Roselle raises hope for rural livelihood
ENDEMIC TO TROPICAL AFRICA, Roselle (Hibiscus sabriffa) is an annual herb that belongs to the family Malvacea and grows 1 to 2 meters in height.
It has purplish stems and used as an ingredient in the preparation of sinigang mix, jams, jellies, and sauce. It is also a potential hedgerow for soil and water conservation and can be used as animal feed or forage.
With such diverse potentials, Ecosystems Research and Development Bureau researchers Dr. Aleli Luna and Russel Olan conducted a study on pilot production of Roselle as an agroforestry crop to determine its growth, yield, and potential as a source of livelihood.
Seeds of Roselle were taken from Lipa City and planted in agroforestry farms in the town of Pagbilao and Atimonan in Quezon. The researchers documented the herb’s seed germination, nursery production, survival rate, growth in plantation, flowering and fruiting, and food processing.
They determined that Roselle has high 90 to 93 percent survival rate in Quezon and Laguna areas. Roselle grown in Los Baños, Laguna and San Pablo City start to bear flowers in September and the fruits mature until January.
In Pagbilao and Atimonan, the herb’s flowers sprout in October and fruits mature until March.
Suitability of Roselle as hedgerows to control erosion and conserve soil and water was also tested in Pagbilao and Atimonan in Quezon, and in Los Baños, Laguna. Research partners in these towns gave positive feedbacks such as Roselle is fast growing, bushy, adapts in marginal lands, and does not require intensive maintenance. They are also confident that Roselle can be grown in newly established agroforestry farms and open areas.
Atimonan participants in a training on the processing of Roselle into jellies, jams, and sauces expressed support to the development of Roselle as a source of livelihood and farm productivity.
Production technology generated from the study is ready for verification and testing on a larger scale. STP