There are advocates who are for planting native tree species for reforestation and for timber production in commercial plantations. Well, here is one species that might as well be promoted for either or both of the two purposes mentioned above. We are referring to a native tree in Batanes which they call Chayi or Chawi in that part of the country.
Known as Pometia pinnata in botany, it is a fast growing species as we have observed in our farm in Teresa, Rizal where we planted a seedling from Dr. Flor Librero, a native of Batanes and UP Los Banos alumnus. Chayi grows straight upwards in our farm in close company with pomelos and rambutan. Dr. Librero stressed that Chayi produces high quality lumber.
There is a bonus that the planter will get from his Chayi trees. In six or seven years, seedling trees will bear clusters of fruits as big as pingpong balls. The big seed is covered with white aril that is soft, moderately sweet and very nice to eat. Although the aril is not as thick as we would like it to be, we believe people will buy the fruits if made available in the market.
What makes Chayi highly suitable for large scale planting is that it is possible to produce seedlings fast. The seeds readily sprout in a couple of weeks after sowing in nursery bags. The seedlings are robust and grow fast. One possible business project is to produce seedlings for sale to interested growers. Producing seeds for sale is another possibility