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Philippine Farmer Finds Profitability in Polyculture

April 13, 2011
PHILIPPINES – Tilapia farmers in the northern province of Isabela province are expected to find their income go notches higher with the successful result of a demonstration project on polyculture technology.

Compared to monoculture (single-species) farming, polyculture offers additional income with the maximum utilization of a fishpond, by the simultaneous culture of two or more non-competing species, reports GMA news.

According to the news agency, during the Harvest Field Day at Raniag village in Isabela’s aquaculture town of Ramon last week, demo cooperator Teresita Toquero said that she was able to successfully raise tilapia, common carp (burasi / russian / butchug) and African catfish (hito) in her 1,000-square-meter pond in a 4-month period.

She reported an additional income of around P10,000 more from the usual P17,000 estimated by the Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources (BFAR).

“The carp, being pond bottom feeders and dwellers, helps maintain water quality by eating excess feeds and other detritus, while hito prevents overcrowding and unnecessary feed and oxygen competition by feeding on offspring of the tilapia,” explained Hermogenes Tambalque, BFAR Extension chief for the Cagayan Valley region, to GMA news.

Emphasizing the importance of proper stocking ratio and timing, Tambalque said the project was stocked with 5,000 pieces of fingerlings, 80 percent of which were tilapia being the primary stock, 15 percent carp and 5 percent hito.

The cigarette-sized hito fingerlings, likewise, were introduced one month after the carp and tilapia were stocked to prevent predation.

TheFishSite News Desk

Raising and Production of Catfish (Hito)

April 13, 2011

There are two common varieties of catfish in the Philippines – one that is our own native hito that thrives in rice fields and rivers, sometimes in muddy places; and the other one brought over from Thailand or Taiwan. Both kinds can be raised and grown commercially. Within four months, hito can grow as big as a size weighing 300-400 grams or three in a kilo. In Taiwan, they grow hito as big as two kilos each.

Clarias batrachus is a black, slippery fish with moustache to aid it in swimming. It is called catfish in English, hito in Ilocos, ito in Pampanga, and pantatin in Pangasinan, Cebu and Iloilo. Catfish are usually found in marshes, ricefields, swamps, streams, rivers, lakes irrigation canals, or in any body or fresh water.

Catfish farming requires extremely heavy stocking (75 to 100 fingerlings per squire meter) and intensive feeding (90 per cent protein). Hito fry supplies are few; thus, those who go into catfish raising depend on natural sources for fry. But with proper planning and management, the hito farmers can produce his own supply of frees.

The size of the ponds depends on your available capital. The minimum size is 50 square meter (sq m) and should be located in low and flat areas. Land where pesticides have been regularly used should be avoided. Choose a shady area so that fish will have shade when the sun is intense and lumot or moss will grow easily. The area should also have a good supply of water either from wells, spring or run-off ponds.

There are two ways to prepare your ponds. The dug-out excavated type is made by digging the soil of the desired area at least one to one-and-a-half (1 1/2) meters (m) deep. The soil removed is used to build perimeter dikes 2 m high from the base to the top. The inner sides of the ponds is made firm by pressing with a heavy log or board. This will prevent the catfish from climbing or burrowing through the sides. A water pipe, 7.62 centimeters (cm) in diameter should be installed in the middle of the ponds so water can run through it slowly. This aerates the pond water and discourages the catfish from digging and stirring the pond bottom.

The dug-out concrete type also follows the same principle, except that the walling is made of 10 cm x 20 cm x 41 x cm concrete hallow blocks. The bottom is covered with a 15 cm-thick layer of clay soil and planted with aquatic plants like tapo grass, water lily, or kangkong to create the natural habitat for the fish.

Stocking rate. The extremely heavy stocking method produces a minimum poundage of fish per unit area. Catfish farming produces 2 crops a year at an average rearing period of 5 to 6 months. It is best to stock in the late afternoon or early morning when it is cool.

The stocking rate depends on size of fish and depth of water. (See figures below.)

Size of fish | #of Fish | stock/sqm surface | period (months)
3 to 4 cm | 60 pcs/kg | 80 to 100 | 5 to 6
5 to 6 cm | 50 pcs/kg | 60 to 80 | 4 to 5
7 to 10 cm | 30 pcs/kg | 40 to 60 | 3 to 4

Catfish are carnivorous so their feed is 90 per cent meat or other protein sources. These can be ground fresh trash fish , worms, insects, slaughterhouse by-products, chicken entrails, dried or fresh water shrimp, fish of fall and by-products of canning factories. The remaining 10 per cent is composed of boiled broken rice mixed with vegetables or rice bran. To augment food supply, install strong light over pond to attract insects.

