Fruits of the land, spoils of the sea

WHY ILOILO IS THE ‘FOOD HAVEN’ OF THE PHILIP­PINES

Agriculture - - Contents -

ILOILO is a city on the rise. De­vel­op­ment is up, with the re­cently opened Festive Walk Mall at the heart of Me­ga­world’s Iloilo Busi­ness Park, which is also home to ILOMOCA, the Iloilo Mu­seum of Con­tem­po­rary Art, two lux­u­ri­ous ho­tels – The Rich­monde Iloilo and Court­yard by Mar­riott, Iloilo Con­ven­tion Cen­ter, and lo­cal and in­ter­na­tional busi­nesses. Tourism is up, which is no sur­prise, since the province of­fers a wide range of ac­tiv­i­ties you can en­joy, with ac­cess to the nearby is­land of Guimaras. Then there’s food. The culinary scene in Iloilo is one that begs to be no­ticed, and no­tice it you will. In fact, a gas­tron­omy tour of the city is one of the ac­tiv­i­ties you go to Iloilo for. When you do, you would no­tice how the food scene in Iloilo is not to be taken lightly.

Here are five rea­sons why Iloilo is the “Food Haven” of the Philip­pines:

1. DI­VERSE RE­SOURCES A great deal of what sets Iloilo apart from some of the coun­try’s other food cap­i­tals is its ac­cess to abun­dant pro­duce from both the land and the sea.

Lo­cal crops are grown in var­i­ous parts of the West­ern Visayan is­lands of Panay and Ne­gros. “Be­cause we have up­lands and low­lands, we have sug­ar­canes, we have fruit trees, we have rice — black rice and red rice — and we even have

Wet the seedbeds and make shal­low lines 5 inches (in) apart. Sow thinly 200250 g of seeds and cover lightly with soil. Mulch with rice hull or chopped rice straw. Pro­vide rain shel­ter dur­ing the wet sea­son and water reg­u­larly.

(Bet­ter still, sow seeds in plas­tic seedling trays us­ing pro­cessed seedling me­dia like Bio­me­dia from No­vat­ech, or a mix­ture of car­bonized rice hull, co­co­peat, and sand.- ed­i­tor)

Trans­plant­ing and Main­te­nance Harden seedlings one week be­fore trans­plant­ing by de­creas­ing the fre­quency of wa­ter­ing and by fully ex­pos­ing the seedling to sun­light to min­i­mize trans­plant shock.

Trans­plant 4-5 week-old seedlings that are 3-4 inches tall with 7-8 true leaves. Leave a dis­tance of 40-50 cm be­tween plants. Main­tain 0.75 m-1 m dis­tance be­tween rows. If planted with other egg­plant va­ri­eties, main­tain an iso­la­tion dis­tance of at least 200 m to avoid cross-pol­li­na­tion.

Water the plants weekly.

Fer­til­izer Man­age­ment Ap­ply 12 bags of com­plete fer­til­izer (14-14-14) mixed with one bag muri­ate of potash (0-0-60) per hectare or equiv­a­lent to 20 g (2 tbsp) of fer­til­izer per plant be­fore trans­plant­ing. Ap­ply fer­til­izer at least 10 cm away from the seedlings. Use fully-dried chicken or an­i­mal ma­nure through basal ap­pli­ca­tion to im­prove soil con­di­tion and to sup­ply the plants with mi­cronu­tri­ents not found in com­mer­cial fer­til­iz­ers.

Use fer­mented plant juice from mar­ket refuse as fo­liar or­ganic fer­til­izer. Mix chopped fruits with equal parts of mo­lasses and fer­ment for one week, then ex­tract the juice. Ap­ply weekly dur­ing the fruit­ing stage at a rate of 1 ta­ble­spoon (tbsp)/4 liters (L) water.

