A Seed Company On Its 25th Year
What started as a seed company focused on breeding sorghum some 25 years ago has now become a major player in the seed industry as it has diversified into many other high-value crops, especially tropical vegetables.
This is the Allied Botanical Corporation organized by a then youthful business-minded guy named Willy Co who believed in the usefulness of sorghum, a hardy grain crop that could take the place of corn in livestock and poultry feeds.
While sorghum remains as a major interest to this day, the company has gone a long way in producing its own hybrids as well as selections of open-pollinated varieties. It is conducting its research and development activities in a 23-hectare experimental farm in Tayug, Pangasinan.
Friday, February 5, the company will celebrate its 25th anniversary at the Edsa Shangri-La Hotel in Mandaluyong City. On February 9 and 10, the company will be hosting different farmers’ groups from various parts of the country at its experimental farm. There, the visitors will see for themselves the different varieties of high-value crops, mostly vegetables.
We are sure the visitors will be impressed by the fruitfulness of many of the plants in their prime stage of productiveness. For instance, they will not miss the hybrid sweet pepper varieties developed by plant breeders of the company. One of the most promising hybrids is known by it code name ABX 203. This is a most prolific hybrid that could produce as many as 300 fruits per plant in one season, according to Herlo Atole who is in charge of breeding peppers and eggplants. The first fruits of ABX 203 are harvestable in 60 to 65 days after transplanting. The fruits emerge as yellow, turning orange after sometime, and then bright red when fully mature.
One other pepper developed by Atole is the Panigang King which is a finger pepper type, producing its harvestable fruits 60 to 65 days after transplanting. The fruits are light green, glossy and mildly pungent. It is good for making soup. With proper care, the productive life could last 5 to 6 months. One plant could produce 250 fruits which is more than one kilo.
The visitors will also be impressed by the imported varieties of cabbage showcased at the Tayug farm. One of them is Green Max which produces harvestable heads as early as 30 days from transplanting.
The company can also boast of its prolific sitao varieties. One is Tristar which produces harvestable fruits in 45 days from seeding. This was released some four years. A new release that is equally productive is Four Star which has dark green pods 57 to 61 cm long. The pods are firm and crunchy when half cooked.
Allied Botanical can also take pride in its squash hybrids. Two new hybrids will soon be released for commercial planting. These are SQ-3 and SQ-4. Both are high-yielding, producing as much as 35 tons per hectare. SQ-4 produces fruits that are 3 to 5 kilos each while SQ-3 averages 2.75 kilos per fruit. Squash is a good money-maker because it is one vegetable that is a favorite of consumers nationwide. Farmers also love to grow squash because it does not require a big capital. The seeds are not expensive and the vines are usually just allowed to crawl on the ground. Hence, there is no expense on trellising materials.
The 23 varieties of lettuce growing in the experimental farm will surely impress the visitors. The plants exhibit different leaf forms and intensity of color. The burgundy varieties are targeted for hotels and upscale eating places where they use them to add color to their salads. The varieties with frilled leaves are also for the high-end customers.
There are many other outstanding varieties that the visitors will see, including cauliflower and broccoli varieties that will thrive in the lowland, eggplant, sweet corn, sunflower and other flowering plants.
By Zac B. Sarian