Get Your Precious Crops Insured

Farming is a risky job. There are many unexpected things that might happen throughout the course of your food production venture. Seeds didn’t sprout. Plants devastated by typhoon and  pests. Rainfall became scarce. Then the expected yield was never realized. The worst case, you may never get your capital back and your are left crying in  the corner.

Yes, farming is risky but there are ways  to minimize the chance of lost. Use a hybrid and high yielding variety. Don’t plant during typhoon season. Keep up to date on latest cultural practices and pest & diseases preventing and fighting techniques. Provide a good irrigation. And, the uncommon thing in agricultural practice, getting a crop insurance. Apply for a crop insurance from Philippine Crop Insurance Corporation (PCIC). It is an attached agency of the Department of Agriculture responsible for issuing crop insurance to qualified farmers, crops, farm animals, area, season and form of loss.

PCIC Insurance Programs
– rice crop insurance
– corn crop insurance
– high-value commercial crop insurance
– livestock insurance
– non-crop agricultural asset insurance
– fisheries insurance
– and, term insurance packages

Before deploying the resources of yours, consider consulting PCIC. Know if you are qualified. Minimize your risk of crop loss.

For more information, please refer to:

Philippine Crop Insurance Corporation (PCIC)
3rd Floor, VAG Building, Ortigas Avenue
San Juan, Metro Manila 1502
Tel. No. (632)-721-5461 to 65
Fax No. (632)-727-1291Email:

Fresh Juice, Syrup, Ethanol and Other Products from Sweet Sorghum

Yet another no-waste crop, sweet sorghum.

Engr. Tony and Doris Arcangel of Bapamin Enterprises, Batac, Ilocos Norte thru Mag-Agri Tayo shared the products they are producing out of sweet sorghum. They are the following:

Fresh juice. A sweet extract gathered after passing the harvested stalks via mechanical presser.  Fresh extract can be drink as is, concentrated or mixed to other juice of different type.

Ethyl alcohol – They are bottling them as sanitizer for personal and hospital use. They are also willing to venture into large scale ethanol production if there will be an investor support on part of planting additional sweet sorghum crops. Ethyl alcohol or ethanol is a by-product of yeast activity. Under anaerobic condition the yeast consume sugar resulting to release of carbon dioxide and alcohol. The initial product is distilled once to several times depending on required concentration and purity.

Sweet Sorghum Syrup – They are claiming it as healthy and comparable to supplementary vitamin.  Syrup is made by evaporating some moisture component thru heating. Depending on sugar content, it may be classified as light, medium and heavy.

Vinegar. A resulting product when the ethanol or wine is contaminated with acetic acid bacteria or intentionally added with. The ethyl alcohol produced by yeast activity is converted to acetic acid in presence of oxygen.

They are also selling sweet sorghum grains and seeds and on the track in making flour for gluten-free bread. Sorghum is a no-waste commodity. Bagasse  can befermented as high moisture fodder that can be fed to ruminants or used as biofuel feedstock for anaerobic digesters.

Their main products is are marketed under the brand name Healtika. Their product research, development and marketing continues thru the help of Mariano Marcos Statte University (MMSU), Department of Agriculture – Bureau of Agricultural Research (DA-BAR) and Department of Science and Technology (DOST).

source: mag-agri tayo via: da-bar and youtube

The Pectin Contents of Sugar Palm…

I replied to her immediately saying sugar palm and coconut have no pectin or not a good source of. What was my basis? I based my quick response on similarities of fruits which are good pectin source. Known pectin rich fruits are citrus, pineapple, mangoes and other acid fruits. Sugar palm meat or kaong is not acidic as far as my reserve knowledge remembered.  However, my deduction is not accurate so I am going to check it later and update about the more accurate assessment.

Mr. Google gave me an exactly opposite result. I found a 2008 study entitled “Extraction of Pectin from Sugar Palm Meat”. It was stated that study authors were successful in extracting up to 20% of pectin using ethyl alcohol as solvent.

I got the study freely from the net, from  I am also hosting it here to help to its wider and faster distribution. Get the article here….

