ILOCOS NORTE PROMOTES NEW WATERMELON CULTIVARS FOR FARMERS

LAOAG CITY — A Taiwan-based company that specializes in plant breeding is helping out local farmers here to increase their productivity by planting new hybrid varieties of fruits and vegetables adaptable to Ilocos soil conditions.

Julius Barcelona, Assistant to Vice General Manager of Known-You Seed Philippines, Inc. said that by planting high value and short-term hybrid varieties of fruits and vegetables, local farmers here become more commercially viable in terms of yield, uniformity and quality of produce.

As a company devoted to research and development of agricultural varieties that are superior to local and native varieties, Barcelona said each variety fulfills a particular requirement the market prefers.

Known-You Seed Co. has been in the country for about four years now, with branches in Pangasinan and some parts of the Visayas and Mindanao.

“Two years ago, there was a big typhoon (TS Mario) that swept Ilocos region and most of the farmers that planted watermelon were devastated except for the ones who planted ours,” said Barcelona which opened the market for their Buffalo watermelon, a huge black variety and some other varieties that are resilient to Ilocos region’s alternate wet and dry season.

Backed by the Provincial Government of Ilocos Norte, farmers here are being encourage to plant more resilient varieties of fruits and vegetables that can withstand erratic weather.

With an average yield of 30 tons per hectare, a farmer can have an approximate gross yield of Php 600,000 is sold at a high value of Php 20 per kilo or Php 150,000 per hectare if sold at a low of Php 5 per kilo.

In view of this, some farmers here had already started planting these new crops including some Hybrid vegetable seeds with the help of the Ambassador of Taiwan whom Ilocos Norte Governor Imee Marcos initially requested for help.

Now with local dealers in the market, these new hybrid varieties are now circulating in the province and some parts of Cagayan, Isabela, Central Luzon and in parts of Visayas and Mindanao.

“We are in the business of making others more successful. Agriculture industry is a good industry to be in. And you can only become successful if the farmer makes money,” Barcelona said citing the founder who started the company in Taiwan some 47 years ago was a son of a farmer who excelled in plant breeding in Japan and help more farmers to grow. PNA