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E-W pumpkin now a favorite in Sri Lanka

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By Zac B. Sarian

  • PIONEER RAJAH PLANTER – The new pumpkin hybrid, Rajah F1, developed by East-West Seed Company, has become a favorite of Sri Lankan farmers for very good reasons. The hybrid is high-yielding, resistant to virus diseases, and has excellent eating quality. Photo shows farmer RHM Banda, a pioneer planter of the new hybrid. He says that his harvest sells at a premium, fetching 15 rupees per kilo higher than the price of other varieties in the market.

  • MANGO FOR EXPORT – Mngo is an important export fruit from the Philippines. What is needed is production of more fruits that meet quality standards in the export market. Of course, that is a big challenge because there are many problems that are confronting mango farmers in the Philippines like pests and diseases, and stresses brought about by the changing climate.

  • CONSUMERS’ FAVORITE, TOO – Rajah F1 is also a favorite of consumers because of its excellent eating quality. It is well liked in preparing pumpkin curry dishes. Photo shows lady farmer and trader Nadika and Ric Reyes of East-West Seed holding fruits of Rajah F1 hybrid.

  • HONEY AND OTHER BEE BYPRODUCTS – Honey is a healthy food that Rico and Edilee Omoyon of Milea Farm in Batangas are specializing in. Aside from honey, the husband and wife are also producing beauty and health byproducts. The farm is also transforming into an agritourist destination and training center. Photo shows Rico Omoyon and their many bee products.

  • ORGANIC COFFEE – High-value products that include organic coffee have potential markets abroad. That’s because more and more consumers are looking for healthy products. Three different blends of organic coffee are shown in photo. These are produced in Negros Occidental which is a leading producer of organic food products, including sugar, rice and vegetables.

  • HOT CHILLI SAUCES – Photo shows a wide array of hot chilli sauce concoctions which could be developed into products for the export market. These are products of a group called Chilli Heads which stages an annual festival where they showcase their products. Growing chilli commercially is also a profitable project as proven by Jess Domingo, owner of Rancho Domingo in Ifugao and a practicing organic farmer. He processes hot chilli into flakes for added value. A kilo of fresh fruits can be worth P400 when converted into flakes.

    A new hybrid pumpkin developed by East-West Seed is becoming a favorite of Sri Lankan farmers, it was reported by Ric Reyes who has been visiting farmers in different countries growing E-W hybrids. Reyes is the Global Product and Market Combination manager of the company.

    The new hybrid is Rajah F1 which produces fruits with blotched dark green skin when not fully mature but which turn brown when fully mature. Average size is 3 to 5 kilos per fruit. Farmers claim that the new hybrid is high-yielding and with excellent eating quality. They have also observed it to be resistant to squash leaf curl virus, zucchini yellow mosaic virus and papaya ring spot virus.

    Rajah is a welcome replacement of Suprema, the first pumpkin hybrid produced by East-West which was renamed Arjuna in Sri Lanka. For more than 30 years, Suprema was the No. 1 choice of farmers in the Philippines and other countries. After all those long years, however, Arjuna (Suprema) has become susceptible to virus diseases.

    In a taste test in Sri Lanka, Rajah emerged No.1, according to Ric. It is a favorite in cooking pumpkin curry. Because of its excellent eating quality, fruits command 15 rupees higher per kilo than the other varieties in the market.

    *****

    FOOD EXPO 2018 –  The three-day Food Expo started yesterday and will end tomorrow, Sunday. On exhibit are various food products, fresh and processed, for the export as well as the local markets.

    In the meantime, here are seminars you might want to attend. For today, April 21, at 10 a.m., an Agribusiness Investment Forum is hosted by the Department of Agriculture’s Agribusiness marketing assistance service. It will be followed at 10:30 by a lecture on Renewable Energy in Food Manufacturing by Engr. Julius L. Mayorga, Science Research Specialist of the DOST-PCIEERD.

    At 1 p.m., Joel Yala, president of Chocovron Corporation, will discuss Threats to Food Business: Problems and Solutions to Food Pathogens. At 3 p.m. Crispin Muyrong Jr., operations manager of Sunlight Foods, will talk on Productivity and Innovation: Key to Competitiveness. A tax expert, Leandro Ben. M Robediso, will discuss Application of the TRAIN Law to the Food Industry.

    On Sunday, April 22, at 1 p.m., Franchising Opportunities in the Philippines will be discussed by Joselito Samson, AVP for Consultancy of Francorp. This will be followed at 3 p.m. by Engr. Romelen Tresvalles who will talk on Impact of DOST Set Up programs to SME adoptors. He is supervising science research specialist of DOST. At 5 o’clock, Reynaldo Dantes, managing partner of Packaging Services & Logistics Experts, will talk on Opportunities in Glass: See How Good It Is In Glass.

    CULINARY CHALLENGE – Today, at 1 p.m. Glorious Industrial & Development Corporation, growers of Stevia, will conduct a cooking demo on Healthy Pasta. This will be followed at 2;30 p.m. by a cooking demo also on Healthy Pasta by Jeverps Manufacturing Corporation. At 4 o’clock Mega Global Corporation will conduct a cooking demo on Modern Filipino Desserts.

    You have two days to visit the Food Expo under the auspices of Philfoodex. You will be glad you did.

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