Water Man­age­ment Water is es­sen­tial dur­ing the long grow­ing pe­riod. The amount of water needed de­pends on soil type and grow­ing con­di­tions. Water or ir­ri­gate by fur­rows as needed. Raised beds and fur­rows are still rec­om­mended even when the DLP va­ri­ety can with­stand pro­longed flood­ing and wa­ter­logged con­di­tions.

Pest and Dis­ease Man­age­ment Ma­jor pests in­clude aphids, green leaf­hop­per, thrips, and tip borer. Up­root and burn virus-in­fected plants to min­i­mize spread of dis­ease. Main­tain a weed-free field by weed­ing reg­u­larly or mulching with rice straw to pre­vent build-up of army worm, cot­ton leaf­hop­per, mites, fruit and shoot borer, and thrips. Plant early to con­trol thrips.

Re­move and burn fruits and shoots dam­aged by bor­ers. Gather and de­stroy eggmasses of fruit and shoot bor­ers found on the un­der­side of the leaves. To con­trol green leaf­hop­per, grow sac­ri­fi­cial plants such as okra around the area or use rec­om­mended pes­ti­cides.

In­stead of prac­tic­ing monocrop­ping, in­ter­crop egg­plant with other veg­eta­bles, as well as ce­re­als and legumes to min­i­mize pest in­ci­dence. Plant aro­matic crops such as al­li­ums, basil, gin­ger, lemon grass, and marigold to re­pel in­sects. Grow flow­er­ing plants such as cos­mos, sun­flower, and zin­nia as bor­der rows to at­tract ben­e­fi­cial in­sects.

To con­trol Pho­mop­sis rot, mulch and prune in­fected basal leaves and fruits. Spray chem­i­cal only for se­ri­ous dis­ease and in­sect in­fes­ta­tions.

Har­vest and Posthar­vest Han­dling Har­vest the fruits two weeks af­ter fruit set­ting when th­ese have reached full lus­ter and are firm enough. Har­vest twice a week to pre­vent fruits from be­com­ing too ma­ture or ripe and to re­duce dam­age from fruit bor­ers. Ex­clude dam­aged or de­formed fruits dur­ing har­vest to pre­vent spread of pests and dis­eases.

Line crates with ba­nana leaves be­fore pack­ing fruits. Do not ex­pose fruits to high tem­per­a­tures.

Seed Pro­duc­tion Soften fruits in­tended for seed pro­duc­tion by rolling them gen­tly on a flat sur­face or by beat­ing gen­tly with a wooden bat or stick. Ap­ply just enough pres­sure with­out crack­ing the fruit.

Cut a small por­tion at the end of the fruit pe­dun­cle, and open the whole fruit by hand to ex­pose the seeds. Sub­merge the fruits in a pail of water, and press out the seeds from the fi­brous tis­sues. Good seeds will set­tle at the bot­tom while the im­ma­ture seeds will float. Dis­card the im­ma­ture seeds and tis­sues, and re­fill the pail with water. Re­peat the process un­til no seeds float.

Place the clean seeds in net bags and airdry for 2-3 days, then sun-dry for 4-5 days while turn­ing the seeds from time to time. When oven-dry­ing, ini­tially dry the seeds to no more than 30 de­grees Cel­sius ( OC), and in­crease the tem­per­a­ture to 40OC as the seeds dry.

Store dry seeds in mois­ture-re­sis­tant pack­ag­ing ma­te­ri­als such as alu­minum-lined pack­ets, thick poly­eth­yl­ene plas­tic bags, tin cans, or glass jars. Place des­ic­cants such as cal­cium chlo­ride (CaCl ), char­coal, quick 2 lime, sil­ica gel, or wood ash at the bot­tom of con­tain­ers. Cover the con­tain­ers tightly and seal well. Store the con­tain­ers in a cool, dry place to pro­long the shelf life of seeds. (PCAARRD IN­FOR­MA­TION BUL­LETIN)

Em­panada by Prechy Peñaranda.

Oys­ters in La Paz Mar­ket.

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