Abaca (Musa textiles), known internationally as Manila Hemp, is indigenous in the Philippines. It is similar to banana, canton and pacol. However, It can be distinguished by the formation and coloration as well as by the size and shape of its leaves, heart, trunk and fruit. The roots of the plants are added externally - not becoming an essential part. It arises from the corm lying between 15 to 25 cm below the surface of the soil. The leaves are tapering, narrow and glossy-green with pointed end petioles. The trunk, heart and fruit of the plant are smaller than those of banana and pacol. Its height reaches an average of 2.44 meters.
(Source: Department of Agriculture Bicol Region l, Date accessed 20 March 2014)

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Cultural Management

Land Preparation

The land is cleared during the dry months of the year to prepare for the eventual planting at the onset of the rainy season. Grasses and vines are cut first then plowed. The first plowing should be shallow to bring the weeds just at the proper depth for germination then followed by deep plowing 10 to 14 days to kill the germinated weeds before harrowing


Materials for propagation should be chosen carefully. The source of seedpieces must be from healthy or pest and disease free high yielding varieties. The sucker or whole plant and the corm or rootstocks are the two types of planting material.

Time Planting

Planting is best done during the onset of the rainy season since dry periods can stunt the normal growth and development of young plants.

Methods of Planting

The square method is commonly used in the Bicol region. In the square method, hills are set apart in equal distances. If the farm is fully planted, plants should be spaced at 2.5 x 2.5 meters apart with 1,600 hills accommodated in a hectare.
In the double row or avenue method, abaca are planted in two rows at about 1.5 x 1.5 meters apart with a distance of 2.5 meters from each set. Cash crops like peanut, soybeans and others can be intercropped in this method.
In the Quincunx or triangle method, 1852 hills are planted in a hectare with hills set at a distance of 2 x 2 meters.

Shade Establishment

Abaca plantations should be provided with shade trees to prevent excessive heat from damaging the plants and serve as windbreaks since typhoons in the Bicol Region are frequent. Permanent shade trees such as anii, dapdap, ipil-ipil and temporary shade trees like katuray and madre de cacao are recommended. Shade trees provide and maintain a favorable temperature for abaca. They also conserve soil moisture and prevent weed growth to a certain degree.


Abaca, like other perennial crops, occupies the same land for several cropping years. The same crop is harvested year after year resulting to the gradual removal of the essential nutrients from the soil. When the supply of these nutrient elements are not replenished, the soil gradually looses its fertility.

Abaca requires large amounts of nitrogen (N) and potassium (K) but less of phosphorus (P). About 40 % of the ash from abaca fiber is potassium.
Nitrogen greatly improves its growth and suckering ability while Potassium increases the tensile strength of its fiber.

For established plantations, annual application of 187.5 grams per hill or 12 bags per hectare of complete fertilizer (14-14-14) every year is recommended. Fertilizer is applied in split of equal doses annually. Fertilizer is applied in a ring one foot away from the base of the pseudostems, the area where the roots are shallow.

Cleaning and Mulching

The removal of dried leaves is necessary because they are fire hazards in the plantation, they serve as favorable media for fungal,, bacterial and insect growth and they impede the growth of suckers by limiting sunlight penetration thus, making regular inspections and indexing difficult.

Dried or yellowing leaves must be severed from the stalks with the use of a double-bladed scythe attached to a long pole. Old and yellowing leaves are cut at the petiole further from the stalk so that the leaf sheaths are kept fresh. The cut leaves are laid on the space between hills and used as mulching materials to preserve soil moisture and inhibit the growth of weeds.

Weed Control

Weeds are not much of a problem in a well-established and maintained abaca plantation. The tall plants shade the grounds such that weed growth is effectively checked or minimized. However, if weeds are abundant, they can be easily controlled manually or mechanically by hand-weeding, plowing or underbrushing at 2 to 3 months interval or as necessary.


Stalks are harvested three to five months before the flagleaf appears. Abaca growth has been observed to slow down a few months before flagleaf appearance. The practice in the region is to harvest abaca twice a year. A longer interval may result in overmatured stalks which consequently yields fibers of low quantity and poor quality.

