Luz Marcelino, DA Research division chief; Rosita Imperial, DA HVCDP regional coordinator holding MD-2 pineapple fruits. (Photo viaRaymond Adversario)
DAET, CAMARINES NORTE – Pineapple farmers here can now plant other varieties aside from the Queen Pineapple, which is known for its very sweet fruit and sturdy leaves.
Through a colourful harvest festival, the DA-operated Camarines Norte Lowland Rainfed Research Station in barangay Calasgasan, this town, has introduced two new varieties of pineapple, namely: Ulam and MD-2 hybrid pineapple from Davao and Bukidnon, respectively.
The two were tested under the soil and climatic conditions of Camarines Norte using different production methods that included medium density, low fertilizer planting techniques of farmers; the high density, medium fertilizer best practices for queen pineapple; and the high density, high fertilizer rate of Mindanao growers.
The Ulam variety has spiny leaves similar to Queen pineapple and was claimed to produce very sweet fruit with an edible core. While the MD-2 hybrid variety has similar plant stand with the spineless smooth cayenne or Hawaiian variety, but is said to produce sweeter fruit with no aftertaste when eaten. This variety is now being planted in Honduras and Mexico.
More than 100 pineapple growers, representatives from the municipal and provincial local government units in the province, from the DA regional office, and the Bureau of Plant Industry (BPI) in Manila, attended the harvest festival .
During the festival, the participants were challenged to various contests such as guessing the weight of the fruits, taste test and agronomic observations on the two pineapple varieties to determine which has better fruit sugar content and good plant characteristics.
Also present during the harvest festival were Flor Jarilla and Juanita Calibo of BPI Manila; Luz Marcelino, Chief of DA 5 Research Division and Manager of Bicol Experiment Station; Rosita Imperial, High Value Crops Development Program regional coordinator; former CNLRRS superintendent Emiliano Murillo; and Inocencio Obrero, former Senior Agriculturist and Agricultural Program Coordinating Officer, who was invited to share the results of the trial.
Obrero started the trial in October 2013 with the funding support from the Bureau of Plant Industry (BPI). Agriculture Secretary Proceso J. Alcala deemed to introduce these new varieties of pineapple from Mindanao in response to the claims that the yield of the Camarines Norte’s Queen pineapple or Formosa is getting smaller as the farmers are planting only one variety.
Obrero reported that ULAM and MD-2 variety can be grown under the soil and climatic condition of Camarines Norte using the local farmers practices or the best agricultural practices for the Queen pineapple. But he said only the MD-2 variety is now ready for commercialization and distribution to farmers as the intellectual property rights of the Ulam variety is still under negotiations.
Engr. Bella Frias, the newly installed CNLRRS Superintendent, said the station has been producing suckers of MD-2 variety and interested farmers can avail of the said planting materials from the CNLRRS at a minimum cost. (Lovella P. Guarin)