Blueberry farms in the PH? Just like (hopelessly) raising durian in sandy Pampanga

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IMMEDIATELY after his return from Canada , President Aquino shared to the nation what he saw as the “positive fruits” of his visit. I was about to cheer wholeheartedly at the efforts of Mr. Aquino when he mentioned the words “ blueberries” and “cranberries .” He said there are Canadian businessmen who might invest in commercial cranberry and blueberry plantations here.

Did they really say that? Or was it a case of supportive but overpromising Canadian business groups that so wanted to support Mr. Aquino’s investment-generation drive that their investment pledges went into unrealistic overdrive? Who would not be gladdened by the glorious spectacle of commercially raising blueberries and cranberries here? Just the excess production or the product overruns that would go into the domestic market would be a gift to millions of diabetics like me and Mr. Bas. Berries, unless juiced and wallowing in sugar, are good for diabetics.

But then we have to ask this question. Were the pledges to invest in berry plantations mere cases of overenthusiasm?

The sad truth is raising commercial-scale blueberries and cranberries here is just like raising durian in sandy Pampanga. It can’t be done. No way, now how. One can do it, but it would have to end up as a fool’s quest. Raising crops on a commercial scale is primarily about one thing – location. Or, to put it simply, soil type. There is no location in the country, including the famous La Trinidad strawberry planting sties, that is viable for raising berries on a commercial scale. Sure, one can raise berries in pots or pans, but we are talking here about commercial-scale berry plantations.


You know what? Even coffee does not thrive in the low-lying areas of Pampanga. That is how important soil type is to raising crops on a commercial scale. Just a minor digression from the norm would lead to crop failure.

We have to take note of this, though. The planned investments on yellow corn production by the Canadian entities are viable. Offhand, you can see the promise of such ventures. Yellow corn can be raised anywhere in the country, from Isabela – the largest yellow-corn supplying province in Luzon – to the more ideal farm lands of Mindanao. Foreign investors can thrive by supplying a part of the domestic market alone. The price is not a problem. Farm gate prices are now between P13.50 to P14 per kilo.

But cranberries and blueberries? Excuse us.

We cannot fault Mr. Aquino for being swept away by the grandness and newness of the investment pledge – cranberry fields forever. And it came from Canada, which is a country known for fulfilling most of its social and economic commitments to the world. But a leader has to curb his enthusiasm on such things.

First, the country has been zoned agriculturally. You have a guide on which crops thrive in each of the country’s more than 7,000 islands. I think it was the late Rep. and former Agriculture Secretary Sonny Escudero who ordered the strict demarcation of the country’s agricultural zones. What to plant commercially is now based on science, not hype. Had Mr. Aquino consulted that map, he would have tempered his enthusiasm on the blueberry fields forever thing.

But then, who would help him curb his enthusiasm on things agricultural? The DA, over the past five years, has been a factory of dreams and wishful thinking.

One of the two DA secretaries, private contractor-turned congressman-turned cabinet member Procy Alcala has been a reckless prophet of agricultural boom. Year in and year out, Mang Procy has been predicting bumper rice harvests, which Mr. Aquino used to parrot as part of the “good news “ of daang matuwid. The problem is Procy is all humbug and hot air. Not only does production fall short of domestic demand every year. Over the past three years, rice imports have exceeded one million metric tons a year and Mr. Aquino will end his six-year term without any production breakthrough. And while the massive rice imports are public knowledge, there are other critical areas where imports are our lifelines.

Every year, the boosters of minions of Mang Procy from the private sector have been promising more-than-adequate yellow corn supply at tempered prices. They have been boasting of yellow corn exports. The farm gate is now between P13.50 to P14 per kilo because of acute supply gaps. Because yellow corn makes up 60 percent of feed ingredients, animal raisers have been suffering.

The truth is that while Mang Procy and his co-secretary, former Senator Francis Pangilinan, have been putting up brave fronts and issuing optimistic statements on the state of agricultural production, they have been utter laggards and failures.