Three steps are involved in the harvesting of abaca, the cleaning, topping and tumbling. In cleaning, the area surrounding the base of the stalk is cleared of dried leaves, grasses and other weeds. Thinning of floaters and spindly suckers and cutting afflicted plants and dead stalks are also done during cleaning.

Topping is done with the use of a curved knife fastened at the tip of a long pole and then cutting the leaves. It eases harvesting and minimizes the damage to follower stalks in the surrounding area.

Tumbling, on the other hand, is done using a sharp tumbling bolo. A smooth and slanting cut is made on the stalk about 5 cm from the last leaf scar to prevent the accumulation of sap. The topped stalks are then tumbled by cutting them close to the ground with the direction of the cut portion inclined towards the base.

Source: Department of Agriculture Bicol Region, Date accessed 20 March 2014




Ampalaya, scientifically named as Momordica charantia, is grown widely throughout the Philippines and is considered to be one of the biggest income generating crops. Of the two local varieties, the green and the white fruited, the green is preferred for both eating and planting.

The vines of this annual herb climb to a length of 3-4 meters, and the plant grows best in hot, humid areas in altitudes up to 500 meters. Bitter gourd is adapted to a wide variation in rainfall and soils; however, it prefers loams well-drained, rich, organic types with adequate water retaining capacity. The plant is cross-pollinated and produces better when trellised. (Source: Agriculture and Fisheries Market Information System- Department of Agriculture, Date accessed 20 March 2014)

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For Cost and Returns, you may visit the Bureau of Agricultural Statistics.

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Cultural Management


It grows best in low elevation and in full sunlight and can be planted anytime of the year. It thrives in a wide range of soils but grows best in well-drained, sandy loam soil with pH of 5.5-6.5.


Prepare the soil thoroughly by plowing and harrowing for two to three times until soil is already loose. Make planting beds of about 1m to 1.5m. To manage weed growth problems, plastic mulch may be placed on planting beds. Seeds are used as planting material. Bittergourd can be direct seeded or transplanted and needs 2 to 3 kgs of seeds to plant one hectare of land. The seeds can be soaked in water overnight or the seed coat can be carefully cracked to facilitate water absorption. Sow the seeds the next day in seedbeds or plug trays. Transplant the seedlings 7-10 days from germination. Spacing is 2-3 meters between rows and 30cm between hills. For leaf production, the spacing is 1 meter between rows and 0.5 meters between
plants in a row.


Apply 4 bags Dolomite after first plowing or 2 weeks before planting. Apply 2 tons of processed chicken manure or vermicompost in 1 hectare land 2 weeks before planting. Basal application of complete fertilizer (14-14-14) at the rate of 10-15 gm/hill is necessary. It is recommended to sidedress with 10-15 gm/hill of urea (46-0-0) and muriate of potash (0-0-60) once a month (dry season) and sidedress with urea and muriate of potash every two weeks. Spraying of Fermented plant juice can be done once a week from planting to fruiting stage.

Trellising, Vine trimming and Pruning

Bittergourd grows best with A-type trellis and table type with vertical trellis. Bamboo poles with 3m x 3m spacing are usually done. Spacing of 1.5 m between rows and 0.75 cm between hills is employed. Prune the shoots below the 2m mark from the base of the main stem. Removal of some lateral shoots at the upper part and lower shoots can also be done to maintain bigger fruits.

Source: Bureau of Plant Industry- Department of Agriculture, Date accessed 20 March 2014




Banana (Musa sp.) is a leading fruit grown in the Philippines and remains one of the major export earners in the country in which the Philippines ranks 5th among the world's top banana industry (Sebastian, 2000). It is considered the premier fruit crop in the Philippines today. Some of the most famous banana variety that is being grown not only in the Philippines but in the whole Southeast Asia are Lacatan and Saba.