I forgot one important thing about kaong fruit. The sugar palm meat at its harvest maturity is becoming  a chewy gel, somewhat similar to nata de coco, when cooked. The gelling phenomenon might be contributed by high pectin content.

How Palay is Wasted, with approximate values

Rice is wasted through natural calamities, harvesting, processing, storage, transport, selling, over eating and other mishandling activities.

This post, How palay is wasted, is a sequel of above mentioned article. However it only covers the postharvest practices and it includes approximate values.

According to a study conducted by the Philippine Center for Postharvest Development Mechanization (PhilMech) and Philippine Rice Research Institute (PhilRice), 16 percent of total harvest is lost during harvesting, threshing, drying, milling and storage. The approximate postharvest losses last year 2011 was 2.66 million metric tons (MMT) based on the total harvest of 16.68 MMT.

Breakdown of losses: 1) 5.8% during drying because many are drying their palay on roads. 2) 5.5% during milling, about 88% of millers are still using single pass equipment with low recovery rate of 50 to 57% percent. Use of multi-pass mills, which have higher recovery rate of 65 to 70%, is recommended. 3) 2.2% during threshing. 4) 2% harvesting. and 5) 1% during storage and piling.

Adding all the values, 5.8 + 5.5 + 2.2 + 2 + 1, equates to 16.5 percent. Maybe it is really 16.5%, 2.75 MT, total losses.

Authorities are exerting efforts educating farmers. Hope they also help in acquiring and construction of modern equipment and new postharvest facilities. If the huge postharvest losses can be minimized, then the rice self sufficiency wanted by the President may come true.

Effects of HWD, Hot Water Dip, on Postharvest Quality of Saba and Latundan Banana

The method used. Dipping bananas in hot water, 47-49°C for ten minutes. Then stored normal condition. Chilling experiment was also done, stored at 8-10°C for 8 to 10 days.

HWD was able to reduce finger rot and anthracnose infection. No drastic effect on fruit ripening under normal surrounding up to six days. Saba bananas turned ripe soft two to three days later than untreated. Bananas subjected to further chill treatment had less chilling injuries. The same results were observed on Latundan.

Based from the study results, hot water dipping is a must to prevent postharvest diseases such as finger rot and anthracnose, delay fruit ripening, reduce chilling injuries and to attain better fruit quality.

The article was according to bar digest, “Hot Water Dip Improves Banana and Mango Fruit Quality” by Rita T. dela Cruz. Please refer to “Extended Hot Water Dip” for mango fruit information. I think EHWD instruction is more detailed and comprehensive. The latter study never included bananas though.

The study was conducted by Dr. Antonio Acedo Jr., Marilou Benitez, and Dr. Ma. Cherry Abit or Leyte State University, LSU.

HWD and EHWD are cheaper alternatives of Vapor Heat Treatment, VHT.

Insects and Contaminants Zero-Tolerance Policy

A May 24, 2012 Department of Agriculture news. About 170  40 footer banana containers were cleared of Aonidiella comperei infestation. Happened four days before the news release.

There are limited information about the species around the web. I am trying to find a nice picture with no success.

Chinese quarantine officials made a statement that our bananas were not placed under ban. They were just conducting a thorough 100 percent inspection after the insect discovery.

It was clear that they never want any form of introduced species which might harm their own industry.  The Philippines also has very strict policy regarding this matter. Preventing importation of meat when outbreak occurs in neighboring countries. Banning bird entry and thorough monitoring of migratory bird – regarding bird flu.  We should also comply with this wallet-crushing policy.

They sure had hard times inspecting tons and tons on bananas on 100% basis.

News reports flashed on television screens. Chinese Quarantine Department banned the Philippine bananas from entering the market. It happened not long after the Scarborough Shoal stand off and many speculated that it was part of their move against us.

China is second largest banana importer. The ruckus caused millions of losses to our local farming industry. Authorities were forced to go to China for clarifications and possible solutions.

Now local officials are calling for a zero-tolerance policy with respect to insect and other contaminants. No insect of any kind should pass our meticulous eyes. No contaminants either.

This time, a worm on veggies and fruits cannot save lives, it can waste millions of cash instead.