Promoting ornamental horticulture to the level of an honest-to-goodness industry could be a means of attaining the inclusive economic growth that the government is trying to achieve.

By Zac B. Sarian

This means that even the small players, the small scale farmers and gardeners, can partake of the economic benefits by getting involved in producing horticultural products that include ornamental plants and some other high-value crops.

That is also the dream of the Philippine Horticultural Society, Inc. (PHSI) headed by Dorie S. Bernabe. The garden club, which recently inaugurated its new office at the Quezon Memorial Circle, is collaborating with the Quezon City government in staging the Hortikultura 2015 from January 22 to February 3, 2015.

The opportunities in ornamental horticulture will be highlighted in this garden extravaganza, which will include a trade show, landscaping and plant competitions, and a horticulture congress.

As part of its program to encourage the members of the younger generation to take up ornamental horticulture, the PHSI is conducting free seminars on different horticultural topics. The first was the two-day seminar and workshop on orchid culture conducted by Ray Ong, a graduate of UP Los Baños, who is an expert in propagating horticultural plants.

Ray, who is a chemist, has put up a laboratory at the PHSI office in Quezon City to conduct teach-ins on plant propagation and for propagating selected ornamental plants with the potential for commercial propagation.

In order to lift the horticulture industry to a higher level, PHSI is launching a program in which members of the society, and others who might want to join, can be organized into some kind of a cooperative or cluster. Its members will be provided with technical guidance on production as well as on marketing their products.

In this connection, Boyet Ganigan, who has been producing spectacular hibiscus hybrids by the hundreds, has volunteered his services to market the production of members of the proposed cooperative. He has linkages with plant traders who supply the requirements of property developers, botanic gardens, and the like in countries that include Singapore, Malaysia, Indonesia, and others in Europe.

Varieties with export potential will be identified. These will be mass-produced by the participating co-op members and marketed through Ganigan.

PHS Study Groups

The PHSI has also formed study groups to identify indigenous horticultural materials which could be developed for commercial production. These include decorative species and those with medicinal properties.

By the way, the Hortikultura 2015 is financially supported by the Quezon City government, which is celebrating its 75th founding anniversary, and by the Department of Agriculture.

Benefits from Garden Extravaganza

Garden shows like the annual garden show of PHSI directly benefit the participants in the show by giving them the opportunity to showcase and sell their plants in the commercial section.

There is nothing that can motivate more people to get into gardening than the opportunity to derive an income from what gardeners produce in their farms or nurseries.

This appeared in Agriculture Magazine’s December 2014 issue.