Search On For 30 Farmer-Heroes

Happy, empowered farmers with East-West hybrid seeds.
 EAST-WEST Top Guns: Ric Reyes, Gerry Domingo and Nestor Menguita.
The nationwide search for the 30 top vegetable producers was recently launched by the East-West Seed Company which will observe its 30th anniversary in December.

Dr. Mary Ann P. Sayoc, East-West general manager, announced at the celebratory lunch the company tendered for media people last Thursday  (Sept. 20, 2012) that the company will be honoring the 30 top vegetable farmers during the company’s 30thanniversary celebration. The awardees will receive plaques and cash prizes.

Dr. Sayoc said that it is just fitting that they honor the farmer heroes who have been producing bumper crops through the use of improved seed varieties as well as the concomitant farming techniques that East-West has been disseminating.

The East-West executive pointed out that so many farmers have been empowered because of the high-yielding varieties that the company has been producing through their plant breeders and other researchers.
Every year, the company releases an average of five varieties with improved characteristics that include higher yield, better pest and disease resistance, improved shelf life, improved quality in taste, better transport quality and so on.

NEW SQUASH –Just last May, for instance, the company released for commercial production a new hybrid squash called Engrande. The fruit weighs an average of 3 to 4 kilos each. The skin is dark green while the flesh that is yellow orange has a mealy consistency (maligat in Tagalog).

The Engrande is claimed to have good resistance to squash diseases such as PRSV and yellow leaf curl virus which are serious diseases affecting many squash varieties in the market.

NEW PATOLA – Another new very promising hybrid vegetable is Hermosa, a patola whose fruits are short but the plant is very prolific. Having short fruits has its own advantages. The fruits are easier to store in a refrigerator, for instance. The fruits could be easier to pack for the market in standard crates.

While the fruits are shorter than most varieties in the market, the new variety is very prolific so that the grower can harvest from his plants every day or every other day, according to Nestor Menguita, head of East-West’s product management group. He added that one plant can produce as many as 40 fruits each weighing an average of 200 grams. The farmer can pick from his plants 34 times in one growing season.

2 NEW SITAO – This year, East-West has also released two outstanding varieties of yardlong sitao. One is called Pantastiko which has dark green pods. The other is called Bongga which has long green pods with red tip. Both new sitao varieties yield 15 to 20 tons per hectare, according to Menguita.

NEW CUCUMBER – A few years ago, East-West released a mini cucumber that is nice to eat as a snack food. This year, it has released Mega C cucumber which produces big fruits. This is also a high-yielding variety that produces fruits as early as 35 days from planting.

NEW WAXY SWEET CORN – Later this year, the company will also release a white waxy sweet corn called Perlas. This means it is glutinous and at the same time sweet. It could become a bestseller in the green corn market.
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