/ 23 January 2021

THE MARIANO Marcos State University has collaborated with the Department of Agriculture and the City Government of Batac to develop a model farm for organic malunggay production and processing in Ilocos Norte.

With a P4-million grant from the DA, the university will spearhead the massive malunggay seedling production project in an eight-hectare reserve area in Barangay San Pedro, City of Batac.

The project aims to explore the potential commercial use of malunggay to enhance its economic value. It also seeks to provide additional income to farmers, and to sustain a food secure province.

“MMSU will purchase the needed equipment for drying and milling, packaging, and storing of malunggay varieties; develop a Package of Technology for malunggay seeds and seedlings management, and malunggay leaves production for processing; conduct a comparative analysis between the adopted and developed technologies, and engage potential farmer-cooperators in the adoption of the POT through a dispersal scheme,” the university said.

MMSU President Shirley Agrupis said the venture into malunggay production and processing will contribute to the sustainable food supply in the province, especially in times of crisis.

Agrupis, the project leader, together with Dr. Dionisio Bucao, project staff, received the funding in January.

Bucao said that the model farm will cover a five-hectare plantation area and a three-hectare related services area that includes an internal road network, drying and milling area, composting facility, clonal garden, and irrigation facilities.

“Area allowances will also be made for natural hedges, live fencing as buffers for boundaries, and fodder trees planting to isolate the area from nearby cultivations,” Bucao said.

“The model farm will compose a gene bank where the collected species of moringa seedlings will be planted and evaluated, and nurseries that will facilitate the control of the genetic characteristics of plant varieties that will be collected and propagated for characterization,” he added.

The first phase of the project will run for six months. During this period, three moringa nurseries with a capacity of 8,000 seedlings each, are expected to generate 96,000 seedlings in four cycles with 24,000 seedlings per cycle.

“The project is also expected to generate gross revenue of  P600,000 and a net margin of P183,586, representing a return of investment of 44 percent per nursery within six months,” Bucao said.