best strategy to address their adaptive capacity is to increase the human and social capital in the municipality alongside introducing climate-resilient interventions and practices.

 

CRA project in Quezon 

 

DA-RFOs of the 10 pilot sites used the results of the CRVA as the baseline data for the next phase of the program. DA-Southern Tagalog Integrated Agricultural Research Center (STIARC), through funding support from the Bureau of Agricultural Research (BAR), implemented the “Community-based Action Research for Climate-resilient Agriculture (CRA) in CALABARZON Region.” The project aims to help the farmers adapt to climate risks and build climate-resilient livelihood through participatory action research.

 

During a monitoring activity of BAR on 27 February- 2 March 2019, farmer cooperators were able to share their observation with the changing climate and their experiences going through the project and adopting the interventions introduced to them.

 

In order to strengthen and improve the human and social capital of the farmers, the project team organized 10 Farmers’ Learning Groups (FLG) in San Francisco and five FLGs in Guinyangan. “Farmer cooperators conducted field trials of CRA interventions according to their commodity concern and shared these technologies and outcome with other farmers,” shared Project Leader Aida Luistro.

 

Further, rice farmers in San Francisco tried testing stress-tolerant varieties. They attested that that RC 282 and GSR 11 are the varieties that gave promising yield and results. These varieties are drought-tolerant with longer maturing days, 110 and 115, respectively. To provide additional income for the farmers, the project team introduced the planting of legumes (i.e. mungbean, peanut, and soybean) as it is effective in improving soil health. Other CRA interventions introduced in San Francisco are corn-based cropping system (with legumes or purple yam, sloping agricultural land technology (SALT), breeding of native pig production.

 

In Guinyangan, vegetable farming was introduced to coconut farmers. The package of technology include fertilizer application based on soils analysis, use of organic fertilizer, and use of open pollinated variety seeds. They are also currently testing two black pepper varieties (native and Taiwan). Planting black pepper is in support to the Guinyangan Municipal Local Government to expand its production in other barangays.

 

“To promote CRA technologies and practices to other farmers, two Farmers’ Field Day were conducted,” shared Luistro. She also mentioned that farmer cooperators in San Francisco were able to visit the AMIA villages in Guinyangan. Through this educational visit, they were given the opportunity to learn from each other’s knowledge and experiences with the CRA interventions and practices.

 

In addition, the project team capacitated the AF communities in agri-based enterprise development through seminars which include corn charcoal briquette making, soybean processing, and native pork processing.   They also linked farmers to government financial service providers and conduit cooperative/bank and provided access to weather information and farming advisories.

 

Access to weather information and farming advisories were also provided to the farmers with the assistance from DOST-PAGASA. Weather forecast is disseminated through social media. They also installed farm-level weather instruments to monitor and record precipitation and temperature.

 

In San Francisco, Cristino Bayran rigorously observes and records weather information since the start of the project. Based on his observations, the diurnal range increased from 7 degrees Celsius to 14 degrees Celsius. He shared that the extreme changes in weather is very alarming. In late 2018, he shared that farmers couldn’t plant because of the severe rainfall — a complete opposite of what they are experiencing this early in the year. Thus, the importance of enabling our AF communities to adapt to climate risks and build climate-resilient communities and livelihood. #### [Rena S. Hermoso]

 

Indigenous plants: Safe alternative to artificial food color

 

Color plays an important role in our food preference. It can predetermine how we perceive the taste and flavor of what we're about to eat. In fresh foods, we rely on the color to determine their level of ripeness or freshness. For processed food, it becomes a whole different topic. When food undergoes processing, it loses its naturally vibrant color, thus the need for artificial color additives or food coloring.

 

Artificial coloring makes any food product more delectable and mouth-watering. Unfortunately, some of them are actually harmful to the body. Although some claims are still to be validated and are subjected to debates, they can be toxic and carcinogenic.

 

To address this, researchers from the University of the Philippines Los Baños (UPLB) led by Lourdes B. Cardenas of the Institute of Biological Sciences, conducted a study with the hope of providing the public a healthy and safe alternative to artificial food coloring using indigenous plants. The study, “Biotechnology in the Utilization of Natural Colors from Indigenous Plants,” which was funded by the Bureau of Agricultural Research, aimed to identify indigenous plants with health benefitting natural colors and develop technologies using them.

