High garlic price forces change in product dev’t
LA TRINIDAD, Benguet—The rise in garlic prices has forced Benguet State University (BSU) here to redo an organic pesticide product it has developed, which relies heavily on garlic.
Dr. Luciana Villanueva, BSU vice president for research development and extension, said the pesticide would have helped make organic vegetables grown here cost-effective commodities.
Benguet province supplies most of the vegetables in Metro Manila.
The organic pesticide uses garlic and chili as main ingredients, which were not expensive when they started their research three years ago, Villanueva said.
She said they designed the fertilizer, using indigenous materials, to lower production cost.
“So we have to study how to maybe reduce or remove garlic from the equation because continuing with the mass production of this particular invention would defeat the purpose of lowering production cost,” she said.
Aside from garlic and chili, there are also beneficial microorganisms in the BSU pesticide, she said. “We are thinking of increasing the microorganism content in place of garlic. But we still need to calculate a new chemical mixture,” she said.
Seeking ways to lower farm inputs is part of BSU’s commitment to help provide farmers with a fighting chance against imported vegetables that will flood the country once the Asean Free Trade Agreement is implemented in 2015, Villanueva said.
Broccoli also a fertilizer
Apart from organic pesticides, BSU is also developing organic fertilizers using readily available crops, like broccoli.
Villanueva said research studies showed that decomposing broccoli produces pathogens that eliminate pests common to strawberries. She advised farmers to rotate planting broccoli with strawberry for better yield and lower production cost.
“It is even very easy. After harvesting, all they have to do is to chop the remaining leaves, stalks and even roots of broccoli and bury [them]. After three weeks, they can already plant strawberries,” she said.
In his speech during BSU’s 98th founding anniversary program on Wednesday, Gov. Nestor Fongwan urged the government to protect the vegetable industry from the Asean integration, stressing that over 50 percent of Benguet’s population depend on farming as a source of livelihood.
“We should not allow the vegetable industry to collapse,” he said.
He said the province suffered in 2001 when smuggled Chinese carrots flooded the market, after Typhoon “Feria” shut down access through Halsema Highway, the main road used by vegetable farmers. “Our farmers were not able to sell their carrots so these ended up rotting. We suffered for six months and we had to personally go to former President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo to ask for an intervention,” he said. Kimberlie Quitasol, Inquirer Northern Luzon
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