Saba grows to as tall as 20 feet; fruit is angular; has thick peel that is green when unripe, yellow when ripe; flesh is white when ripe; gestation period is 15-16 months. Lacatan grows to a height of five to nine feet; fruit is round, seedless; has thick peel that is green when unripe, yellow-orange when ripe, gestation period is 14-15 months. Other varieties grown in the country includes Latundan, Bungulan, Cavendish, Morado, Pitogo, Los Baños, Señorita, Tindok, Gloria, Granada, and Tumok.
(Sources: Department of Agriculture- Bicol Region, Date accessed 20 March 2014)

For further assistance in your area, you may check the Technical and Financial Assistance Directory.


Cultural Management

Climate and Soil Requirements

Banana is well adapted to well-drained, loamy, soil that is rich in organic matter. Areas with an average rainfall of 4000 millimeters (mm) a year are ideal sites for a banana plantation. A temperature between 27 to 30 degrees Celsius is most favorable to the crop. Banana grows at sea level up to 1,800 meters altitude. It is susceptible to root rot when exposed to too much water. Typhoon belt areas do not make good plantation sites.


Banana can be propagated through its rhizomes and suckers, the latter however, is best recommended.Suckers must be parasite-free and have healthy roots. These are spaded out of the clumps when four to five feet tall.

Land Preparation

The field is plowed and harrowed thrice. All stumps and bushes must be removed. Knee-deep holes with 45-cm diameters are dug and each hole is fertilized with 10 grams of complete fertilizer and a few of granular nematode.


Suckers are set on field in vertical position, then covered with surface soil. Compost material added to the soil enhances the recovery and growth with the new plants. The soil is stumped around each base and watered regularly. During dry months, irrigation if possible, is advised. Planting is best at the start of the rainy season.

Cultivation and Maintenance

Cultivation should go beyond six inches from the base of the plant to avoid root injury. Intercrops or Glamoxine or Karmex spray act as weed control. Plants must be propped with bamboo poles during fruiting for support against strong winds.

Desuckering or Pruning

Unnecessary suckers must be killed by cutting them off from mother plants. Only one or two suckers must be allowed per hill to reduce soil nutrients competition.


For poor soils, fertilizers should contain N-P-K at a ratio of 3-1-6. The ratio is doubled when fertilizers are applied to young plants. The amount of fertilizer applied increases as the tree matures. At flowering and fruiting period, a tree needs five to six pounds of complete fertilizer.

Pests and Diseases

There are at least 27 insect pests that attack banana plants in the Philippines. However, there are only three pests known to cause significant damage over all types of banana.

1. Banana Corm Weevil- feeds on suckers and destroys the corm tissues. It causes the suckers to die of bore attack. To control this pest, spray the soil with Dieldrin, Furadan or Aldrin. Sanitation and cutting of affected corms are also effective cultural controls, and are environment friendly.

2. Fruit-peel sarring beetle- damages the fruit surfaces. The banana bunch is usually sprayed with Decis to control infestation.

3. Banana Floral Thrips- can be easily controlled by Diazinon or Decis spray.

The three major diseases of banana are the sigatoka, pitting or wilting and the moko.

1. Sigatoka is a leaf spot disease caused by Mycosphaerella musicola. This causes the premature death of leaves. In serve cases, the size of bunches and fingers are reduced. The fruit also ripens prematurely and develops abnormal flavor and smell. Plants are usually sprayed with Bordeaux mixture. Badly spotted leaves are removed to avoid contamination.

2. The pitting or wilting disease is characterized by dry, reddish-brown or black, circular or oval, depressed spots. Sanitation is one way of preventing the disease which comes in season with the rainy days. All collapsed leaves should be removed.

3. The moko disease, on the other hand, is transmitted from plant to plant by insects and infected tools. The impact of moko to plants is similar to that of the sigatoka. Only, it does not emit unfavorable smell. Infected fruits also blacken inside. Infection is prevented by disinfecting tools with formaldehyde.

In view of environmental considerations, alternative controls to pests and diseases are being introduced under Integrated Pest Management. Infected plants and weeds must be uprooted to keep the area free of host plants for six to 12 months.


Regardless of variety, the maturity of banana can be distinguished when the last leaf turns yellow. The angle formation of the fingers also determines ripeness. The rounder the angle of the fingers, the more mature they are.

