PCAARRD-funded program to increase productivity of processing tomato
Researchers and experts from the University of the Philippines Los Baños (UPLB) and Northern Foods Corp. (NFC), the only processing tomato company in the Philippines, recently convened at the Philippine Council for Agriculture, Aquatic and Natural Resources Research and Development of the Department of Science and Technology (DOST-PCAARRD) headquarters to kick-start a program that aims to increase the productivity of fresh and processing tomatoes.
The DOST-PCAARRD-funded program, titled “Development of Integrated Crop Management [ICM-Tomato] for Increasing the Productivity of Fresh and Processing Tomato Production,” aims to develop integrated crop management (ICM) technology to increase the productivity of fresh and processing tomatoes in the Philippines using adaptable and site-specific products and technologies for pest control and nutrient management.
The program will last three years and is expected to benefit at least 2 000 tomato farmers by 2020. It will be implemented by UPLB, NFC, Mariano Marcos State University, Regional Crop Protection Center and local government units of Ilocos Norte and Ilocos Sur.
The program has three project components, which will focus on diseases, insect pests and weeds and nutrient management. The team will practice a systems approach in integrating the results of each project, in order to come up with one comprehensive ICM technology for tomato cultivation.
The productivity of tomatoes is known to be threatened by many diseases. The most destructive of these diseases is the tomato yellow leaf-curl (TYLC) disease, which is transmitted by whiteflies. “Ilocos Red,” the variety being planted by NFC for processing into paste, is susceptible to this disease.
To address the issue of tomato leaf-curl disease in Ilocos Red, the first project will establish the disease profile of tomatoes, and determine the efficiency of healthy seedling technology and carrageenan technology for leaf-curl management. Then, field-validated ICM recommendations will be formulated.
The second project will address the insect pest and weed problem in tomato production. An improved control and management program for insect pests and weeds will be developed.
The research team will involve the farmers in the program by promoting the adoption of village-level production of biological control agents (BCAs), such as Trichogramma, the helicoverpa nuclear polyhedrosis virus and earwigs in their farms. They will also provide resources for the members of the farmers’ cooperative in Ilocos Norte and Ilocos Sur as part of the sustainability plan of the project.
Sources: businessmirror.com.ph, news.mb.com.ph
Some complementary data
The Northern Foods Corporation (NFC) is an agri-based firm established in March 1984 as an anchor company initially to produce paste and subsequently process other agri-based products from indigenous crops. As an anchor company, it serves as an industrial link for small farmers who are contracted to produce raw materials to be processed.
NFC is owned by the LIVELIHOOD CORPORATION (LIVECOR), a government-owned and -controlled corporation. At present, NFC manufactures tomato paste and sources out its raw materials from 3,000 Ilocano farmers who annually enter into a Contract Growing Agreement with the company.
NFC’s processing plant, which is located at San Joaquin (Sarrat, Ilocos Norte) was designed, manufactured and installed by the Franrica Manufacturing Corporation of the USA. It has a processing capacity of 500 metric tonnes of fresh fruits per day and produces about 4,000 metric tons of tomato paste every processing season in January to April every year.
NFC supplies tomato paste to leading food chain, fish canners and tomato sauce/catsup manufacturers in the country.