Feed the catfish twice a day. To avoid waste, give the feeds slowly, by handful, until the fish stop eating. Daily feed ration is 6-7 per cent of the fish stock’s body weight. If the fish remains small after giving them the necessary feed, provide them with 30 kilograms of farmyard manure. Add 5 to 10 per cent carbohydrates in the feed to enhance the stock growth rate. Trash feed should be fresh to maintain the nutritive value. Never overfeed since the excess would only pollute the water causing death or stunted growth.

Mating and spawning. Female catfish ready to spawn or to produce offspring builds its nest of debris or roots of aquatic plants like water hyacinths, kangkong, or filamentous algae. It spawns in shallow water, 30 cm to 60 cm deep.

Males and females ready to make frequent the nest area. Courting starts by chasing each other, darting sideways, pressing their abdominal regions together. This constantly movement is repeated several times until the females releases the eggs and male milt or sperms is simultaneously ejaculated. Fertilizer takes place at 27° to 30°C water temperature.

The number of eggs laid range from a few hundreds to several thousands.

Never scrimp on feeds especially during this period, remember that catfish are cannibalistic and quarrelsome. If the parent fish are very hungry, they may gobble up the young as quickly as any other food that come their way.

One drawback that discourages people from catfish farming is the lack of fingerlings. The following process will assure you a continuous supply of fingerlings.

There two methods effecting spawning by hormone injection. Both methods use the most gravid or pregnant females and healthy. mature males, each weighing at least 200 grams (g).

The body of the pregnant hito is distended prominently, the genital part pinkies, and the blood vessels on its belly prominent. Breeders should be conditioned first in the concrete or semi-concrete tanks/vats 2 to 5 months before they are injected with hormone.

The natural method entails injecting hormones to gravid females and male catfish through their coal regions or bases located on the posterior side of the pelvic fin. Use commercial hormone preparation like gonadotropin or synahorin. If these preparations are not available, use fresh of fish. Each female hito should be receive 200 to 250 IU (international units) of gonadotropin, while each male, 50 IU. Wrap fish in a small net so they will not struggle during injection. After injection, put the male and female together in an oxygenated tank provided with an improvised fish nest made of cabo negro(blank palm fibers).

The stripping method requires several male catfish milters to be killed. Use forceps to remove their testes which is pinkish yellow and soak in Ringer’s solution. Extract sperm by macerating the testes in the distilled water. Use sperm to fertilize breeder’s eggs. Inject hormone (mentioned earlier) into the gravidbreeder’s body. Inject at the side of the fish’s body, a little above lateral line, with this dosage: gonadotropin = 750 to 1,500 IU; synahorin = 1,000 to 1,500 IU. After 12 hours, squeeze the breeder’s abdomen to force the eggs out. A 250-gram breeder produces 8,000 to 15,000 eggs. Mix eggs with sperm and stir for a minute. Spread eggs thinly over hatching troughs which are immersed in running water with a temperature of 26° to 36°C. Eggs hatch 24 to 36 hours later.

Transfer the hatch larvae in basins half-filled with water. The young fish will absorb all the egg yolk in 5 days. After this period, they will begin to swim active and take food.

You can rear 15,000 to 20,000 frys in a space of 1 x 3 x 6 m. Minute organisms are the best food for the fry at the early stage. Twenty thousand (20,000) fry needs 20,000 liters (1) of zooplankton every morning plus a kilo of fish flesh and 250 g of peanut cake in the afternoon. After one week, fry should have grown to 1.5-4.3 cm long.

Aurora lab to tissue-culture seaweeds

April 13, 2011

March 18, 2011, 5:29pm

AURORA, Philippines — Seaweed farmers in Aurora will soon be assured of access to good quality planting materials with the establishment of a seaweed tissue culture laboratory located at the ABMATC Compound in Barangay Zabali, Baler, Aurora. It was recently inaugurated by Agriculture Secretary Proceso Alcala.

Funded by the Department of Agriculture-Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources (DA-BFAR) and managed by BFAR Regional Office 3, the P1.75-million seaweed tissue culture laboratory aims to address the declining productivity of farmed seaweeds through branch and spore cultures and micropropagation techniques.

