Make sure to get a copy of the August 2015 issue of Agriculture Magazine published by the Manila Bulletin and edited by yours truly. It is now off the press and available in bookstores as well as in Manila Bulletin outlets nationwide. Among those featured are the potentials of engineered bamboos that are mostly developed by scientists and engineers of the Los Baños-based Forest Products Research and Development Institute, an agency of the Department of Science and Technology. FLOORING PANELS – Beautiful engineered bamboo products have been developed awaiting wider commercialization. As explained by Dr. Rico J. Cabangon of FPRDI, engineered bamboos include a wide range of products made by binding together bamboo veneers, strands, fibers, strips or slabs, woven mats or flattened bamboo with a suitable glue to form a composite material to meet specific needs. These include engineered panels, floors, furniture and handicrafts. About 10 companies are now making engineered bamboo products but most of them are small scale enterprises that are not exactly mass-producing the bamboo products. There are problems of the industry but these are being addressed through the use of technologies developed by FPRDI.
RABBIT RAISING – In the August Agriculture Magazine, the husband and wife tandem of Art and Angie Veneracion have started a series of articles on rabbit farming in the hope that more people would consider venturing into the business of raising rabbits. The Veneracion couple are really passionate in promoting the raising of rabbit to produce meat for human consumption. They will tell you that rabbit meat is as delicious as chicken, if not more so. Angie has developed various rabbit dishes that include adobo, sisig, sinigang sa libas, fried, barbecue and many more. In meetings like the Agri-Kapihan, Art volunteers to share his practical know-how in raising rabbits. He will tell you that rabbit raising is just right even for people who have limited space in their homes and also limited capital. One can start with just a few pairs because rabbits are fast to multiply. As early as 5- 6 months old, the female rabbit can already be bred. In 35 days from insemination, the mother doe will deliver her young or kits. In 13 months one mother rabbit can give birth to 134 kits, according to Art.
TAIWAN REPORT –The August issue also includes our report in text and photos our visit to leisure farms in Taiwan. These include the Sheiipa Leisure Farm in the high mountains in Hsinchu county which is famous for its blueberry plantation that is a favorite of leisure farm tourists. Organic blueberry is a very expensive fruit that is marketed fresh as well as in frozen form. Special vinegar and sweet wine are made out of blueberry, too. And making wine and vinegar are two Do-It-Yourself (DIY) activities that overnight visitors enjoy.
ORGANIC GRAPES – The Taiwan report also includes the story of Huang Shi Wei’s organic grapes in Tainan county. This is said to be the only organic grape plantation in the whole of Taiwan. It took the owner a total of seven years to convert his conventional grape farm into a certified organic grape farm. HONEY WINE FROM PAMPANGA – Julio P. Yap Jr., our prolific contributor, has written about the “Drink of Love” from the Pampanga State Agricultural University in Magalang, Pampanga.