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More farmers finally sold to hybrid seeds

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By Zac B. Sarian

  • MECHANIZED FARMING – With the good income from hybrid watermelon, Renato C. Rabanera of Alaminos City in Pangasinan can afford to mechanize his farming for greater efficiency and productivity. He specializes in growing Sugar Ball hybrid watermelon which is a vigorous variety that yields big fruits and is also resistant to diseases. Here he is shown with his tractor that he uses not only for cultivating the soil but also in hauling his harvest from the field.

  • WATERMELON KING OF PANGASINAN – Renato C. Rabanera of Alaminos City is the acknowledged Watermelon King of Pangasinan. Last cropping season, he was able to harvest 120 tons of the Sugar Ball variety that gave him an income of P1.8 million. With his good income, he was able to buy more land, farm equipment, and was also able to send his children to school. He is shown here in his watermelon field.

  • GOODBYE FOUL ODOR – Emma Gonzales of Novatech shows a one-kilo container of Fedgrozyme which can eliminate the strong smell of pet dogs’ poop and urine. It is a free-flowing stabilized source of highly potent digestive enzymes of microbial origin for pets, including cats. Aside from eliminating the irritating smell, the product also improves the overall health of the animals. That’s because the dogs and cats can more efficiently absorb the nutrients in the feed.

  • USE OF SEEDLING TRAY – One of the improved techniques that Renato C. Rabanera has adopted is the germination of watermelon seedling in plastic trays instead of planting the seeds direct in the soil. This technique enables him to save on costly seeds, and the plants have better survival in the field. Ravanera is shown here with his watermelon seedlings in plastic trays.

  • KOREAN DELEGATES WELCOMED – The resource persons from Hanyang University from South Korea who participated in the four-day workshop on technology transfer and commercialization were welcomed by DOST-MIMAROPA officials and presidents of MIMAROPA SUCs. The workshop that was held in Palawan State University aimed to encourage researchers from the SUCs to shift from their traditional roles as producers of research to agents of technology transfer and commercialization.

  • TECHNOLOGIES AS ENGINES OF ECONOMIC GROWTH – Dr. Ma. Josefina P. Abilay, Regional Director of DOST-MIMAROPA, in her opening address, emphasized how technology transfer can be harnessed as engine of economic growth, emphasizing the importance of pushing academic discoveries into the marketplace for the benefit of society. The workshop aimed to empower the researchers to step out of their comfort zones and not focus on R&D alone, but develop an entrepreneurial mindset which will link them to the industry. The workshop aimed to teach the SUCs how they can better package their technologies and attract possible investors to bankroll them into commercial ventures.

    When we interviewed Simon N. Groot, the founder of East-West Seed,  last January, he revealed that it was not easy to sell to farmers the idea of planting hybrid seeds. It took the company about ten years before 20 percent of local farmers finally appreciated the advantages of planting hybrid vegetable seeds. After that, it was fairly easier to convince more farmers to grow hybrids.

    Well, if only as a consolation, he said, it took 18 years for 100 percent of corn farmers in Iowa in the United States to embrace hybrid corn seeds. It is of course understandable in the Philippines where the small farmers are usually short of cash so that they hesitate to purchase the more expensive seeds. But now so many of them are convinced that growing hybrids is the way to go.

    One of the beneficiaries of hybrid crops is Renato C. Rabanera of Alaminos City who is now considered the Watermelon King of Pangasinan. He was once a small scale planter of rice and watermelon. But with the good income from watermelon, he was able to increase his production and, of course, his income. Last cropping season, he was able to harvest 120 tons of Sugar Ball watermelon that earned him P1.8 million.

    As a result of his good income, he has adopted improved techniques of crop production. He has bought a tractor not only for preparing the land for planting but also for hauling his harvest; a truck to deliver his watermelons to the market; additional hectares for a  bigger operation; adoption of drip irrigation, germinating seedlings in seedling trays; use of plastic mulch and others. Above all, he was able to send his four children to school.

    According to Mario M. Bibat of East-West who has been in close contact with him, he loves planting the Sugar Ball hybrid because it is a vigorous variety that produces big fruits and is resistant to diseases.

    *****

    NEW PRODUCT FOR PET DOGS – A new formulation of enzymes and beneficial microbes can effectively eliminate the undesirable odor of pet dog’s poop and urine. Called Fedgrozyme, it is a new product released to the market by Novatech, a company that produces organic fertilizers (granules, pellets and liquid) and other probiotic formulations for use in livestock and poultry production and in aquaculture.

    Dr. Ronaldo Sumaoang, a microbiologist who heads Novatech, explains that the pet’s gut is not that efficient in digesting the feed that it eats, usually resulting in poop with many undigested feed materials. The strong odor from the pet’s poop is usually caused by decomposing bacteria that feed on the undigested proteins, fats, oils and othe feed components.

    “By introducing Fedgrozyme to your pet’s favorite feed, you are  introducing high-performing enzymes and beneficial microbes that help your pets break down and absorb most of these proteins, fats, oils and other materials, resulting in drier and odorless poop and urine,” Dr. Sumaoang explained.

    Fedgrozyme is a free-flowing stabilized source of highly potent digestive enzymes of microbial origin for pets, including cats. Aside from eliminating the irritating smell, the product also improves the overall health of the animals. That’s because the dogs and cats can more efficiently absorb the nutrients in the feed.

    Dr. Sumaoang said that Fedgrozyme is very economical to use. For small pets, place only one to two pinches (0.5 gram to 1 gram) on top of the pet food every meal. For big pets, the dose is 2 to 4 pinches (1 to 2 grams) on top of the pet food every meal.

    *****

    PROMOTING TECHNOLOGY ADOPTION – A total 29 faculty-researchers from six MIMAROPA state colleges and universities (SUCs) participated in a four-day workshop held at the Palawan State University in partnership with Hanyang University of Seoul, Korea.

    The purpose is to encourage the researchers to shift from their traditional role as producers of research to agents of technology transfer and commercialization. This way, the products of research could be harnessed for economic growth that will benefit the whole  country.

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