BFAR has observed that local seaweed farmers have been using cuttings taken from the same plant as planting materials for five continuous croppings, which could lead to yield and quality deterioration. BFAR said that to maintain the yield and quality, a parent stock can be used as a source of planting materials for a maximum of three continuous croppings only.

According to Carmen Agustin, chief of Fish Health Section of BFAR RO3 and the supervisor of the seaweed laboratory, the BFAR tissue culture seaweed laboratory intends to preserve the genetic material of native farmed seaweed species and improve the existing seedstocks in farms. Likewise, the laboratory will assure seaweed farmers in Aurora of healthy planting materials in times when there is insufficient supply due to calamities and disease infestation.

Agustin said that they are starting with Gracilaria sp. and Kappaphycus alvarezii species which are traditionally grown by the local seaweed farmers. Based on findings from their initial experiments, K. alvarezii strain from Masinloc, Zambales is viable for farming in Aurora. The same is observed with Gracilaria which can be used as a feed for abalone raised in the mariculture park.

The BFAR laboratory has a potential annual production capacity of 114,000 planting materials. The initial production, Agustin said, will be distributed for free to 200 seaweed farmers at 500 kg per farmer as starting stock. Prior to distribution to farmers, the tissue-cultured seaweeds will first be outplanted in the nurseries for 45 days to harden them.

The BFAR seaweed tissue culture laboratory is the first seaweed laboratory in Central Luzon and is one of the six existing seaweed laboratories all over the country. It is one of the major project components of the Casiguran Mariculture Park which covers an area of 321.6 hectares in Casiguran Bay. With this project, the province of Aurora is aiming to expand its seaweed culture area from the current 150 hectares to 1,000 hectares in the coming years.

Hybrid seeds’ high impact

April 13, 2011
March 30, 2011, 4:15pm

MANILA, Philippines — We just received the results of a recent research on the impact of improved vegetable seed varieties in five countries that included Thailand, Indonesia, Vietnam, India and the Philippines.

The study surveyed the yield as well as the incomes obtained by farmers who planted improved seeds, mostly hybrids, vis a vis farmers who planted the traditional open-pollinated varieties (OPV).

Results show that net profits achieved by farmers planting hybrid seeds often increased by 50 percent. Adopters of hybrid tomatoes and chili peppers in Java, Indonesia, for instance, have obtained yields that are two times those of the non-adopters. They also made a much bigger gross profit.

For instance,79 Indonesian farmers who planted the Permata hybrid tomato made a gross profit of US$3,607 per hectare equivalent to P155,101 in Philippine money. On the other hand, the six farmers who planted the traditional variety made a gross profit of only US$1,673 or P72,440 per hectare.

The same was true with the Indonesian farmers who planted hybrid chili pepper. They made a profit of US$4,444 or P192,425 per hectare compared to the profit of US$2,502 (P108,336) made by those who planted the open-pollinated varieties.

In Vietnam, the farmers who planted hybrid ampalaya made a gross profit of US$1,581 (P71,055.30) per hectare compared to US$984 (P42,607) for the non-adopters.

In the Philippines, farmers who planted the Casino hybrid eggplant from East-West Seed Company reported increased perceived net income of 69.1%. On the other hand, those who planted Dragon watermelon reported 20.8% as their increased perceived net income.

Why did the farmers shift to hybrid seeds? Higher yields and market demand were the major reasons cited by farmers for adopting new hybrid seed varieties. Other reasons for adoption are better disease resistance, easier crop management, improved shelf life and preferred consumer traits.

The report noted that despite the overall positive results, some farmers reported more modest increases in income or even losses after the adoption of the improved varieties. This was attributed largely to location-specific reasons such as low yields due to poor weather, insect or pest infestation or disease; poor seed or soil quality; or high input costs. Early adopters of improved seed varieties were found to be more likely to experience greater benefits than later adopters.

The researchers suggest that dissemination of technical and economic information by demonstrations of the benefits by private seed companies and government agencies are especially critical to the spread of improved seed varieties. In addition, the availability of credit is particularly important as a lack of capital, especially among smallholder and poor farmers, was identified as the major inhibitor to adoption.

