Picture of Joeven C. Calasagsag
Malunggay seminar set at Agrilink
by Joeven C. Calasagsag - Friday, 16 September 2011, 11:37 AM
mb.com.ph; September 14, 2011, 3:05pm

MANILA, Philippines -- An expert from the Bureau of Plant Industry will conduct a seminar on malunggay foliage production during the Agrilink 2011 which will be held at the World Trade Center-Metro Manila on October 6 to 8.

Malunggay has long been touted by scientists and other groups as a “miracle tree” and has been endorsed as a low-cost solution to malnutrition. Almost every part of the tree can be used as food or for medicinal purposes – from roots, trunk, branches, leaves, flowers and seeds.

Malunggay is also a promising product for agribusiness which is steadily growing in demand in the market. The Department of Agriculture has already started with its commercialization and research projects in the production of value-added products like biofuel, seed oil, extracted enzymes, dessert, alternative fodder or feed for livestock, food and beverages as well as beauty and wellness products.

Foundation for Resource Linkage and Development (FRLD) president Antonio Roces added: “Malunggay holds promise for our agriculture as it can exploit both local and international markets for food, feed and pharmaceuticals. It can be readily cultured by our rural communities countrywide with many value-adding activities undertaken along the supply chain. In order to maximize its potential, we need to ugrade our production and processing technologies.”

BPI’s seminar on malunggay production will feature how to cultivate malunggay in backyards through sustainable systems that require only minimal inputs. Dr. Vivencio Mamaril of BPI remarked: “Malunggay is widely adapted to the tropics and subtropics. Optimum foliage production requires high temperature with high solar radiation, regular irrigation and well drained soils. It is also relatively tolerant to drought and poor soil but responds well to irrigation and fertilization.”

Intensive cultivation of malunggay can be practiced using closer planting depending on the available size of area. For backyard cultivation with a limited area of 100 square meter, a 25cm x 25cm planting distance can be used. However, for long term purposes and with enough planting area, 0.5m x 0.75 m planting distance is suggested. Another recommended planting distance, 1m x 1m, can be opted. This planting distance can be utilized for foliage production during the first few years then eventually for pod production if desired.

When the plants reach at least two to three months after planting, 3-4 leaves can be harvested through leaf snapping. Harvesting should be done every 2 to 4 weeks. A 25cm x 25cm planting distance fertilized with any organic material or urea has been estimated to produce an annual yield of 49 to 55 tons of fresh leaves per hectare.

To produce dried leaves, pan roasting is recommended to further reduce the moisture. This is done by constantly turning over the air-dried leaves for two to three minutes on a pan over a low fire. This will help preserve the leaves and improve their aroma.

Source: Malunggay seminar set at Agrilink
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