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Taiwan beekeepers battle to cash in on pure honey buzz

Under a shady starfruit tree Taiwanese beekeeper Jiang Hwan-bin tends his hives, pumping out pure honey for a rapidly growing market of health-conscious consumers. Jiang's family has been keeping bees for 80 years and he now manages 500 hives in the northwest county of Hsinchu. In total his family run around 2,000 across northern Taiwan. A string of food safety scandals in Taiwan has driven demand for clean, traceable produce, with pure honey seen as particularly beneficial -- whether stirred into water as a summer thirst-quencher or used as a sugar substitute in desserts. But although domestic appetite is voracious and outstrips supply, which keeps prices high, beekeepers say it is hard to fully capitalise as climate change and disease hamper expansion. This year alone saw a series of typhoons and an unusually cold …

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Duterte to copy Marcos-era agri programs

The government intends to use a huge portion of the $16 billion (approximately P750 billion) worth of financial aid extended by China to implement Marcos-inspired agriculture and fisheries programs. President Rodrigo Duterte said he plans to copy the “Masagana 99” and “Biyayang Dagat” programs implemented during the term of the late President Ferdinand Marcos in promoting the welfare of the country’s farmers and fishermen. The programs, Duterte said, would include financial assistance, farm equipment upgrade and farm inputs distribution. “Gusto ko lang kunin iyong idea ni Marcos. Malayo na iyon, iyong Biyayang Dagat pati Masagana 99. Ibalik ko iyon. Kokopyahin ko (I would like to pick up Marcos’ idea. Those had gone far, the Biyayang Dagat and Masagana 99. I would like to reintroduce those, I will copy those),” he said during a …

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P188,000 profit from ginger trial planting

There’s money in farming if you are hard working enough and open-minded to adopt improved farming practices. Just like Tannie Zaulda, 48, a former soldier who made a profit of P188,000 last year from a trial planting of 120 kilos of ginger seed pieces in his two-hectare farm in Barangay Julita, Libacao, Aklan. The inspiring story was sent to us as a photo release from Melpha M. Abello, a former staff of Agriculture magazine who opted to free herself from the monstrous traffic jam in Metro Manila. She went back to her hometown and today, she is enjoying traffic-less commute to her new job at the Aklan State University. Tannie planted ginger as an intercrop between his Señorita bananas. From that initial planting, he was able to harvest three tons which gave …

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Gov’t urged to provide weather-trigged insurance for typhoon victims

MANILA -- A senator on Friday urged the government to adopt a weather-trigged insurance and a sustained release of food, farm input and financial grants to those affected by super typhoon “Lawin”. Senator Juan Miguel “Migz” Zubiri said that agencies such as the Philippine Crop Insurance Corp. (PCIC), the Department of Science and Technology (DOST) and Department of Agriculture (DA) could adopt the insurance. Zubiri said that the scheme would allow farmers and fisherfolk to be spared by the difficulty of filing for claims with the PCIC since the insurance office would inform the farmer and fishermen in advance before the bad weather event. Even before the typhoon or drought comes, Zubiri said that the PCIC would tell farmers and fisherfolks that they were qualified for insurance payments. He explained that after a typhoon, …

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PHL, other ASEAN members unite for soil and nutrient management

MANILA -- The Philippines has reiterated its support for an agreement relating to ASEAN sustainable agri-food systems project which seeks for policies and strategies for soil and nutrient management. Department of Agriculture (DA) Secretary Emmanuel F. Piñol said the Duterte administration considered policy framework on the best use of agricultural lands in the country as top priority. “DA subscribes to the key issue that the health of soil, the crops, the livestock, and the communities are one and indivisible,” Piñol said in a message delivered for him by Director for Operations Roy Abaya during the 5th Meeting of ASEAN Soil and Nutrient Management Expert Group for ASEAN Guidelines on Soil and Nutrient Management this week. Soil and nutrient management experts from Southeast Asian countries forged during the meeting a partnership to push for …

