After posting in our blog JelFarm’s plan to export edemame or vegetable soybean to Japan, Dr. Rey Lantin who used to be with the Agricultural Engineering Department of UPLB, sent us his comment below.
“Consider me as one happy edemame enthusiast to learn about the plan of JelFarm to produce and export the delicious and nutritious vegetable soybean to Japan. I have been growing edemame since prior to 2012 with varied degrees of result of seed multiplication depending upon timing and weather conditions, particularly during the La Niña events. Seed production is key to successful commercialization.
“As native of Batangas, I used to eat ‘nilagang utaw’ or boiled soybean pods bought from the Lipa City public market back during the early 1950s when I was in high school. Farmers used grain soybean and harvest the pods somewhat already ripened or yellowish, quite different from the green and large edamame pods. Grown in the nearby towns of San Jose and Cuenca, nilagang utaw tasted god nevertheless as they were chewy also but edamame is a lot tastier, so much so, that during our high school mini reunion meetings, my classmates were surprised and appreciative of the edamame I brought for them. I could not sustain the pasalubong from Los Baños however because of seed production problems.
“My first encounter with real edamame was with the multiple cropping project of Dr. Richard Bradfield of IRRI during the late 1960s and early 1970s. Like you, I had wondered, in spite of great demand and all appreciation for its great taste, why no farmer commercially produced edamame the multiple cropping way with non-flooded rice (just maintain the soil moist and no puddling required), sweet corn, sweet potato, etc. and get higher income than from rice monocrop.
“I initially accessed my seeds from BPI-LBNCRDC (Bureau of Plant Industry-Los Baños National Crop Research and Development Center) with its Vegetable Soybean (vesoy) varieties VS1, VS2 and VS3 produced successfully from trials in collaboration with the Taiwan-based Asian Vegetable Research and Development Center (AVRDC now World Vegetable or World Veg) of which the Philippines is co-founder along with ADB and seven other countries.
“I have also tried the Sayamusume variety from California but with little success in terms of expected size of pods. When I once gave samples in a seminar in Agrilink Agribusiness exhibition, a US balikbayan commented why the pods were smaller than those in the US where edamame has become a craze. This is still a puzzle, in spite of the applied good agricultural practices.
“Zac, I wish to contact Jef Fernandez so I could share my experiences on edamame growing. For information, I found that the best time to plant vegetable soybean to produce seeds is October. Planting in late February or March up to June will result in unfilled and wrinkled seeds, perhaps as a result of soybean being a short-day plant, so out of season.
“However, I experimented planting vesoy starting on April 4, 2019 (or equinox) in 10 sacks of soil with compost then covered and uncovered the plants with plastic sheet to simulate the daylengths (sunrise and sunset times) in October 2018. As of today (May 23, 2019), plants are about 75 cm tall, with lush vegetative growth, with wide leaves and full of maturing pods with expectation of high yield if there would be good grain filling. The pods will be harvested for seeds if everything goes well. This state has never been achieved under field conditions in the past even in October plating. Perhaps, applying plenty of compost matters. Control or no treatment plants are stunted with yellowish leaves and showing poor growth and expected yield, if any.”
No doubt, Dr. Rey Lantin is really an avid edamame enthusiast. We really hope JelFarm will be able to jumpstart the commercial production of edamame not only for export but also for the local market. By the way, we know that Dr. Lantin is also an advocate of brown rice consumption.