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Agri and Fisheries News
mb.com.ph; March 21, 2014 (updated)
Rolando Benosa of Sison, Pangasinan has a way of cutting the cost of planting materials for his cherry tomatoes. This is by rooting cuttings for planting.
One time, he produced no less than 1,500 rooted cuttings from just 100 seedlings of a hybrid variety. The resulting plants, he said, don’t only produce as many fruits, they also bear fruit earlier than those grown from seeds.
Usually, cherry tomato grown from seeds produce the first harvest in 80 to 90 days from planting. In the case of the plants from rooted cuttings, they bear fruit as early as 45 days from planting.
Benosa said that he uses compost of rice straw as growing medium for the cuttings. They readily produce roots but he recommends that the cuttings be sourced from indeterminate varieties, i.e., those that grow tall. The cuttings should be taken when the seedling plants are already flowering.
VERY GOOD REASON — Benosa is one tomato farmer who specializes in cherry tomatoes for a very good reason. One very important reason is that cherry tomato fruits fetch a much higher price than the ordinary table tomato. For instance, as of last March 15, he was selling his harvest at P100 to P120 per kilo to a Manila buyer. In the case of the ordinary table tomato, one kilo fetched only P7 per kilo. In fact, a week earlier, the farmgate price in Pangasinan was P3 per kilo, he added.
Benosa said he is growing the Floridity variety, a grape type cherry tomato, and an Italian variety called Pagano Constantino. This latter variety, he said, is non-cracking, crisp and with good shipping quality. After attending the Cherry Tomato Festival in Alcala, Pangasinan, he might also try planting the varieties from Known-You Philippines (KYP).
SIX PROMISING VARIETIES — During the festival last March 15, KYP showcased six promising cherry tomato hybrids being introduced in the country. These include Elf, Milton, Ruby, Sweet Ruby, Tropical Ruby and Season Red.
Elf produces oval fruits that weigh 15 to 20 grams each. What is notable about this variety is that it can be grown during the dry as well as during the wet season. It can be planted inside the greenhouse as well as in the open field.
Milton is an indeterminate variety that produces oval fruits that weigh 20 to 25 grams each. First harvest starts at 80 to 85 days from planting. It is claimed to be resistant to yellow leaf curl virus (YLCV) and powdery mildew.
Ruby produces the smallest fruits among the six varieties showcased. Fruits weigh 10 to12 grams each and are round, excellent for salad. The first harvest is from 82 to 85 days from planting. Ruby is claimed to be resistant to leaf blight and mildew.
Sweet Ruby produces oval fruits that weigh 20 to 25 grams each. First harvest could be had 80 –85 days from planting. Shipping quality is good and is resistant to TYLV and mosaic virus.
Tropical Ruby is semi-determinate and is the smallest among the six varieties showcased. Fruits weigh 10 to 15 grams each and can be harvested as early as 70 to 75 days after planting.
Season Red is a bush variety. Its fruits weigh 20-25 grams each. It matures in 65 to 75 days from planting.
BIG DEMAND — By the way, Benosa mentioned there is a big demand for cherry tomato. One buyer that he is supplying in Manila wants about 300 kilos per week. However, he could only ship 70 to 100 kilos a week because he is harvesting from only 350 plants. Later in April, he will be able to supply more because he expects to harvest from another 700 plants.
DAVAO BUYER — He has also been encouraging two other farmers to grow cherry tomato which he can supply to his buyers. One prospective buyer had mentioned to him he needs three tons a month. Another buyer from Davao City was so happy to have visited the farm of Benosa from whom he will be buying his requirements.
The Davao buyer said he has been buying his cherry tomato requirements from a source in Manila at P400 per kilo. Even if he will be shipping the cherry tomato from Benosa to Davao City, he would still be making a lot of savings.
OTHER HIGH-VALUE CROPS — Other varieties of high-value crops are being grown in the KYP Farm. One introduction that has been commercialized is the Buffalo, a jumbo watermelon that produces fruits weighing 14 to 15 kilos each. The red flesh is sweet and juicy.
Another promising watermelon variety is called Oro which has yellow flesh that is creamy, prompting farmers in Alaminos, Pangasinan to call it Ice Cream Watermelon.
One notable melon that was introduced by KYP is an orange-fleshed honeydew. When newly harvested, its flesh is firm and crunchy. After storing the fruit for 4 to 5 days, however, the flesh becomes tender, smooth, and very sweet.
Jimmy SinciocoThe demand for the supply of Cherry tomato is big, but supply is not enough. Farmers should be trained to grow this high breed variety to increase production. This promising variety that fetch a higher price compared to ordinary tomato varieties could increase earning of tomato growers. Mr. Rolando Benosa could be invited as resource person to train interested farmers. by Zac Sarian
Source: Tomato cuttings used for planting