Saba is harvested 15 to 16 months after planting; Lacatan, four to 15 months; Latundan, 12 months; Bungulan, 12 months; Cavendish, six to eight months.

Harvesting needs two people to serve as the cutter and the backer. It involves cutting deep into the middle of the trunk and letting the top fall gradually until the bunch is at the reach of the backer. The peduncle is cut long enough to facilitate handling.

Fruits for immediate shipping are harvested five to 10 days before ripening. Bananas for marketing are packed in crates as tightly as possible to lessen unnecessary vibrations during transport.

Sources: Department of Agriculture- Bicol Region, Date accessed 20 March 2014

Batanes Pine/Arius


batanes pinesBATANES PINE/ ARIUS

Unique to Philippines' northernmost province Batanes, Arius-- also known as the Batanes fruit, Batanes berry, or Batanes pine—grows too in mainland Luzon. But it does not fruit in Luzon nor in other areas outside of Batanes. These are fleshy fruits which become brightly colored from red to purple when mature. As these berries are not popularly eaten in the province, they are eaten just by birds from dispersing the seeds in their droppings. 
(Source: Agriculture and Fisheries Market Information System- Department of Agriculture and Bureau of Agricultural Resource – Department of Agriculture, Date accessed 20 March 2014)

For further assistance in your area, you may check the Technical and Financial Assistance Directory.

Cultural Management



The Batanes pine is propagated by means of its seeds. It grows best in full sun to light shade and well-drained areas. While the plant grows well in places outside its natural habitat it does not fruit like in Batanes.
The tree grows 1-5. 5 meters in height. It is durable and grows "very slowly" up to a height of 25 meters in coastal rocky areas at elevations from sea level to 300 meters. It has a life span of 70 to 200 years.

(Source: Technological resource center- Department of Science and Technology, Date accessed 20 March 2014)


Arius is harvested from late July up to early October. The limited harvest period should be maximized.

The fruits are easy to harvest with their shoulder-level height, so people will enjoy fruit picking. Ecotourism can thrive with such fruit-picking activity and could enhance Batanes's reputation as a rare tourist area that's rich in cultural and historical values.

Batanes is conducive to fruit production with its average rainy days of 22 days a month at a length of 10 to 30 minutes daily, similar to how it usually rains daily in Mindanao, Philippines' fruit basket. The winds, though, has an adverse effect on most fruits

(Source: Agriculture and Fisheries Market Information System- Department of Agriculture)

Bell Sweet Pepper



Sweet pepper (Capsium annuum L.) also known as capsium, kampana or lara is the most widely used condiment all over the world. It is consumed fresh, dried or processed. There are several types: green, yellow, orange, violet, and brown. Popular varieties are California Wonder (short bell) and Lanuyo (long bell). (Source: Department of Trade and Industry, Date accessed 24 March 2014)

For further assistance in your area, you may check the Technical and Financial Assistance Directory 

Cultural Management

Climatic and Soil Requirements

Sweet pepper requires cool weather for best fruit quality. In low elevations, October to December planting is best. In mid and high elevations, it can be grown throughout the year.
Sweet pepper grows well in any type of soil with a pH of 5.5-6.5. Production is best, however, in sandy loam soil.

Seedling Production

One hectare requires 100-200 g of seeds. It is best to produce in nurseries and transplant 3-4 weeks later. Prepare seedbeds by incorporating 2-4 kg of manure and 1-2 kg rice hull charcoal/m2. Prepare 1-m wide beds at any convenient length. Water first, and then make lines across the bed at 7-10 cm apart. Sow thinly if no pricking will be done. Cover lightly with manure and mulch with rice hull. In case of hybrid seeds, prick to nursery trays soon after germination. Provide temporary shade. Harden seedlings one week before transplanting.

Land Preparation

Prepare the area thoroughly. For small areas, make plots 0.75-1m wide for two-row/plot planting. In bigger areas, make furrows 0.5-0.75 m apart for single row planting. Apply basal fertilizer at 5-7 bags/ha 14-14-14 and 5-10 t/ha manure. Transplant at a spacing of 0.3-0.5 m between hills.