The research organizations that conducted the research project included the Asian Institute of Technology (Thailand), Indonesian Vegetable Research Institute, Benguet State University (Philippines), Wageningen University and Research Center (Netherlands), Tamil Nadu Agricultural University (India) and Ho Chi Minh City Agricultural University (Vietnam). Hybrid cucumbers, chili peppers, tomato, ampalaya, watermelon, sweet corn and eggplant were among the crops studied.

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Seaweed farming in  Lanao Norte – More and more people living in coastal areas in Lanao del Norte are turning to seaweed farming. Recently some 131 seaweed farmers from Brgys. Pigcarangan and Tanguegueron in the capital town of Tubod received 60 kilos of planting materials from the provincial agriculturist’s office and the Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources (BFAR). These planting materials will be used by the farmers to exponentially increase their stocks.


According to Asuncion Maputol, BFAR assistant regional director, if good weather prevails, the farmers can earn as much as P100,000 to P200,000 per hectare. The only thing that the farmers will do is to nurture the seaweeds so that they will grow fast and healthy.

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Masinag Organic Farming– Agriculture Secretary Proceso J. Alcala saw for himself how organic rice farming is being done in Central Luzon. This was during the recent field day in Victoria, Tarlac where the so-called Masinag fertilizer management technology was demonstrated.

The technology is being promoted by the Revolutionary Solutions, Technologies and Products (RSTP) in partnership with Central Luzon State University and financed by the Land Bank of the Philippines.

The use of the Masinag organic fertilizer technology is claimed to have enabled rice farmers to harvest 30 percent more from their crops yet saving 10% to 50% on chemical fertilizer costs.

The Masinag liquid fertilizer is a combination of regular commercial fertilizers and fruit and plant extracts. The concoction is directly applied to the soil before, during, and after transplanting.

Dr. Nenita de la Cruz of CLSU said that when Masinag liquid fertilizer was combined with commercial fertilizers, farmers were able to harvest up to 160 cavans per hectare, 45 cavans more than their previous average yield of 115 cavans per hectare.

New developments to boost Aurora fish production

April 13, 2011
March 23, 2011, 2:14pm

AURORA, Philippines — Fisherfolk in Aurora can expect a boost in the province’s fishery output with the new developments that can further enhance fish production, especially in the areas covered by the 321-hectare Casiguran Mariculture Park.

Last February, Agriculture Secretary Proceso Alcala together with the officials from the Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources (BFAR) and the Southeast Asian Fisheries Development Center (SEAFDEC) inaugurated the Multi-Species Hatchery, the Blue Crab Breeding and Hatchery, and the Seaweed Tissue Culture Laboratory in Baler; the Multi-Species Nursery in Dipaculao; and also launched the P10-million fishcage project in the Casiguran Mariculture Park which will benefit fishermen in the whole province.

The Casiguran Mariculture Park has several components covering the entire production chain – from broodstock, to nursery up to processing plants. The recent developments, according BFAR, will increase fisheries production in Aurora by at least fifty percent and will contribute to fish sufficiency not only in Aurora but in nearby provinces as well such as Nueva Ecija, Nueva Viscaya, Quirino and Isabela.

Multi-Species Nursery

The Multi-Species Nursery in Dipaculao town aims to annually produce 2.38 million post-fingerlings of milkfish and other high-value marine finfishes that will sustain the intensive requirement of the marine cages in the Casiguran Mariculture Park.

BFAR said that Dipaculao was found suitable for nursery establish¬ment because of its good quality supply of marine and freshwater. It is also accessible by land transportation.

The nursery boasts of 21,125-square meter nursery ponds and 27,382-square meter transition ponds. Nursery ponds are where fish are reared from fry to fingerling stage (1 to 30 days) after which the fingerlings will be trans-ferred to transition ponds up to post-fingerling stage (31-60 days).

At a stocking rate of 50 fry per square meter, the nursery ponds can accommodate a total of 1,012,500 pieces of 21-day old milkfish fry; while transition ponds can hold 528,125 pieces of 2- to 3-inch milkfish fingerlings at a stocking rate of 20 pieces per square meter. The recorded survival rate is 50% for nursery ponds and 90% for transition ponds. These result in 475,312 milkfish fingerlings per run (cycle) or a total of 2,376,560 fingerlings a year.

In addition, BFAR has awarded a patrol boat to Dipaculao under PL 480 to improve its enforcement capability in fishery and coastal resources management.