 

The study screened over 20 indigenous plant species among them included: alugbati, lipote, duhat, 4 o’ clock, gumamela, roselle, butterfly pea, pandan, turmeric, barberry, kamantigi, begonia, mayana leaf, bougainvilla, talinum, oxalis, impatients, portulaca, nasturtium, and bell pepper.

 

These indigenous plants were screened using the following criteria: 1) toxicity, 2) tinctorial strength (potency of the pigment) but with minimal or without imparting any flavor or aroma, 3) availability of the raw materials and ease of handling, 4) mutagenicity (capacity to induce mutations), and 5) stability of the pigment under different pH, temperature, and light regimen. Also considered in choosing the plant pigment as food colorant are solubility in water, and demand of a particular color in the market.

 

As potential food colorants, the researchers included plant species with Anthocyanins and Betalains, these are plant pigments that are water soluble. Carotenoids were not included in the study as these pigments are not water soluble and are sensitive to light.

 

Meanwhile, the researchers included Curcuminoids (not water soluble), which can be found in turmeric, because it was found to be the best alternative natural colorant to Tartrazine (synthetic lemon yellow azo dye primarily used as a food coloring).

 

To get the results, the colorants were tested under different types of food preparation: fresh, steamed, boiled, and baked. They prepared salad using the begonia, and ice cones or scramble with a whole extract from lipote, turmeric, and butterfly pea directly poured on top of the shaved ice. A fondant was made using the lipote, 4 o’clock, and butterfly pea color extracts; and gelatins, puto, suman, butter cookies, scones, and chocolates using the color extracts from alugbati, lipote, turmeric, butterfly pea, and 4 o’clock. The extracted natural pigments were also put inside micro capsules for stability.

 

Results of the study showed that among the plant species tested, the best sources of red colorant are: alugbati (Basella rubra L.), lipote (Syzygium curranii), and red 4 o’clock (Mirabilis jalapa L.). Meanwhile, the best source for yellow pigment is turmeric (Curcuma domestica (L.); for blue pigment it is butterfly pea (Clitorea ternatea var. pleniflora); and for green pigment it is pandan (Pandanus amaryllifolius Roxb).

 

Duhat (Syzygium cumini), red gumamela (Hibiscus rosa-sinensis L.), and roselle (Hibiscus sabdariffa L.) were dropped from the list due to factors involving toxicity, stability of pigment, availability of raw materials, and difficulty in extraction of pigment, among others.

 

The researchers noted that not all pigments from the plant species can be processed into colorants due to low tinctorial strength, and fragility, among others. But even so, these can still be used as colorants for freshly-picked ingredients to dishes that include the begonia, talinum, oxalis, impatiens, portulaca, and nasturtium.

 

As a final product, the project was able to develop natural colorants in the form of freeze dried whole extracts, microcapsules, gelatin bars, and glycerine solutions.

 

With the health benefitting natural colors that these indigenous plants can provide, these natural colorants are better option than their synthetic counterparts. It not only improves the quality of our food, it also enables us to utilize these indigenous plants which are readily available and easily harvested from our gardens. ### [Rita T. dela Cruz]

 

Beefing up Siquijor’s healthy beef


DSC 7722Siquijor, a tiny island province known for its mysterious and bewitching tourist attractions, is likely to be famed for yet another of its best and finest product — its beef.

This is not something to be surprised about since agriculture is a predominant sector in Siquijor and cattle raising, a significant agricultural activity.

Nestled between the Visayas and Mindano group of islands, Siquijor ranks second among the highest cattle producing provinces in the country, next to Ilocos Norte.

The native cattle strain in Siquijor is the taurine type (Bos taurus) known to have genes for marbling making it competitive with the rest of the best beef cattle in the world. Marbling is the white flecks and streaks of fat within the lean sections of meat. The degree of marbling is the primary determination of quality grade in beef. Marbling has a beneficial effect on the juiciness and flavor of beef as it keeps beef moist and succulent.

