Tuesday, September 27, 2011

MS Gumana teaches Florida beauty propagation

By Nicolas Banquero

A thing of beauty is a joy forever—but it also makes money.

This is true, especially for Engr. Baltazar Jayme Gumana, Magsasaka Siyentista (MS) of the Farmers’ Information and Technology Services (FITS) Center based in Pavia, Iloilo who recently hosted one-day training on single-node propagation of Florida beauty (Dracaena surculosa), a type of cut flower highly demanded as indoor ornamental in hotels, restaurants, banks and offices.

For one day, MS Gumana shared his expertise in propagating Florida beauty to some 30 participants composed of florists, gardeners and similar enthusiasts from the towns of Pavia, Janiuay, Oton, Tubungan, Bingawan and Lambunao, all of Iloilo. The training was held in thePavia FITS Center in Poblacion, Pavia, Iloilo.

Under the auspices of the Science and Technology-based Farm (STBF) on Single Node Propagation of Florida Beauty in Pavia, Iloilo granted by the Philippine Council for Agriculture, Forestry and Natural Resources Research and Development (PCARRD) to MS Gumana, the initiative was well supported by the STBF team composed of Dr. Greta Gabinete, focal person; Dr. Crisanto Lopez, technical expert; Mr. Homer Hubag, FITS manager; and Engr. Baltazar Gumana, Magsasaka Siyentista.

MS Gumana’s skills transfer was a collaborative effort of the Western Visayas Agriculture and Resources Research and Development Consortium (WESVARRDEC), the West Visayas StateUniversity, and the local government of Pavia, Iloilo.

A favorite garden foliage plant such as Florida Beauty can be grown as a low-maintenance ornamental and usually propagated in three to four nodes. But for MS Gumana, the same can be grown using a single node.

To propagate Florida beauty using single node, MS Gumana makes use of a seedling tray, coconut dust, garden soil, chicken manure, cutter and liquid endosperm (or coconut water) as growth hormone. To eliminate its acidity, Gumana soaks coconut dust and drains and changes the water every day for a week. After this, he selects a vigorous and healthy Florida Beauty plant and cuts single nodes as many as possible. He then soaks the nodes in coconut water and places the soaked single nodes in a seedling tray and covers them with the soil medium.

The soil media is a mixture of coconut dust, chicken manure and garden soil. After the plants are set in the seedling tray, Gumana allows them to grow under nursery conditions. After one or two months, he transfers them into bigger containers to allow them to grow more openly.

A 60-cm cutting of Florida beauty costs 120 pesos per dozen while a 30-cm cutting is pegged at and 60 pesos per dozen. For MS Gumana, a leisurely activity such as this can help even a backyard entrepreneur earn and make profit, even as it enjoys high, consistent demand as indoor ornamental in hotels, restaurants, banks and offices. And this can be done only with passion for the plant and the diligence and the guts to share it to others.

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