Quantcast
Latest Stories

Strawberry thrives even in CamSur

By

LOWLAND STRAWBERRY Strawberry plants are thriving not just in Benguet’s cold climate, but also in a tropical one in Ocampo town in Camarines Sur. An agribusiness graduate has successfully propagated the plants in a lowland farm, including green apples and tangerine, and claims that his fruits are sweeter. JUAN ESCANDOR/INQUIRER SOUTHERN LUZON

OCAMPO, Camarines Sur—He’s a green thumb par excellence in these parts.

Agribusiness graduate Leonardo Libreja successfully propagated strawberry in the lowland of this town, demonstrating that the plant can thrive in a hot climate and bear fruit “sweeter” than those found in the Mountain Province.

It has been a common belief here that plants thriving in cold climate, such as strawberry, apple and tangerine (a citrus fruit similar to the mandarin orange) will barely survive in a tropical climate like in Ocampo town, northeast of Naga City.

Using a marcotted specimen from Hawaii, Libreja, 34, was also able to plant green apple and tangerine, and make them thrive and bear fruit on his farm. He plans to produce commercially the green apple and tangerine.

Marcottage is a method of propagation that induces a shoot or branch to take root while it is still attached to the parent plant.

University of Hawaii

Using a Hawaiian variety of strawberry he brought here after training from 2003 to 2005 at the College of Tropical Agriculture and Human Resources at University of Hawaii Minoa, Libreja took seven years to perfect the “acclimatization” of the variety that he is now starting to mass-produce.

Acclimatization is the process by which a plant is gradually made to adjust with the weather until it becomes used to it.

Libreja said what he did was to expose the strawberry plant to the heat of the sun in varying duration until he was able to create shoots that could withstand the hot climate.

Since the breakthrough, he has been able to produce the kind of strawberry plants that can thrive here and sell these to farms in Camarines Sur and Albay.

Farm boy

Libreja, who grew up on a farm and has loved cultivating crops, said he enjoyed spending long hours in backyard experiments clad in shorts, old shirt and flip-flops.

Farm work eventually became a passion that helped him unlock the secrets of raising strawberry.

After graduating in 2001 from an agribusiness course at Camarines Sur State Agricultural College (now Central Bicol State University of Agriculture), he told his father that he would concentrate on farming.

Two years later, he transformed their farm into an integrated system, complete with aquaculture production and innovative propagation of vegetables on bamboo trays that touch pond water.

He combined these with the planting of ornamental plants to complete the classic “bahay kubo” concept that won him the most outstanding young farmer honors in Bicol in 2003.

Through initiatives of the Department of Agriculture (DA), Libreja was granted an 18-month training in farming in Hawaii where he learned different skills in propagating crops and ornamental plants.

“I learned hydroponics farming, use of drip irrigation and several other techniques in propagating plants scientifically,”he said.

At the end of the 18-month training, Libreja obtained shoots of Hawaiian strawberry and grapes, and marcotted green apple and tangerine that he brought to the Philippines with help from the DA.

Excited to prove he could raise plants that could thrive in a different climate, Libreja planted green apple and tangerine in his farm in Barangay (village) Binit in this town, employing the same process of acclimatization that has helped the plants survive, thrive and bear fruit.

Steady income

But his most important discovery and creation was his success in propagating strawberry through commercial production of fruit-bearing plants, a feat that has been providing him with steady income since December last year.

Libreja sells ready-to-bear-fruit strawberry plants for P300 per plastic bag, an enterprise which he foresees would give him long-term income.

He said he would also branch out to propagating ready-to-bear-fruit grapes in plastic bags and other plants like an herb-like plant called stevia whose leaves are sweeter than sugarcane.

The stevia plant, which Libreja cultivates in his small garden store by the highway, has a distinctive sweet taste when chewed.

He said the garden store where he was cultivating his strawberries would be computerized this year through the installation of an electronic system that would control and monitor the irrigation of his plants.

Garden store

Libreja envisions a garden store where the plants he would sell differ from the other products sold like grafted roses with different colors in each branch or a citrus tree with different branches bearing different fruits.

He said he so mastered grafting such that 98 percent of his creations were surviving and thriving.

Libreja sees himself as becoming the sole distributor of heat-resistant strawberry seedlings with the increasing number of farms adopting his crops for wider commercial use.


Follow Us

Follow us on Facebook Follow on Twitter Follow on Twitter


Recent Stories:

Complete stories on our Digital Edition newsstand for tablets, netbooks and mobile phones; 14-issue free trial. About to step out? Get breaking alerts on your mobile.phone. Text ON INQ BREAKING to 4467, for Globe, Smart and Sun subscribers in the Philippines.

