|The popular pineapple variety Formosa or Queen grown widely in
By INOCENCIO Q OBRERO
TWO new pineapple varieties are now on test planting in the province of CamNorte.
They are Super Sweet Snack Pineapple or “Ulam” and MD-2 Hybrid pineapple.
Both varieties came from Mindanao as part of Agriculture Secretary Proceso Alcala’s commitment to introduce new pineapple varieties in the province.
This is in response to the claim that yield is getting smaller because only one variety is being planted by the farmers.
Camarines Norte farmers are traditionally planting the Queen or Formosa pineapple, known for its very sweet fruit and sturdy leaves.
The regional office of the Department of Agriculture in Bicol procured 1,000 pieces of MD-2 hybrid pineapple from Bukidnon.
In support of the undertaking, the Office of the Provincial Agriculturist in Camarines Norte purchased 1,000 pieces Ulam variety from Davao. Both varieties are now planted at the Research Outreach Station of DA in Calasgasan, Daet, CamNorte.
Adaptability and yield performance of these varieties will be tested under the soil and climatic condition of coconut areas in CamNorte using different production methods.
The production methods will include the 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 was developed and registered by Dr Juan C Acosta of Bukidnon with plantation in Toril, Davao.
It has spiny leaves similar to Queen pineapple and was claimed to produce sweet fruit with soft edible core.
Meanwhile, the MD-2 hybrid was reported to be developed by a multinational corporation but is now in the hands of farmers in Mindanao.
It 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,.
On the other hand, both varieties are being planted in high elevation areas of 400-800 meters above sea level in Mindanao.
CamNorte Norte pineapple production areas are reported at 4-100 meters sea level only.
Dr Faustino Obrero, pathologist and a veteran pineapple researcher in Mindanao warned that MD-2 can be susceptible to a form of field disease when planted in lower elevation especially when harvest is timed in summer months.
He recommended the construction of drainage canal in waterclogged areas, planting in beds or ridges, and the use of systemic fungicides to control the destructive diseases “heart rot” on pineapple.
Conducting the field test is Inocencio Obrero, DA researcher in CamNorte and Roseller Mago, research aide.
Cooperating with the test on “Ulam” variety for the LGU is provincial agriculturist Francia Pajares and Joseph Ibasco of OPAg.
Meanwhile, some plant experts believed that the main reason for the smaller fruit harvest of farmers were due to crop management and not due to using a single variety.
Pineapple is unlikely to be affected by inbreeding because planting materials used are suckers and not seeds.
The most likely reason for lower yield is low fertilizer rates, use of the same area for the same crop over and over again, and early flower induction of pineapple.
It can also be caused by prevalence of pests and diseases as aggravated by the prolonged rainy season due to climate change. – Bicol Mail