Use mulch to control weeds and promote better growth. Rice hull, rice straw or plastic may be used. In the case of the latter, make beds 1-m wide and incorporate the required manure and fertilizer. Spread the mulch, covering the sides with soil. Make holes 0.5 m x 0.5 m apart.


Irrigate weekly. Weed 2-3 times during the growing season. It is best to intercrop other vegetables such as kutsai and garlic as well as marigold to help minimize incidence of insect pests.
Side-dress with urea (46-0-0) every two weeks at 5-10 g/hill depending on plant growth. At the onset of fruiting, use 1:1 mixture of 46-0-0 and 0-0-60.

Pests and Disease Management


 Insects Pests/Disease  Recommendations
 Aphids  Intercropping: hot pepper spray or  organophosphate
 Spider mites  Intercropping: spray with miticide


 Hot pepper spray: Bacillus thuringiensis

 Fruit fly

 Sanitation: fruit fly attractant
 Fruit & shoot borer  Sanitation: hot pepper spray,
 Bacterial wilt  Sanitation: use of resistant variety, avoidance
 Nematodes  Application of chicken manure; intercropping with marigold
 Anthracnose  Crop rotation; Sanitation: spray with Benlate
 Leaf spot diseases  Sanitation: spray with Mancozeb, Benlate
 Virus disease  Refrain from smoking in the vicinity; roughing


1. Thrips (Thrips tabaci)

Nature of damage: Thrips attack the upper and lower side of the leaves by sucking the sap. Areas near the mid-vein are brown and dried up. The major damage occurs on the undersides of new or old leaves.

Pest Management: Use of chemical is still the most effective method of control

2. Aphids (Aphids gossypil)

Nature of Damage: Young and adults feed on underside of leaves by sucking the sap. Leaves becomes distorted, stunted and often curled under. The upper leaf surface is sticky and has a black moldy growth.

Pest Management: Botanical pesticides/compounds may be tried such as neem extract and water.

3. Broad Mite (Polyhagotarsonemus latus)

Nature of damage: Direct feeding of leaves of pepper causes the leaves to become distorted and curled downwards. Young leaves are cupped downward and narrower than normal.

Pest Management: Botanical pesticides/compounds may be tried such as neem extract and water, or madre de cacao, oil and water.

4. Tomato fruit worm

Nature of damage: A small darkened partially healed hole at the base of the fruit is evident. The inside of the fruit has a cavity that contains frass and decay. Often, the caterpillar can be seen inside the fruit.

Pest Management: Chemicals such as Methomyl and mimic can be used.


1. Bacterial Wilt

Nature of damage: The first symptom of the disease is wilting of some of the younger leaves or slight yellowing of the lower leaves. If such plants are pulled out, the roots and lower part of the stem which appears normal on the outside will show burning of the water conducting tissue under the back of the stem and water socked appearances of the roots.

Disease Management: Avoid using compost and manure contaminated with bacterial organism. appears in order to reduce the sources of infection.

2. Anthracnose of Pepper

Nature of damage: Anthractose may occur in the field and develop as a post-harvest decay of pepper fruits. Typical symptons appear on mature fruits such as small water-soaked sunken lesions that expand rapidly. Lesions may be covered with raised, dark, fungal tissues which may appear in concentric rings.

Disease Management: Be sure to clean seeds. Practice crop rotation. Fungicides like Mancozeb or Benomyl may be used.

3. Cercospora Leaf Spot

Nature of damage: Early symptoms appear as small, circular, water-soaked spots on leaves which later enlarge up to 1 cm or more in diameter. Typical lesions are brown and circular with small to large light gray centers and dark brown margins. Several spots may coalesce causing the entire leaf to turn yellow and drop without yellowing.

Disease Management: Collect and burn all leaves and stems.


Harvesting and Post Harvest

Start harvesting at 80-100 days from transplanting or 3-6 weeks after flowering. Harvest mature green fruits.
Sort fruits according to market standard and separate damaged fruits. Fresh fruits can be stored up to 5 weeks at 40C and 95% humidity.

Source: Department of Trade and Industry, Date accessed 24 March 2014

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