Multi-Species Fish Hatchery

Located about 100 meters away from Port Cemento and 10 kilometers away from Baler town proper, the Multi-Species Fish Hatchery in Brgy. Zabali can produce 40-million fry annually which will be absorbed by the finfish nurseries for rearing into fingerlings. The fingerlings will be supplied to the marine cages in the mariculture park.

The species to be cultured include milkfish, seabass, saline-tolerant tilapia, pompano, and abalone, among others.

The hatchery has 24 units of natural food tanks with a total capacity of 15,000 liters; 16 units of larval rearing tanks with a total capacity of 15,000 liters; and 17 units of nursery tanks with 14,000 tons total capacity. At a stocking rate of 20 larvae per liter, 4 million fry (21-day old) milkfish can be produced per cycle. Fry mortality was recorded at 85 percent.

Like the Dipaculao Fish Nursery, the Multi-Species Hatchery project is implemented by DA-BFAR, local government unit of Casiguran, SEAFDEC, and the offices of Senator Edgardo Angara and Congressman Juan Edgardo Angara. Both facilities started their operations in March 2011.

Blue Crab Breeding and Hatchery

The Blue Crab Breeding and Hatchery is located at the Aurora Brackish water Marine Aquaculture Technology Center (ABMATC) inside the campus of Aurora State College of Technology in Brgy. Zabali, Baler. Rehabilitated in October 2010, the facility became fully operational in December 2010 and is now targeting an annual production of 500,000 to 1,500,000 crablets of blue crab (Portunus pelagicus).

The hatchery is managed by BFAR RRegional Office 3 and SEAFDEC with initial technical assistance from BFAR Regional Office 8 which was the first to successfully breed blue crab in captivity.

Due to the decline in blue crab population in the wild, project leader Wilfredo Cruz said that they gathered stocks from the wild and breed these in captivity to sustain its production and meet the growing demand in the market.

BFAR said the crablets will be intended for culture in ponds, cages and for stock enhancement in mangrove areas in the municipalities of Baler, Dipaculao, Dinalungan, Casiguran, San Luis, and Dingalan. BFAR also aims to promote the crablet industry by developing value-added products from blue crab for local and export markets.

The breeding facility consists of eight 20-cubic meter algal tanks, five 1-cubic meter rotifer tanks, and five 20-cubic meter larval rearing tanks.

Aside from blue crab, the facility also produces broodstocks of grouper, pangasius, prawn, saline-tolerant tilapia, and red tilapia.

Seaweed Tissue-Culture Lab

Also situated in ABMATC and managed by BFAR Region 3, the P1.75-million seaweed tissue culture laboratory will address productivity declines by rehabilitating planting materials in laboratories through branch and spore cultures and micropropagation.

According to Carmen Agustin, chief of Fish Health Section of BFAR Rgion 3 and the supervisor of the seaweed laboratory, the BFAR tissue-culture seaweed laboratory intends to preserve the genetic material of native farmed seaweed species and improve the existing seedstocks in farms. Likewise, the laboratory will assure seaweed farmers in Aurora of healthy planting materials in times when there is insufficient supply due to calamities and disease infestation.

Gracilaria sp. and Kappaphycus alvarezii will be the main species to be cultured by the laboratory. This is due to the high viability of these species under Aurora’s condition as shown in initial experiments conducted by BFAR Region 3. In addition, K. alvarezii can be beneficial to the mariculture park as it can be used as food for abalone.

The BFAR laboratory can produce 114,000 planting materials annually. Initially, it will be distributed for free to 200 seaweed farmers in the province at 500 kg per farmer as starting stock.

P10-million fishcage project

Hundreds of small fishermen in Casiguran will benefit from the P10-million fishcage project in the Casiguran Mariculture Park which is initiated by BFAR RO3.

The project aims to improve the productivity of the milkfish industry in Aurora by establishing environment-friendly production technologies, strengthening the technical capabilities of marine finfish culture technologies for the identified family beneficiaries, and to generate income for the local fisherfolk as they will be encouraged to cater to small owner-operated enterprises.

A total of 32 cages will be installed by BFAR at the Casiguran Mariculture Park and these were awarded to the beneficiaries identified by the LGU of Casiguran and APECO. Last February 18, Secretary Alcala led the ceremonial stocking of milkfish fingerlings as well as the turnover of the initial batch of fishcages to the beneficiaries.

The cages have features designed by Secretary Alcala, thus called Alcala fishcage model. Here, milkfish and sea cucumber will be raised at the same time. Milkfish will be raised on the top cage while sea cucumber will be at the bottom, where they will serve as “biofilters” or eaters of surplus feeds and wastes of milkfish.

