PCARRD establishes malapapaya farm
- Dulce Sanchez () - February 24, 2008 - 12:00am

The Philippine Council for Agriculture, Forestry and Natural Resources Research and Development (PCARRD) has established a malapapaya model farm to promote the scientific propagation of the trees, whose timber is in demand as raw material for furniture and kitchen utensils.

PCARRD established its model malapapaya farm in collaboration with the Southern Tagalog Agriculture and Resources Research and Development Consortium and the Southern Luzon Polytechnic College.

The 12-hectare farm, located in Barangay Bigo, Pagbilao, Quezon province, is part of a two-year project to promote the use of seedlings from “elite,” high-quality trees and scientific methods of raising them. The farm will include a 1,000-square meter nursery.

PCARRD hopes to have at least 30 farmers – preferably from Laguna and Batangas – as well as seedling producers and investors adopt and continue the scientific malapapaya propagation method even after the project is over.

According to PCARRD’s latest quarterly newsletter, the demand for malapapaya (Polyscias nodosa) timber of good quality far outstrips supply.

PCARRD said most malapapaya trees are naturally grown in Laguna, Quezon and Bicol, but the quality of the wood is not consistent – many of the trees are not of the form and growth desired by manufacturers, and lack natural resistance to disease.

The agency said that in Pagsanjan, Laguna alone, a company that produces ice cream spoons and sticks needs about 25,000 malapapaya trees that are at least 24 centimeters in diameter at chest height per year to supply its domestic market.

To meet the firm’s demand, a farmer needs 25 hectares of land for 25,000 trees planted three meters apart per year, PCARRD said.

Malapapaya timber is also used for bento boxes, coffee stirrers, veneer inlays and furniture components. PCARRD noted that local furniture exporters are starting to include malapapaya wood in their design.

To get a steady harvest of malapapaya trees over an eight-year rotation period, a farmer needs about 225 hectares planted to trees of different ages.

The trees should be grown in open thickets and second-growth forests at 1,000 to 3,000 feet above sea level. They can also be grown in moist areas along gullies and creeks.

BARANGAY BIGO FORESTRY AND NATURAL RESOURCES RESEARCH AND DEVELOPMENT LAGUNA AND BATANGAS MALAPAPAYA PCARRD PHILIPPINE COUNCIL QUEZON AND BICOL TREES
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