One lady who is harvesting a bumper crop of Longkong lanzones today is Mrs. Naty Abrigo, an 84-year-old widow who is running a model 24-hectare fruit farm in Calauan, Laguna.
We visited her farm recently and she is so proud of her very fruitful Longkong trees which have given her the heaviest fruiting so far this year. Longkong, by the way, is the lanzones variety from Thailand which is superior in a number of ways compared to the local variety. It produces big compact fruit clusters. And the fruits are sweet, mostly seedless and also latex-free so that the fingers used in opening the fruits are not stained.
Mrs. Abrigo also believes that the quality of her fruits is probably even better than the ones being imported from Bangkok which are being sold in high-end supermarkets at as much as P400 to P600 per kilo.
Mrs. Abrigo has a philosophy of her own when it comes to agribusiness. She has to plant the best varieties and to produce in really big volumes. She remembers very well the advice of her late father who was a businessman in Binondo. Her father said that if she wants to become rich in whatever business she engages in, she should deal in big volumes.
And that is why when Longkong planting materials were available in the later part of the 1990s, she decided to plant thousands of grafted seedlings. Today she has 2,500 Longkong trees, most of them of bearing age.
Because her trees are special, she also provides them with special care. For instance, she produces her own vermicompost right in her farm which she applies to her trees in big amounts. Before she had her own production of vermicompost, she had spread over her plantation big quantities of old chicken manure. In addition to the vermicompost and chicken manure, she also spreads now big amounts of carbonized rice hull (CRH for short). She estimates she has already spread no less than 5,000 sacks of carbonized rice hull in her farm and is still continuing to do so. She said that one Los Baños professor had told her that the CRH makes the soil more permeable and also helps retain moisture in the soil. In addition, CRH is rich in potash which makes fruits sweeter.
Aside from her organic fertilizers, however, Mrs. Abrigo attributes her exceptional harvest of Longkong this year to her application of Power Grower Combo and Heavy Weight Tandem. These special formulations were invented by Alfonso G. Puyat who has been doing his own research in agriculture for many years now.
The Power Grower Combo is a plant growth accelerator containing 11 chelated micronutrients. When sprayed on the leaves, it induces the plant to absorb nutrients from the soil very fast. That is why the treated plants grow much faster and healthier. It can be applied on practically every crop like fruit trees, vegetables, sugarcane, tobacco and many others.
The Heavy Weight Tandem, on the other hand, also contains numerous micronutrients and a high amount of potassium. When sprayed on the leaves, according to Mr. Puyat, the potassium facilitates the transport of the synthesized plant food in the leaves to the developing flowers and fruits. That is why in the case of fruit trees, there is a better rate of fruit set. The fruits are bigger, more uniform, juicier and sweeter.
When we visited Mrs. Abrigo’s farm, she was scheduled to harvest 300 kilos for two buyers. One buyer was getting 150 kilos to be given as gift to a well known businessman in Makati. The other buyer is a fruit seller in one of the weekend markets in Metro Manila. Mrs. Abrigo does not have any problem selling her Longkong because there are at least two viajeros who would like to buy all her harvest. Ex-farm, her price is just P150 per kilo. That’s more than double the price ex-farm of the local variety.