Photo by Rita T. dela Cruz
The Field Legume Varietal Improvement Group, the technical working group evaluating peanut seeds, is now recommending Asha peanut for certification after passing a series of testing and strict evaluation by the National Seed Industry Council (NSIC), this was revealed by Ms Rosemary Aquino in an interview. Ms. Aquino is the focal person of Asha peanut production in the Philippines.
Certification is an important mechanism that ensures varietal purity, seed genetic identity, and the over-all seed quality in relation to production, processing, storage, and distribution in pursuant to the implementing rules and regulation of the Seed Industry Development Act (Republic Act 7308) of 1992.
Certified seed means, the seed is already been tested and passed the quality standards of the evaluating body and therefore ready to distribute and commercialize. Thus, the tag “certified seed” is the highest credential given to the seed that possesses quality.
She further stated that, with the qualities Asha peanut has revealed in the 17 national cooperative trials (2007 wet season to 2008-2009 dry season) there’s no doubt for Asha to pass the quality standard of NSIC. Among the accredited testing areas were DA-CVIARC, BPI-LBNCRDC, DA-BIARCS, DA-ROS Bohol, DMMMSU La Union, DA-SMIARC, USM Kabacan, CMU Bukidnon, MMSU Batac, Ilocos Sur, DA-SAMAR, and DA CEMIARC.
Based on the trial results, Asha (ICGV 86564) consistently ranked as number one in terms of yield. Actually, it out-yielded the NSIC national check variety (Pn 11) by 22% during wet season and 10% in dry season.
Besides, Asha is the only peanut variety released in the Philippines that produced the highest recorded yield of 3,991 kg per hectare. It doubles the yield of the most commercialized peanut varieties in the country. It also has a 3-in-1 variety in terms of seed sizes – comprised of Class A (jumbo), Class B (large), and Class C (medium-small seeds). The biggest seed are same sized as cashew nuts weighing one gram per seed.
Aside from being large-seeded, it has a high shelling recovery of 73-79%. Asha is also ideal for confections and as table food as indicated by its proximate nutrient analysis – 25.67% crude protein, 20.05% carbohydrates, 47.41% crude fat, 4.39% moisture and 2.48% ash.
On the other hand, Asha peanut is also resistant to bacterial wilt and other foliar diseases like – early and late cercospora leaf spot and rust, making it ideal for livestock forage due to high fresh bio-mass and dry matter yield, Ms. Aquino added.
Since its arrival in the Philippines, Asha peanut created a positive image to farmers and even businesspersons because of its yield potential and profit. Actually, it was commercially grown already in Region 02 particularly in the municipalities of Echague, Jones, Benito Soliven and Gamu, Isabela and in Lallo, Solana and Tuguegarao, Cagayan through support from the DA-BAR Technology Commercialization Program.
At present, farmers in other regions (Regions 0l, 09, 10 and CAR) are now showing interest in the production of the Asha as manifested by seed orders, sales and delivery records of CVIARC. In fact, it is now a by-word among peanut farmers and other peanut enthusiasts. It also appeared in text messages and even in emails as indication of its popularity, stated Ms. Aquino.
The success of Asha was made possible through the collaborative effort of various agencies coupled by strong technology commercialization and dissemination strategies, like the conduct of national and local peanut festivals, technology demonstrations, trade fairs, and the mass production and distribution of information and communication materials. However, making the seed always available to farmers and all Asha enthusiasts is the most important aspect of all strategies, which is the basic role of DA-CVIARC as breeder in the case of Asha peanut, said Ms. Aquino.