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Zamboanga Sibugay governor pushes organic farming

IPIL, Zamboanga Sibugay -– Gov. Wilter Palma has issued an executive order creating the Zamboanga Sibugay Technical Committee on Organic Agriculture (ZSTCOA) to increase the local agricultural production through organic farming. Palma pointed out in Executive Order No. 1011-09-05-16-009 that the dependency of the farmers on imported hazardous fertilizers and pesticides will be lessened through organic farming. “This (farming method) will make the local agricultural products free from toxic substances,” Palma told the Philippines News Agency on Wednesday. The E.O. sets a policy for sustainable development of the agriculture sector through environment-friendly farming strategies and techniques. A technical committee has been created to ensure productivity. Palma said the E.O. is consistent with the declared policy under Republic Act 10068 otherwise known as the Organic Agriculture Act of 2010 that mandates all local government units …

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Enterprising lady operates a model farm

Mary Ann Wu is a livewire of a woman who operates a five-hectare farm in Southern Luzon and a garden supplies store in Quezon City. She spends long hours in her farm, Evergreen Tropical Plants in Sto. Tomas, Batangas, doing a lot of hands-on farming that she loves to do. Her farm, a 5-hectare part of a bigger still undeveloped property, is very well organized. There, she grows a lot of ornamental plants, high-value crops and some livestock and poultry. In a way, the financial crisis in 1997 was some sort of a blessing in disguise. It was instrumental in giving birth to Mary Ann Wu’s farm in Sto. Tomas which is starting to become a farm tour destination. In fact, the AANI farm tour will visit the place this Sunday, October …

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Central Luzon suffers P2.1 B agri damage from ‘Karen’

The onslaught of Typhoon Karen caused more than P2.1 billion worth of agricultural damage or losses in Central Luzon, the Department of Agriculture said. Tarlac sustained most of the damages in rice (palay) at P1,047,968,255.88, the DA’s initial report on the damages by Karen indicated. Nueva Ecija is next, with P1,038,678,907.70. The other major damages were recorded in Aurora with P39, 049,932.40, Bulacan with 11,366,395.60 and Pampanga with 4,338,644.00. Aurora also sustained P149,700.00 worth of damages in high value crops. DA Regional Director Andrew Villacorta said the department has been doing efforts to assist farmers who have been affected by the flooding.

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Fish parasite found to ‘prevent heavy metal intake’

Eating tilapia infected with the microscopic parasite known as the thorny-headed worm may actually help prevent heavy metal accumulation in the body. According to the Department of Science and Technology (DOST), research conducted by the Institute of Biological Sciences of the University of the Philippines Los Baños (UPLB) said fish infected with Acanthocephalans (Acanthogyrus species)—also known as thorny-headed worm—have much lower level of heavy metals than those not infected. They found that these parasites actually accumulate heavy metal concentration in their host’s tissues, especially in the gills and intestine. Researchers detected the presence of the thorny-headed worm in tilapia (Oreochromis niloticus), Parachromis managuensis, Vieja species and Red Nile tilapia. The study showed the Acanthocephalan infection has no significant effect on the fishes’ health, except for their size or weight. “Smaller tilapia may not be so bad. Some may have parasites, but …

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Munggo seeds for rainy season soon available – agri officer

SAN MATEO, Isabela  -- The agriculture office of this town said munggo seeds for the rainy season will soon be available. Municipal Agriculturist Emiliano Camba said there are demonstration farms where the munggo for rainy season are planted and the harvest will soon be available to be planted by farmers in the town. He said munggo that are usually planted by farmers are drought resistant but the new variety of munggo for rainy season will soon be available for farmers. Camba said in the history of San Mateo in planting munggo, there are no munggo seeds variety for rainy season,hence, the munggo seed for rainy season will soon be out and be distributed to the farmers. He said the town is experiencing two weather conditions, hot and rainy, and farmers must be provided with …

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