Bos taurus is a grass-fed type of cattle. Hence, the meat is lean and tender and has moderately full flavor. This native cattle strain is suitable for Siquijor’s weather condition because it can tolerate the heat and it needs little water requirement. It can also easily adapt to the environment. This is also the reason why this breed is preferred by majority of the farmers in Siquijor. This native breed is also known to produce quality milk.

meat processing training

And because Bos taurus is a grass-fed cattle, Siquijor’s locally-produced beef is considered a healthy beef. With the promising potential of the native strain, it is important to enrich the cattle production and meat processing industry to help the breeders raise their income, and provide an opportunity for Siquijor to export its quality meat globally.

R&D project on Siquijor beef production

In Siquijor, the cattle industry is hounded mainly by two aspects: production and marketing. Major constraint in production is affected by the dry season in Siquijor resulting to limited water supply, limited food supply, and excessive heat that can affect cattle raising. The natural climatic condition and sloping topography of Siquijor greatly affect the feeding practice of farmers especially during the dry season. In terms of marketing, one major challenge is the unfair pricing of traders due to lack of price standard.

Dr. Agapita Salces of the Institute of Animal Science, University of the Philippines Los Baños (UPLB), conducted a study that will not only address these challenges in production and marketing but more importantly, will commercialize the production of Siquijor beef as healthy meat.

The UPLB-led project, “Commercialization of Philippine Native Cattle for Optimum Production of Siquijor Beef” is being funded by the Bureau of Agricultural Research through its National Technology Commercialization Program. Specifically, the project will develop native beef grading standard, native beef cuts, and beef products and by-products.

In collaboration with the Department of Agriculture - Regional Field Office 7 and the Province of Siquijor - Provincial Veterinary Office, the project is employing various science-based interventions including data collection of animal performance, development of software for small hold native cattle production, planting of forage trees and legumes, and meat processing and product development.

beef patties

Profitability of cattle raising

Results of the socio-demographic analysis conducted by the group of Dr. Salces showed that an average cattle farmer in Siquijor has three cattle per farm being raised in a land he owns through inheritance. The rate of technology adoption of cattle raisers in Siquijor is high due to the various support provided by the provincial government.

In the profitability analysis of the project, results showed that the investment cost for setting up a cattle enterprise will cost Php 22, 555. 51. This comprised of cattle house, feeding, breeding stock (two young cattle one male and one female), farm tools (drum, containers, pail and scythe). However, if the cost of land will be included the total investment cost is Php 101,703.65.

The three-cattle operation in Siquijor is considered successful in increasing the income of the farmer. In terms of net income, results showed that a farmer could expect at least Php1,000 increase monthly when he choose to engage in the cow-calf operation in Siquijor.

General assessment of the results showed that good cultural management practices employed by the raisers could not be translated into profit until problems in marketing is resolved. This is attributed to the lack of price standard in Siquijor.

Product development and marketing

beef tapa

One of the interventions of the project was meat processing and product development through the conduct of training. One of the beneficiaries of the project was the Catulayan Community Multi-Purpose Cooperative wherein members were taught how to process and add value to their beef products. In 2017, 33 members of the Cooperative underwent the training in Siquijor. Dr. Maria Cynthia Oliveros, project study leader, demonstrated how to process beef tapa, corned beef, burger patties, and beef floss.

Meat processing was introduced to the members to increase their income and to promote the quality of native Siquijor beef. They were also taught how to look at fresh meat including the physical and chemical properties of meat to ensure its quality, tenderness of the mat during processing and storage, and even the correct meat cut. Another aspect of the training was teaching them about meat spoilage and proper handling to maintain food safety and avoid food poisoning.

Aside from meat processing, 11 members of the Cooperative also underwent slaughter and beef fabrication training. They were exposed to existing beef grading standards and beef cuts. Leading the training were Dr. Oliveros and Dr. Salces.

The various meat products were exhibited during the 14th Agriculture and Fisheries Technology Forum and Product Exhibition held on August 30-September 2, 2019 at SM Megamall, Mandaluyong. ### (Rita T. dela Cruz)

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For more information, please contact:
Dr. Agapita Salces
Project Leader
Institute of Animal Science
UPLB, College, Laguna
Tel. (049) 536-2547
Email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
© 2021 | Department of Agriculture - Bureau of Agricultural Research