By Zac B. Sarian
VERY HAPPY OVER MASERATI – Pamela Ong Chan, president of Ramgo International, is very happy showing the beautiful bulbs of Maserati, a hybrid shallot showcased during the recent Allium Festival in the farm of Jose Madriaga in Brgy. Tay-ac, Bantay, Ilocos Sur. Madriaga is one of the first farmers to plant the new hybrid shallot which is grown from seed instead of bulblets as is the practice in producing the Lasona or ordinary shallot grown by Ilocano farmers in Northern Luzon.
CLOSE UP OF MASERATI BULBS – The bulbs of the Maserati shallot are very very intense red and are much bigger than the bulbs of Lasona or native shallot traditionally planted by Ilocano farmers in the North. The variety is high-yielding and grows well under Philippine conditions.
IN LOVE WITH MASERATI – Jose Madriaga shows the beautiful bulb of Maserati shallot in his farm that is only 65 days old from transplanting. In 20 more days from the time the photo was taken, the crop will already be harvestable. He likes Maserati very much because it is high-yielding and the bulbs are big and of very high quality.
RELAY CROPPING – Jose Madriaga is in his Maserati shallot plantation. Note the young corn plants that he planted as a “relay crop.” When the Maserati plants were 50 days old, he planted the seeds of yellow corn. After the shallot are harvested the corn plant will continue to grow and develop grains for feeding livestock. The ears will be harvestable sometime in May this year.
VISITORS AT THE ALLIUM FESTIVAL – Photo shows some of the more than 200 farmers who attended the Allium Festival in the farm of Jose Madriaga in Tay-ac, Bantay, Ilocos Sur last March 1. They came from different towns of Ilocos Sur, Ilocos Norte, Pangasinan and elsewhere. They observed the performance of Maserati shallot and other onion varieties like Superex and Red Dragon distributed by Ramgo International Corp;opration.
SUPEREX ONION IN ILOCOS SUR – Photo shows Arielina Arevalo of Ramgo posing with ready-to-harvest bulbs of Superex onion, one of the outstanding onion varieties distributed by Ramjgo. Note the tomato plants intercropped with the onions. After the onions are harvested, the tomatoes will become the next source of income for Madriaga. The tomatoes also help repel insects that could damage the onion plants because of their peculiar smell.
More than 200 farmers from towns in Ilocos Sur, Ilocos Norte, Pangasinan and elsewhere witnessed the potential of Maserati as a money-maker for farmers during the Allium Festival held at the farm of Jose Madriaga in Tay-ac, Bantay, Ilocos Sur last March 1. Maserati is a new shallot hybrid introduced only last year by Ramgo International Corporation, a pioneer in the vegetable seed business in the Philippines.
Beautiful Maserati harvest from a planter in Vintar, Ilocos Norte impressed the farmers for the big size of the bulbs and their intense red color which are characteristics sought after by traders as well as consumers. At the same time, the attendees also witnessed the very excellent stand of the Maserati plants in Madriaga’s farm which were 65 ays old from transplanting during the event.
As per the harvest in Vintar, one square meter could yield as much as nine kilos, according to Madriaga. Bulbs of 15 plants make one kilo. Judging from the robust stand of Madriaga’s plants, he said he could harvest P120,000 worth of fresh bulbs, including the leaves, at only P20 per kilo from 4,000 square meters. During the Allium Festival, we learned that a kilo of Lasona, the local variety of shallot, as selling from P25 to P30 per kilo.
Because of the excellent performance of Maserati in Ilocos, many of the attendees said they will definitely plant the new variety in the next planting season whichy could start next October after the harvest of rice. One lady government employee who planted the native Lasona this past season, Violeta Cabebe, said she will surely plant Maserati next time. Her lady companion whispered to us that Ms. Cabebe had sold her standing crop of Lasona to a trader from Urdaneta City for a big sum. With Maserati, she could expect an even higher income.
Maserati is a hybrid that is planted with the use of seeds instead of bulblets as in the case of the ordinary Lasona. When seeds are used, the planbts are healthy from the start because there is no infection of the planting materials. When bulblets are used, it is very possible that the planting materials are infected with disease organisms which could result in poor yield.
Madriaga sowed his seeds in a seedbed and transplanted the seedlings when they were 28 days old with three leaves. Transplanting is easy at 4 inches between hills. After 80 days from planting, the bulbs are harvestable.
The Ramgo Team that collaborated with Madriaga in staging the Allium Festival was headed by no less than Ramgo President Pamela Ong Chan. Other Ramgo personnel who were there included Arielina Arevalo, Venus Cariazo, Fredelyn Vinoya, Rachelle Reyno, Mary Faith Talavera, John Mark Trinidad, and Frevian Camba.
By the way, Madriaga is the Barangay chairman of Tay-ac which speaks well of his leadership. He is a crative farmer who implements techniques in farming that maximize the use of limited farm space to produce food and other agricultural products.
He grows vegetables and other high-value crops year-round. These include ampalaya, tomato, cucumber, okra, string beans and others. By using irrigation pumps, especially during the dry months, he is able to produce different valuable crops for sale throughout the year.