The estimated cost for one-unit fishcage is approximately P200,000. Each cage is estimated to produce at least 4,000 kg every three months. At a current price of P90 per kg of milkfish in Casiguran, beneficiaries will gross P360,000 per cage.

Secretary Alcala made sure that small fishermen will directly benefit from the fishcage livelihood project so that their economic conditions will also improve. Part of the project is the provision of hands-on training on milkfish cage culture including the operation and maintenance of the project.

The DA chief urged the fishermen to form a cooperative for them to have access to other services and benefits provided by other agencies. “We will train them to stock and harvest bangus on a rotation basis, at least every two weeks, so that they will have steady income year round,” Sec. Alcala said.

BFAR Director Malcolm Sarmiento said that BFAR will put up a mini ice plant with a capacity of three tons to provide the ice requirements of the harvested milkfish during transports to markets. A refrigerated truck courtesy of the Philippine Center for Postharvest Development and Mechanization will also be provided by DA.

Updates on Mariculture Parks

BFAR Assistant Director Gil Adora said during a recent discussion organized by the National Academy of Science and Technology (NAST) that mariculture development has completely overturned and transformed the usual approach to fishing as an occupation for coastal communities at it has become their alternative source of income.

The concept of mariculture park, according to Adora, is the rationalization of marine resources so that marine production should be sustainable. He said that the basic principle is to transform and change the current practices of fisherfolk into a set of more efficient and effective practices in attaining their food security needs and income.

Adora said that mariculture parks promote sea farming as a major livelihood of coastal fishermen, accelerate socio-economic growth and food security, provide appropriate structure, equipment and services to operate cost-effectively, develop skilled and technically-capable fisherfolk to support the industry, and stimulate a favorable investment climate for the mariculture industry and its ancillary services.

Under the scheme, the government regulates the number and sizes of cages and other structures used in the culture of the recommended species. This way, stocking densities can be regulated based on the capacity of the area.

Adora reported that as of February 2011, there were 51 established mariculture parks covering 49,553.57 hectaes all over the country, and there are 11 more to be launched which will cover a total of 876.45 hectares.

The existing mariculture parks have 5,000 cages installed, with the private sector having the highest number of cages with 4,335 followed by BFAR with 575, and the LGUs with 90 cages installed.

Organically Grown Rice Coming From Southern Mindanao Available Now!

February 28, 2011

GOOD NEWS! Organic rice is available this week. Varieties: V10 and M3-1-2 Premium Rice (P1800) and Aromatic Fancy Rice of various sizes, aroma and colors (P2000). Just contact me if you are interested. We only have 250-500 sacks coming this month. Let us support the advocacy for organic farming, integrity of creation, and healthy lifestyle!

You may contact me through:

Cellular Phone Number: 09209103029
Telephone Number: 0833030225

Next organically grown product to be harvested for marketing is ORANGE PULP LAKATAN BANANA. Expected date of harvest: April. Areas: 6 hectares. Four to five months later we will be harvesting 53 hectares of our lakatan plantation. If you are  also interested to buy our indigenous TINIGIB corn seeds just contact us because we will harvest it this month of March.

Salt, Leaves of Madre de Cacao hasten ripening of fruits

February 25, 2011

Abe V Rotor

It is true.

Not only that sodium chloride hastens ripening. It seals the base of the peduncle (fruit stem) and protects the fruit from fungi and bacteria that may cause rotting during ripening. Not all fruits though respond to this treatment, especially those harvested when still immature.

This is a common practice of old folks on chico, nangka, atis, guava, guyabano, papaya, mango, and the like. It is effective. Here is another ripening technique.

Old folks use fresh leaves of madre de cacao or kakawate (Gliricida sepium) to ripen banana, papaya, mango, chico, guyabano, atis, avocado, and others.

The fruits are placed in an earthen jar lined with a layer or two of kakawate leaves. The jar is closed or inverted in order to trap the ethylene gas that catalyzes the softening of pectin and the conversion of complex to simple sugar. Ripening takes around three days. Plastic bag is a good substitute for jar.

Unlike the commercial method of using carbide (carburo), kakawate ripened fruits, assuming they were picked at proper maturity, retain their natural taste, color and aroma as if they were ripened on the tree.

Living with Folk Wisdom, AVR, UST Manila