Agriculture - - Advocacy - BY PABLITO P. PAM­PLONA, PH.D.

Part 1, which dis­cussed the three Philip­pine govern­ment poli­cies that con­trib­ute to mak­ing co­conut farm­ers poorer—the pol­icy on cut­ting and re­plant­ing old co­conut trees, the co­conut ex­pan­sion pro­gram poli­cies, and the hy­brid pro­gram pol­icy—ap­peared in the Jan­uary 2016 is­sue of Agri­cul­ture Mag­a­zine. Part 2, which dis­cussed the four ma­jor rea­sons for the restora­tion and ex­pan­sion of the Philip­pine co­conut hy­bridiza­tion pro­gram, ap­peared in the Fe­bru­ary 2016 is­sue of Agri­cul­ture Mag­a­zine.

1. The out­stand­ing per­for­mance of the Matag hy­brid in UPB, Perak, Malaysia Hy­brid co­conut trees pro­duce high yields when pro­vided with ad­e­quate fer­til­iza­tion and at times, ir­ri­ga­tion. An ex­am­ple is the co­conut plan­ta­tion for the United Plan­ta­tion Ber­had (UPB) hy­brids in the prov­ince of Perak, Malaysia, which was vis­ited by the au­thor. It grows 5,000 hectares (ha) of Matag and other Philip­pine co­conut hy­brids.Matag is a hy­brid co­conut ob­tained by cross­ing the Malaysian Red Dwarf and Tag­nanan Tall, and was dis­cov­ered by a team of out­stand­ing Filipino breed­ers.

Aside from be­ing grown on a large plan­ta­tion in Malaysia, Matag is also pop­u­lar among Malaysian hor­ti­cul­tur­ists and land­scap­ers who pro­mote this hy­brid as a re­sort or home back­yard plant for both beau­ti­fi­ca­tion and food (Fig. 1). Through ex­ten­sive agro­nomic field re­search, UPB dis­cov­ered that Matag is highly re­spon­sive to fer­til­iza­tion in terms of early fruit­ing and high yield. Flow­er­ing comes in less than three years. At full ma­tu­rity (reached at five years) and on­ward, the hy­brid pro­duces from 29,000 to 35,000 nuts/ha per year or over eight tons of co­pra. Pro­duc­tion costs in­clude the cost of hy­brid seed­nuts, equiv­a­lent to R37, and the cost of 24 bags of fer­til­izer/ha per year or eight kilo­grams (kg)/tree per year. This brings the cost of fer­til­iza­tion to R33,000/ ha/year. The yield of eight tons of co­pra, at the low­est price of R20, gives the farm­ers a gross in­come of R160,000/ ha/year. Af­ter de­duct­ing the cost of fer­til­izer, their net in­come comes to R127,000/ ha/year.

UPB is now con­tracted by the Malaysian govern­ment to pro­duce large quan­ti­ties of ger­mi­nated Matag seed­nuts, which it buys and dis­trib­utes to small land­hold­ers prac­ti­cally for free to­gether

with a fer­til­izer dis­tri­bu­tion pack­age to en­sure that the farm­ers can achieve in­comes above the poverty thresh­old level.The lat­est in­for­ma­tion ob­tained by the au­thor from a third party is that thanks to re­search, UPB has been able to re­duce the cost of hy­brid seed­nut pro­duc­tion to less than R10 per seed­nut.

2. Fer­til­iza­tion and ir­ri­ga­tion bring about high co­conut yields in Thai­land Dur­ing the early part of Novem­ber 2015, the au­thor spent a

“Matag,” as ad­ver­tised in this Malaysian news­pa­per, is a very pop­u­lar crop in Malaysia and is used for back­yard beau­ti­fi­ca­tion and in com­mer­cial plan­ta­tions.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Philippines

© PressReader. All rights reserved.