What then is the real score on the planned blueberry and cranberry investments in the country? Treat them as one of Mang Procy’s many spiels on more-than-adequate rice production and supply. All hot air, without one kernel of reality.

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19 Comments

  1. I lived in blueberry capital of New Jersey , blueberry is a high maintanance plant , its not a plant and forget species like coconut , its a one crop season
    per year and it need a yearly plant hibernation during fall and winter and then
    you need refridgeration to keep it from getting bad after harvest . Its labor intensive because it need to be pick by hand not machines like cranberry
    Hand picking is being done by Mexicans never White or Black Americans .

  2. jason madrigal on

    Well some species of blueberry can actually grow in warm climate i.e Southern Highbush. It was also said the wheat cannot grow in the Philippines, but the Spanish Friars were cultivating them in Mindanao back during the last days of the Spanish time. It was not top quality, but they were successful. It was thrown out of existance, because the American said that their wheat is better and is true, but we can do it it just takes time.
    They also said that nothing can be grown in a desert, but look at Israel, they did it.

  3. As President of the Philippines you do not question his intelligence.. if he says blueberries and cranberries can grow in hot humid Philippines, he must have some genetic engineering in mind or at least it will grow…in his mind…… look at BBL, he can make a no to a resounding yes …. engineering lang yan… kayang kaya nya yan… that’s because we look so dumb in his eyes.

  4. Please don’t add insult to injury. Estupido na nga yun tao eh pinangangalandakan nyo pa. Maging kristyano naman sana tayong lahat lalo ngyong araw ng linggo. Maski bobo ang tao ay di na kailangan ipagsigawaan pa ito. Nasa lahi talaga pag ang tatay ay isang congenital liar. Lalabas talaga sa DNA nila na walang katotohanan mga pinagsasabi mga yan. Kapatid nga ay nagsabi na may STD maski wala na patunay lamang na talagang nasa dugo ang pagsasabi ng hindi totoo.

  5. a simple google search would show a map where cranberries are grown.They can be found in acidic bogs throughout the cooler regions of the northern hemisphere between the US and Canada. just the right amount of coldness is needed to make the shrubs bloom, which a tropical country like the Philippines certainly do not have.

    Aquino is shooting blanks again, as usual.

  6. Matthew Parkes on

    “Might invest.”

    Every time the yellow traitor returns from his trips abroad he claims that same thing: “might invest.” However, we never see the investment and there is always some new distraction – KrisTD cried, KrisTD got a new disease, KrisTD caused another married man to cheat on his wife – so nobody bothers to hold him to account for his previous lies.

    It would be better if the nation simply chose to ignore him and the media simply refused to report on anything he did or said. His only goal for the past three years has been to secure a presidential pardon after 2016. Other than that, he’s just stealing oxygen – and money! – from everybody else.

    So, let’s scrap the BBL and otherwise ignore this traitor while we also try and make sure that whoever is elected in 2016 is, in the crudest terms, nothing like a Filipino but has a Filipino passport.

  7. Alejo Rosete on

    Almost all comments has one word STUPID.
    Why not his Agriculture Secretaries advise him
    what to say – Stupid.

    Are these two Secretaries in Agriculture know AGRICULTURE?
    What kind of Administration is this. His Secretaries and /or Advisers
    are SQUARE PEG on a round HOLE.

  8. I live in New Jersey just a few km from where the blueberry was first domesticated. The credit goes to Elizabeth White shortly before 1920. There are wild blueberries everywhere. Wild blueberries are small perhaps like the ones that grow in Baguio, yes Baguio. It may in fact be possible to grow commercial berries in that area. Perhaps the U of P in Los Banos could be of help. Cranberries are also very big in this area. The soil is layers of sand and organic matter. They do not require much water during their long growing season. The berries are flooded during harvest so machines can “beat” the berries off the plants and are gathered as they float to the surface. The areas are left flooded during the winter to protect the plants from our cold winters. If you wish to contact U of P and there is interest, and they would like to visit the area, I could put them up and introduce to blueberry and cranberry farmers. As I plan to move to your country within the next year, they may wish to visit soon. Yen Makabenta knows how to contact me.

