Monday, January 7, 2013

Ubi–tissue-culture technology shows industry’s purple future 

TAGBILARAN CITY, Bohol January 7, 2013 (PIA)—A purplish future awaits the ubi industry here as report of successful propagation technology is now at hand. 

At the recent Kapihan sa PIA Thursday, Eleno Evangelista, Provincial Agriculture Agribusiness Division Chief said the recent development in ube-tissue culture signals a good omen in an industry that has struggled to significantly increase local production. 

Bohol ubi, or more popularly sold as the aromatic purple yam (kinampay) has always been believed as an annual crop that takes about six months to harvest after seeding, according to agriculture spokesperson Fortunato Cosap. 

But, the recent development in tissue culture makes it now possible to grow the crop year round, Cosap continues as he added that ubi has been intricately wrapped around Bohol identity. 

Traditionally, ube a vine root-crop is grown from a matchbox-sized tuber slice (guha) of the rootcrop, planted in a small mound (hutok) and staked with a trellis upon which the vine creeps, explained Evangelista at the radio forum on the air. 

Then believed to only grow between May to December, the recent ubi-tissue culture can be grown off season, Evangelista pointed out. 

In fact, successful tissue culture, which has just been adopted at the Bohol Experimental Station (BES) in Gabi, Ubay, solves not just the problem of low produce due to its being an annual crop, but also the shortage of tuber slices or guha. 

Farmers do not usually sell everything they harvest as they have to leave behind enough to be grown for the next year’s cropping. 

And with tuber slices, it is still uncertain if the tuber slices grow; they sometimes rot due to presence of contaminants in the soils that does not allow the seedling to survive. 

Besides, tissue culture can also brilliantly make farmers determine the quality of their harvest, with the culture a product of experimentation and selection of the best ubi characteristics. 

At the upcoming 13th Ubi Festival unfolding this January 23-25, the agribusiness chief lamented that despite a full support shown by the Provincial Government, the industry has remained to perform without any significant improvement. 

All through the years, less and less young people opt to be farmers as the job is not as enticing, hinted Cosap who has just been a part of the Bohol aggie family. 

But, with the correct nurture, a matchbox sized tuber slice can go as much as 20 kilos of rootcrop after six months, said Evangelista in apparent attempt to convince young farmers to take a second look at the ubi, especially one that presents itself with a purple future. (30/ed)

79% firecracker injuries are males, mostly 6-10 
Rey Anthony Chiu 

TAGBILARAN CITY, Bohol, January 7, 2013 (PIA)— We never learn. 

Firecracker related injuries in the country went 21% lower compared to the figures last year, according to the Department of Health (DOH). 

But, the relative success may not still be due to the scare campaign, which the (DOH) started, to lessen firecracker-related injuries in the country. 

The DOH and the Philippine National Police (PNP) including local officials have been asking people including parents to keep their children from firecrackers. 

Still, DOH admits that majority of this year’s firecracker victims are males aged 9 months to 79, which owned up to 79 %. 

The health department also said 207 cases of this year’s injuries come from the 6-10 years old; the most affected age bracket, most of them just mere bystander revelers. 

Citing applicable laws, showing pictures or using victims to retell gory details of their firecracker related injuries, authorities have been relentless in the campaign to dent on the holiday related injuries, especially the ones caused by firecrackers. 

But even with a law regulating the manufacture and banning the sale of large firecrackers, the DOH still records 379 cases of injuries involving these prohibited firecrackers, a national daily cites DOH report. 

This too as holiday related injuries reached around 800, from December 21 to January 4, Philippine Daily Inquirer, citing a DOH report, stated. 

The same report said 765 injuries in the list were firecracker-related and two more firecracker (watusi) ingestion cases. 

The figure is still 211 cases lower compared to the firecracker-related injuries reported last year, the same news report stated. 

The same figure is 8% lower than the previous five-year average firecracker injuries (2007-2011). 

Of the cases, 22 cases were of celebratory gunfire, which marred the Philippine National Police’s target of zero injuries this year. 

This year, the cases include the death of a 7-year old, which caught Malacanang’s attention. 

President Benigno Aquino III, in a statement issued last week called the death of Stephanie Nicole Ella a senseless death. 

The President, according to Presidential spokesperson Edwin Lacierda on a televised press conference last week, ordered the PNP to identify and locate the man who fired the fatal shot that hit the child victim on the head. 

In Bohol, at least a minor was shot in a possible celebratory gunfire last December 25. Joemar Laguna succumbed to a gunshot would while he was brushing his teeth at their kitchen in Salvador, Cortes. (30/sjp)

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