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Zac Sarian
Zac Sarian

From construction to dragon fruit farming in Taiwan

A 51-year-old architect in Nantou, Taiwan, used to be in the construction business. In 2011, he decided to give up his construction business so he could go into full-time dragon fruit farming. He is Xie Xinke, owner of Xinke Dragon Fruit Farm. He is very glad he gave up his previous business which could be very taxing at times. Now he is very happy tending his 1.1-hectare dragon fruit farm. His plants which are organically grown are very robust and high-yielding. Last year, he estimates he harvested no less than 50 tons of red-fleshed fruits. In the most recent season harvesting lasted from June 2015 to March 2016. Usually, the fruiting season lasts only from June to the following November. But the warm winter months of last December to February favored the …

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How to entice the young into agriculture

Many people are worried that pretty soon nobody will be producing the rice, vegetables, fruits, eggs, meat, and fish that we eat because farmers are getting old and the young generation does not seem to be interested in farming at all. Proof is the declining enrolment in agricultural courses. At a round table discussion on the future of Philippine agriculture that we attended at UP-Diliman, we met Dr. William Dar, a multi-awarded scientist who had held top positions in the government and in an international organization. He is very much aware of the problem. The average age of Filipino farmers today is 57, he said. Really too old. Young people shun farming because they perceive it to involve backbreaking toil and yet the income cannot compare with the income from employment in …

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Negros Island diversifies into tilapia culture

Negros Island which was created into a new region only recently is popularly known as the county’s sugar bowl. Pretty soon, the island region could also be known as a producer of diversified agri-aqua products. One program that is being seriously undertaken now is the promotion of tilapia culture. The Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources launched sometime back a program that aims to transfer the latest aquaculture technologies to fish farmers and investors in Bayawan City, Negros Oriental. The project includes the establishment of a tilapia hatchery that will produce fingerlings of GET EXCEL and red tilapia strains to meet the requirements of big and small fishpond operators. The tilapia project will be highlighted at the 2016 edition of Agrilink trade expo which will be held on October 6-8 at the …

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Seed firms are active in techno dissemination

Private companies are most active in disseminating improved techniques in producing high-value crops. And they could be considered responsible for the rapid adoption of new production techniques, practical farming and marketing ideas. Many of them organize harvest festivals, field days, mini trade expos in farming communities, and the like. Just like the Watermelon Expo staged by East-West Seed earlier last May in Brgy. Lusod, Maddela in Quirino province. The two-day expo was participated in by farmers who planted the improved crop varieties from the seed company. The event had interesting highlights that enhanced awareness of the attendees on the superior varieties of watermelons and other high-value crops, particularly vegetables. The attendees were able to have a free taste of the different varieties of watermelons like Sugar Baby Max, Sugar Ball, Orange, Red Delight …

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The promise of Jackfruit

Early last month (July 2016), 20 tons of frozen jackfruit pulp was imported from Vietnam by a trader from Cebu City. Much of the pulp will be made into dried jackfruit by a major fruit processor while smaller portions will be allocated to makers of langka preserves and for halo-halo and turon makers. The shipment cost more than $34,000 or about R1.6 million. That’s just one shipment and that is not peanuts. That is still a drain in the country’s foreign exchange reserves. Why did the businessman have to import jackfruit from Vietnam? Well, it is not difficult to imagine. Where in the Philippines can any trader buy jackfruit pulp by the tons? Jackfruit grows in most parts of the country but there is no place where he can source even just …

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How to be more competitive in Asean market

The Philippines is way behind in a number of ways compared to other member countries of ASEAN when it comes to agriculture. The facts and figures that tell us why were presented by Dr. William Dar during a roundtable discussion on the future of Philippine agriculture beyond six years. The event was convened last July 28 at UP Diliman by StratSearch Foundation headed by Dr. Clarita Carlos. Dr. Dar is a former agriculture secretary during the first year of the Estrada administration. Then he became the most successful head of the International Crops Research Institute for the Semi-Arid Tropics (ICRISAT) based in India which he served for a record three terms. The Philippines has been underperforming in agri productivity. From 1961 to 2012, the annual growth rate in agri productivity in the …

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Locally made rice machines are cheaper

Rice transpanters and harvesters are becoming the norm as labor becomes a big problem during harvesting and planting time because there is a shortage of workers in the farm. As of now, however, only machines from Japan, Korea are being available in the market. These machines are a big boon to rice farmers because they are fast in doing the job. And they are particularly needed when there are emergencies. For instance, if there is an impending typhoon when the rice grains are ripening, they can be harvested before the weather disturbance arrives. The imported machines are expensive and not all farmers may be able to afford them. That could be one reason why local engineers and scientists have been working to develop their own models. And the results of their efforts …

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Why grow pomelo?

The other week, a lady lawyer based in Manila approached us, asking about what was new from our nursery. She said she had already bought practically every variety that we had in our collection, albeit only a few of each. At this point, we asked her what her purpose in developing her eight-hectare property in the north. Was it just as a hobby in which case she doesn’t care whether she makes money or not? Or is it being developed as a source of additional income? In other words, is it for profit? If it is for profit, we told her, she should select one or two varieties that she should plant in big numbers so that she could produce a volume that would attract big buyers to go and buy her …

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Taiwan fruit and flower farm tour

We have been invited to participate in a fruit and flower farm tour by the Taiwan Leisure Farms Development Association from August 1 to 5. Hopefully we will be able to pick up some novel ideas which can be adopted by Filipinos who are interested in developing agri-tourism destinations. A new law on farm tourism in the Philippines was enacted during the last Congress which should encourage more entrepreneurs in developing farms that will attract local and foreign visitors. ORGANIC DRAGON FRUIT – The Xing Ke Dragon Fruit Farm will be one of our destinations for picking organic dragon fruit. The farm is small, only about half a hectare, but it attracts a lot of visitors because it produces different varieties of dragon fruit organically. The varieties include red, white and yellow. …

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Grow pummelo and jackfruit in your farm

A lady lawyer who is developing a farm in northern Luzon consulted us on what’s new in fruit trees. She said she has bought practically every variety from our nursery in Teresa, Rizal. We learned that she is developing about eight hectares and has already planted a few of each kind from our collection. Well, we asked her about her purpose in developing her farm. Is it just a hobby farm or is she interested in producing commercially for profit.? Of course, she said, she wants the farm to be profitable. To which we recommended that she better select one or two crops that she can grow in really big volume. We told her that if she just grows only a few of each kind, she will not make any profit. No …

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