  9. Amnata Pundit on

    We are the laughing stock of the world thanks to this mental and moral derelict , and thanks to the yellow forces who gave him to us. His initials bs suit him perfectly.

  10. Allen llamar on

    When ever Pres. GMA returned back to Philippines after a business trip, some people used to make fun of her for bringing a dismal business to the country.
    now with Pres. Aquino cranberries and what? blueberries is that a business, have mercy on us…what a joke….

  11. Leodegardo Pruna on

    The DA’s performance is utterly dismal because of incompetent men at the helm whose only credentials are their closeness or membership in the KKK. God bless the Philippines.

  12. Does Pnoy Aquino simply work hard at always playing the fool, or have we found Calamity Juan’s single natural talent.

    Pnoy aquino trumpets big investments everytime he returns from an overseas trip. They never ever materialise.

    FDI trickles in and lags behind other ASEAN countries, whilst his flagship PPP projects have been an unmitigated disaster.
    The simpleton only looks at GDP, and doesn’t even understand that a high GDP ( thanks to OFW contributions fuelling consumption, and ‘hot money’) in isolation is nothing to crow about, but actually represents another failure when you cannot translate the opportunity into job creation or inclusive growth.

    Apart from Pnoy Aquino being the worlds worst salesman, he simply cannot tell the truth about anything and is tantamount to being a serial liar.
    Businessmen politely regard him as a deluded fool to be humored at best, and then ignored. They do not suffer fools, in any way.
    He has no conception of international business or global economics, and would be better staying away from businessmen, and not embarrassing the country internationally.

    “You can fool all the people some of the time, and some of the people all the time, but you cannot fool all the people all the time”
    Abraham Lincoln

    • In fact, the tsaynis wanted simyon to win last 2010 because as they say, it is easier to humor a kid than an acute businessman.

  13. Ask the cranberries and blueberries if they can grow in the Philippines? Like apples, they grow only in countries with cold climates. PNoy cannot skip the Zones where plants will grow and thrive. As mentioned here durian and coffee can be grown only in particular zones even in the Philippines.

    PNoy mus have nognog for a brain. He is stupid and dumb. He thinks that when he said something it will be done, even against nature. He think he is god.

    • classic example of boy sisi opening his mouth ahead of his brain. not only the suitability of soil and climate should be considered but also the infrastructurelike feeder roads, water resources, etc. one big hindrance for the canadians’ dream of putting up the blueberry farm is availability of huge tracts of land which is not available due to carp.

  14. I Remember... on

    You have to be plain stupid to believe blueberries will grow in the Philippines! Or political motivated to lie to population….

    I wish mango and banana will grow in Canada…. but impossible. Plain stupid writers? Face? Or back middle part?

    REPLY: Why are you citing writers? It’s Aquino who is plain stupid, right

  15. Blueberries thrive in very cool temperatures just like in north Canada. Do the Philippines have this temperatures 24/7? No, not even in Baguio. Cranberries are grown on flat lands like valleys and need lots and lots of water. But PNoy does not know these facts, so the best hing he can do is brag without even thinking. Such a pathetic person.

  16. ecclesiastes on

    Yes, indeed if this inept president really believes in his boastful propaganda about the Canadian promise of investment in berries plantation, then it reinforced the wide perception of the general public that this president is a big FOOL as he admitted publicly during the height of the Mamasapno massacre issue that he was fooled by his BFF resigned PNP Chief purisima on the progress of the operation that resulted in the needless sacrifice of lives of PNP SAF in furtherance of this inutile’s president personal agenda of recovering his waning popularity……

  17. Roldan Guerrero on

    A STUPID PRESIDENT who wants his illness become VIRAL! He really deserves to be called PIGNOY, binababoy nya ang mga pinoy at ang bansa nating winawasak nya. He should not be called Pnoy….a LIAR is not worth being called.