ONCE AGAIN, October is just around the corner. It is the right time to start planting onion. Not just the varieties with big bulbs but also the shallot or what they call Lasona in the Ilocos or Tanduyong in Nueva Ecija. What follows are information we had gathered during an onion festival held in Ilocos Sur in 2018.
MORE THAN 200 farmers from towns in Ilocos Norte, Ilocos Sur and Pangasinan witnessed the potentials of Maserati as a money-maker for onion farmers during the Allium Festival held at the farm of Jose Madriaga in Tay-ac, Bantay, Ilocos Sur on March 1, 2018. Maserati is a new shallot hybrid introduced only in 2017 by Ramgo International Corp., a pioneer in the seed business in the Philippines.
HARVEST FROM VINTAR – Beautiful Maserati harvest from a planter in Vintar, Ilocos Norte were brought to the festival which impressed the farmers for the big size of the bulbs and their intense red color. These are characteristics sought after by traders and consumers. At the same time, the attendees also witnessed the very excellent stand of the Maserati plants in Madriaga’s farm which were 65 days old from transplanting during the event.
HIGH YIELD – As per the harvest in Vintar, one square meter could yield as much as nine kilos, according to Madriaga. Bulbs of 15 plants make one kilo. Judging from the robust stand of Madriaga’s plants, he said he could harvest P120,000 worth of bulbs at a selling price of only P20 per kilo from 4,000 square meters. During the Allium Festival, we learned that a kilo of Lasona, the local variety of shallot, was selling from P25 to P30 per kilo.
VERY IMPRESSED – Because of the excellent performance of Maserati in Ilocos, many of the attendees said they will definitely plant the new variety in the next planting season which could start the following October after the harvest of rice. One lady government employee who planted the native Lasona this past season, Violeta Cabebe, said she will surely plant Maserati next time. Her lady companion whispered to us that Ms. Cabebe had sold her standing crop to a trader for a big sum. With Maserati, she could expect an even bigger income.
HYBRID – Maserati is a hybrid that is planted with the use of seeds instead of bulblets as in the case of the ordinary Lasona. When seeds are used, the plants are healthy from the start because there is no infection of the planting materials. When bulblets are used, it is very possible that the planting materials are infected with disease organisms which could result in poor yield.
TRANSPLANTING – Madriaga sowed his seeds in a seedbed and transplanted the seedlings when they were 28 days old with three leaves. Transplanting is easy at 4 inches between hills. After 80 days from transplanting, the bulbs are harvestable.