Tags: Agribusiness , Agriculture , Camarines Sur , Leonardo Libreja , Philippines - Regions , stevia , Strawberry , tangerine




Copyright © 2014, .
To subscribe to the Philippine Daily Inquirer newspaper in the Philippines, call +63 2 896-6000 for Metro Manila and Metro Cebu or email your subscription request here.
Factual errors? Contact the Philippine Daily Inquirer's day desk. Believe this article violates journalistic ethics? Contact the Inquirer's Reader's Advocate. Or write The Readers' Advocate:
c/o Philippine Daily Inquirer Chino Roces Avenue corner Yague and Mascardo Streets, Makati City, Metro Manila, Philippines Or fax nos. +63 2 8974793 to 94
Advertisement
  1. More legal woes for Cedric Lee
  2. Kim Henares needs a reprimand, says Cayetano
  3. ‘No real progress in PH if dynasties not dismantled’
  4. Massive infra spending set
  5. OFW brings MERS virus to Philippines
  6. DOJ to NBI: Arrest Cedric Lee, 4 others
  7. Cardinal Tagle to faithful: Join politics to clean it
  8. Estrada, Gigi Reyes denied access to evidence from other respondents
  9. Thoughts on Holy Week
  10. Lacson’s wife loses diamond earring to thieves but recovers jewelry quickly with police arrest
  1. Suspect in Vhong Navarro mauling tries to leave PH
  2. MH370 co-pilot made mid-flight phone call – report
  3. Netizens cry: 6/55 Lotto was rigged
  4. I’ll follow my conscience on Estrada, says JV Ejercito
  5. ‘Wife of Jesus’ theory papyrus not fake – Harvard study
  6. Fr. Suarez says last Mass on Easter before returning donated land to San Miguel
  7. Gay college instructor arrested for oral sex with student
  8. ‘King’ Yabut and I: Driver bares Makati dad ‘abuses’
  9. It was difficult having Japanese blood
  10. Palace: We can’t blame increase in population on Vitangcol
  1. KL confirms Malaysian Airlines Flight MH370 ended in Indian Ocean
  2. MRT passengers pass the hat for 6-year-old Ashley
  3. Pork payoffs to newscasters Erwin Tulfo, Del Prado, others bared
  4. UP back on top as ‘average’ student aces bar
  5. Rookie, lady cops lauded for quick response to MOA heist
  6. Model Helena Belmonte wished ‘to slash her wrist and hope to die’
  7. Malaysia averts another air tragedy; pilot lands troubled plane safely
  8. Revilla says he was joking; Lacson stands by his story
  9. Revilla ‘consulted’ Lacson on how he evaded arrest
  10. Police rule out foul play in Helena Belmonte’s death as boyfriend is ‘traumatized’
Advertisement

News

  • DOH asks co-passengers of OFW carrier to test for MERS-CoV
  • ‘Shouldn’t we move?’ Ferry evacuation under scrutiny
  • 5.5-magnitude quake hits Sultan Kudarat
  • Passengers denied chance to escape sinking South Korea ferry
  • Firetruck rams California eatery; 15 injured
  • Sports

  • PH youth boxers off to stumbling start in AIBA World tilt
  • Durant has 42, Thunder beat Pistons 112-111
  • Walker leads Bobcats over Bulls in OT, 91-86
  • Man City slips further out of title contention
  • Federer would skip tennis to be with wife, newborn
  • Lifestyle

  • Pro visual artists, lensmen to judge Pagcor’s photo contest
  • ‘Labahita a la bacalao’
  • This is not just a farm
  • Clams and garlic, softshell crab risotto–not your usual seafood fare for Holy Week
  • Moist, extra-tender blueberry muffins
  • Entertainment

  • Will Arnett files for divorce from Amy Poehler
  • American rapper cuts own penis, jumps off building
  • Jay Z to bring Made in America music fest to LA
  • Why Lucky has not bought an engagement ring for Angel
  • Derek more private with new girlfriend
  • Business

  • Asia stocks fail to match Wall Street gains
  • Fired Yahoo exec gets $58M for 15 months of work
  • PH presses bid to keep rice import controls
  • PSEi continues to gain
  • Number of retrenched workers rose by 42% in ’13
  • Technology

  • DOF: Tagaytay, QC best at handling funds
  • Smart phone apps and sites perfect for the Holy Week
  • Tech company: Change passwords or suffer ‘Heartbleed’
  • Filling the digital talent gap
  • SSS to shut down website for Holy Week
  • Opinion

  • Editorial cartoon, April 17, 2014
  • A humbler Church
  • Deepest darkness
  • ‘Agnihotra’ for Earth’s health
  • It’s the Holy Week, time to think of others
  • Global Nation

  • Syria most dangerous country for journalists, PH 3rd—watchdog
  • Japan says visa-free entry still a plan
  • First Fil-Am elected to Sierra Madre, Calif. city council
  • UC Irvine cultural night to dramatize clash of values in immigrant family
  • Filipino sweets and info served at UC Berkeley Spring Fest
  • Marketplace
    Advertisement