FASCINATED BY FRUIT TREES IN CONTAINER
MANY of the 130 attendees in the August 4, 2018 Agribiz Kapihan were fascinated by the exotic fruit trees that are grown in containers. They didn’t realize that fruit trees will bear full-size fruits even if they are just growing in containers.
In the power point presentation, the speaker showcased many exotic fruit trees growing in rubberized containers. These included different varieties of imported makopa, pomelo from the Philippines and other countries like Vietnam and Thailand, Several varieties have been collected which were used in soil conservation projects in the countryside, especially in sloping terrains. This grass develops long roots that enable it to survive very dry conditions and hold erosion in check. One Vetiver variety produced long leaves which were used by the womenfolk to make bags, baskets and mats.
The King was so proud of his Vetiver advocacy that forums on the grass were held a number of times attended by international visitors. He wanted to share his advocacy to other parts of the world. Vetiver grass helps conserve soil and water.
The King also initiated tissue-culture production not only of orchids but also of fruit trees. One example is a superior variety of jackfruit that was propagated through tissue culture.
ROYAL DEVELOPMENT STUDY CENTERS – Among the notable projects of the King in the rural areas are the so-called Royal Development Study Centers (RDSCs) where the expertise of scientists in the government agencies and private experts are harnessed to come up with practical solutions to problems confronting farmers.
The first RDSC, the Khao Hin Son, was established in 1978 in the province of Chachoengsao which was plagued with illegal logging leading to deforestation. The soil had become so poor that only cassava could be grown. So what was done? The experts conducted research to rehabilitate the soil and restore the balance of nature. The findings of the studies were disseminated chicos, Abiu from Brazil, Perante orange, guava, and several others.
The Agribiz Kapihan is a forum that is held every Saturday at the Harbest Events Center at the Rizal Techno Park in Taytay, Rizal. It is a brainchild of Toto Barcelona of Harbest Agribusiness. The forum is open free to the public but one has to pre-register at telephone no. 671-7411 to 14 or thru Alecci Jerez at (0946) 259-3560. to the farmers to improve their farming, eventually improving their income. The farmers were trained on land development, agricultural education, extension, forestry, livestock, fisheries and community development and promotion of cooperatives.
In another area, the problems were somewhat different. In the Huai Sai RDSC in the west coast of the Gulf of Thailand, the problems included excessive use of pesticides and wrong farming techniques which rendered the land unproductive. Again, the right solutions were developed and disseminated to the farming population. The planting of Vetiver grass was promoted to check soil erosion and make the land productive. The Huai Sai RDSC was established in 1983 covering an area of 2,500 hectares. Today, the farmers have become self-sufficient, according to a report.
Four other RDSCs were established in places where the communities faced challenges like mangrove deforestation, intrusion of salt water in agricultural lands, and other problems. In the course of developing practical solutions, diversified farming was promoted so that the farmers did not only depend on rice as their source of income. They were taught to produce baby corn, raise silkworm in their backyards, raise livestock, and engage in cottage industries.
Overall, the RDSCs helped rural people become more enterprising and self-dependent. The Centers significantly improved the people’s economic status. And that is just one of the reasons why we admire the late Thai King.
ATI Director Luz Taposok posing with a fruiting pomelo in a container.
Jason de Vera posing with the fruiting Perante orange that he bought at the Mini Tiangge at the Agribiz Kapihan.