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Thursday, December 14, 2017 26° Mostly cloudy

Isabela-made implement digs cassava fast

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By Zac B. Sarian

A recently developed implement is going to benefit a lot of the cassava planters not only in Cagayan Valley but also in other parts of the country where the root crop is produced in big farms.

This is the Cassava Uprooter that was fabricated by seasoned metalworks practitioners of the Central Isabela Agri Manufacturing Corporation (CIAMC) based in Cauayan City with a demo site at the Isabela State University in Echague. The  implement has been tested with flying colors by the Agricultural Machinery Testing and Evaluation Center (AMTEC) based in UP Los Baños.

  • MAXIMIZING PRODUCTIVITY – Jess Domingo maximizes productivity in his farm by planting spaces between his trees. In photo, he intercropped his calamansi trees with sweet potato and ginger. Camote tops is a nutritious vegetable while its roots are good for the health. He has also ginger plantings between his mango trees. Ginger is a high-priced farm produce these days. Aside from ordinary cooking, the rhizomes can also be processed into ginger tea, ginger candy and other high-value products.

  • CASSAVA UPROOTER MADE IN ISABELA – One locally made machine that is getting popular is the Cassava Uprooter fabricated by Central Isabela Agri Manufacturing Company (CIAMC). Hitched to a 90-horsepower tractor, it can uproot cassava on one hectare in just a matter of three hours, according to Eugene T. Gabriel of Agricom that distributes the implement that costs R90,000. Photo shows Robert Tomas of CIAMC and Eugene Gabriel with the Cassava Uprooter.

  • HAND TRACTOR-MOUNTED BOOM SPRAYER – This is another farm implement fabricated by the Central Isabela Agri Manufacturing Company (CIAMCI) which can make spraying of rice, corn and other crops fast. Mounted on a hand tractor, it can spray a width of four meters in one passing. Aside from pesticides, it can be used to spray foliar fertilizer. Shown with the equipment are Oscar Mananintan, Ryan Capulong, Eugene T. Gabriel and Robert Tomas.

  • PLASTIC DRUMS FOR FERMENTING FEEDS – Photo shows the plastic containers that Jess Domingo uses to ferment his own feed formulation that includes available farm wastes like unmarketable fruits and vegetables as well as market and restaurant wastes. He is shifting from producing white organic pigs to the native black pigs that will thrive on cheap fermented feeds.

  • DIGNATURE DISH –Jess Domingo’s signature dish is the sizzling bulalo which is so soft and tasty. Once his organic farm becomes a full-fledged agri-tourist destination, the special dish could be a big attraction to visitors. Jess is a culinary expert who gave up his high executive position in a multi-national company to pursue his love of farming and culinary pursuits after he reached the age of 50. Photo shows Zac B. Sarian with Jess Domingo’s sizzling bulalo during a recent visit to his farm.

  • WEEDS KILLED BY SUFFOCATION – At the organic farm of Jess Domingo in Alfonso Lista, Ifugao, he kills his weeds by suffocation. He covers them with recycled plastic sheet. Here, Jess and Eugene T. Gabriel scrutinize the dried grasses that were killed by suffocation in three to four weeks.

    The Cassava Uprooter, when hitched to a 90-horsepower tractor, can uproot cassava on one hectare in just a matter of three hours, according to Eugene T. Gabriel, COO of Agricom which distributes the implement nationwide.

    Gabriel said that the development of the implement is very timely because many of the corn planters in several towns in Isabela and Cagayan are shifting to cassava. Cassava, he pointed, is less risky to produce than corn. It is less affected by typhoons and drought which are increasingly becoming prevalent due to climate change.

    The farmers are also shifting to cassava because there is a ready market – San Miguel Corporation which buys the dried chips at R9.80 per kilo. SMC uses the cassava as ingredient in its livestock feed which could be a cheaper substitute to corn as source of carbohydrates.

    In commercial cassava plantations, mechanized harvesting is really very important. Harvesting by manual means can be a back-breaking job and could be a problem because of the seasonal availability of manpower.

    CIAMCI, by the way, is a company formed by Agri Component Corporation (Agricom) and five owners of metal works shops in Isabela. The main purpose is to manufacture appropriate implements for farm mechanization so as to enhance the competitiveness and income of the farmers. Agricom provides the designs of most of the implements for fabrication by the CIAMC group. Then Agricom will do the marketing, which is its specialty.

    The CIAMC co-owners who have their own individual metalworks shops are Robert Tomas, Oscar Mananintan, Reynante Santiago, Jervin Sioco and Edmund Mabborang.

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    JESS DOMINGO REVISITED – From Isabela, we proceeded to visit Jess Domingo who runs an integrated organic farm in Alfonso Lista, Ifugao. We have featured him several times in our articles because of his practical ideas, just like the processing of hot chilli flakes when the price of fresh fruits is low. Now he produces chilli flakes that he sells to Monterey.

    What are his new projects? Well, he is shifting from raising white pigs organically to black native pigs. Although raising the white pigs is profitable (as much as R5,000 net per head), he figures out he can even make more money from the black pigs because he can drastically reduce the cost of his feeds.

    Jess is constructing rice terraces in his 100-hectare farm that is sloping in many places. He will grow black rice as well as improved varieties with superior eating quality. An irrigation system that is being built by the government passes through his property.

    At any time now, he is awaiting the accreditation of his farm by TESDA as a training center for organic agriculture. He says he has been allocated with 900 trainees who will undertake a 28-day training course in his farm.

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