TAYUG, PANGASINAN, MAY 4, 2008 (STAR) New generation of pinakbet crops developed By Rudy A. Fernandez — A new generation of pinakbet crops has been bred.

With most of these crops now part of the country’s vegetable landscape, these high-yielding, pest- and disease-resistant, and early-maturing varieties were products of years of research by the Allied Botanical Corp. (ABC), a fully Filipino privately-owned vegetable breeding company.

ABC, headed by Willy U. Co. president and general manager, began in 1984 as breeder of hybrid grain sorghum. It subsequently ventured into distribution of high quality vegetable and flower seeds from world-renowned brands.

After establishing its 23-hectare research farm in 1996 in this town 190 kilometers northeast of Manila, the company entered into a pinakbet range of tropical oriental vegetables. (Pinakbet is a popular Ilocano dish of a hodge-podge of vegetables cooked with bagoong or fish sauce and meat or fish.)

In 2004, ABC introduced new streams of hybrid varieties in the market. Now carrying more than 260 commercial varieties comprising 65 species of vegetables, Allied is consistently supplying today the needs of vegetable farmers nationwide.

This writer visited ABC’s research farm in Tayug recently to see the progress of its research on the pinakbet varieties. Those who briefed us were Dr. Bliss Aday, Cris Alibuyog, Jerry Romano, Romy Valdez, Ben Solomon Organo, Efren Buenaventura, Cristina Vidad, Rommel Lopez, and Nikki Farin.

The ABC pinakbet crops are Trident 357 F1, Poseidon F1, Sta. Lucia, all ampalaya (bitter gourd) varieties; Jupiter 208 F1, Neptune 206 F1, Uranus 201 F1, Rosalinda, all squash; Spitfire 252 F1, Mustang F1, both eggplant; Camiling Smooth, okra; Negrostar, Tristar, Greenstar, Sumilang, Maranaw, all yardlong beans; Atlas F1, Antares, Athena, all tomato. (F1 stands for first generation).

Released for commercial production during the past four years, these varieties are high yielders.

The tomatoes — Atlas, Antares, and Athena—yield 50 to 60 tons per hectare. Atlas, an all-season variety, is now widely grown in Pangasinan while Antares and Athena, both dry-season crops, are popular among farmers in Regions 1 (Ilocos), 2 (Cagayan Valley), 3 (Central Luzon), and 4 (Southern Tagalog).

Ordinary tomato varieties produce only 30 t/ha.

Ampalaya Trident 357 and Poseidon yield 40 t/ha while Sta. Lucia gives 30 t/ha. The traditional ampalaya varieties produce 25-30 t/ha.

The all-season ABC ampalaya varieties are now widely grown in Regions 1-4.

The squash varieties (Jupiter, Neptune, Uranus) yield an average of 25-32 t/ha as against the 12 t/ha of ordinary squash. The new varieties have been found to feel at home in Pangasinan, Nueva Vizcaya, Nueva Ecija, Isabela, and Albay.

Eggplant Mustang can yield from 31 to 35 t/ha while farmers can harvest 20-25 t/ha out of Spitfire. Mustang has an average of 25 fruits per plant while Spitfire has 17/plant. Both all-season, these varieties are now popularly planted in Regions 1-4.

The bean varieties are now being planted all year round in Regions 1-4, with yields ranging from 18 to 25 t/ha.

Camiling Smooth (okra), a five-tonner, can be grown throughout the year.

Chief News Editor: Sol Jose Vanzi

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