The Field Legume Varietal Improvement Group, the technical working group evaluating peanut seeds, is recommending Asha peanut for certification by the National Seed Industry Council (NSIC) after the peanut variety passed a series of testing and strict evaluation.
This was revealed by Dr. rosemary Aquino, the focal person of Asha peanut (ICGV 86564) production in the Philippines.
Certification is an important mechanism to ensure varietal purity, seed genetic identity and overall 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. Thus, the tag "certified seed" is the highest credential given to the seed that possesses quality.
She further stated that the qualities possessed by Asha peanut revealed in 17 national cooperative trials (2007 wet season to 2008-09 dry season), Asha peanut has undoubtedly passed 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 result, Asha consistently ranked as No. 1 in terms of yield. Actually, it outyielded the NSIC national check variety (Pn 11) by 22 percent during the wet season and 10 percent in the dry season.
Asha is also the only peanut variety released in the Philippines that produces the highest recorded yield of 3,991 kg per hectare. It doubles the yield of the most commercialized peanut varieties in the country and 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 is sized as a cashew nut, weighing one gram per seed.
Aside from being large-seeded, Asha has a high-shelling recovery of 73 percent to 79 percent. Asha is also ideal for confections and table foods as indicated by its proximate nutrient analysis: 25.67-percent crude protein, 20.05-percent carbohydrates, 47.41-percent crude fat, 4.39-percent moisture, and 2.48-percent ash.
Asha 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 its high fresh biomass and dry-matter yield, Dr. Aquino added.
Since its arrival in the Philippines, Asha peanut created a positive image to farmers and businessmen because of its yield potential and profit. It has been commercially grown in Region 2, particularly in the municipalities of Echague, Jones, Benito Soliven and Gamu, Isabela and in Lallo, Cagayan, commercialization program.
At present, farmers in regions l, 9, 10 and Cordillera Autonomous Region are showing interest in the production of Asha as manifested by seed orders, sales and delivery records of CVIARC. In fact, it is now a byword and even a word of expression to most peanut farmers and other peanut enthusiasts. It also appeared on text messages and even in e-mails as indicative of its popularity, stated Dr. Aquino.
The success of Asha was made possible through the collaborative effort of different 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.
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 Dr. Aquino.