Monday, July 20, 2009

The Secret to Selling Easily

The best advice I ever got on selling was this:
Have an awesome enough product that it will sell itself.
I read an article once that the least trusted person in America was the used car salesman. Its so easy to see why, you have an old product that you are selling for at a cheap price. Its age translates to unreliability while the cheap price equates to a low profit margin.

Lying and cheating is sometimes your only option to get that thing out of the parking lot. The question is, will you be comfortable with that reputation? Like we’ve written before, there are more things more valuable than money in life
, and that is your reputation.
As a salesman, you should always put yourself in a position to sell a product that is remarkable, useful and reliable. That way you don’t have to lie, cheat or steal in order to make a living. And it will be less stressful to you too. So it would be wise to select a good company with a good product when deciding which company to apply a sales position for.

Monday, July 6, 2009

Prayer for Finding a Job

Having a hard time looking for a job? Try asking intercession to God from St. Cayetano (Cajetan) because he is known as the patron saint of job seekers and the unemployed.
St. Cayetano was of noble lineage and was born on October, 1480 at Vicenza. His parents were Gaspar, Count of Thiene, and Maria Porto. Maria Porto was known to be very pious and was responsible for his studios upbringing. St. Cayetano eventually became a diplomat at Rome in 1506 and was largely attributed to the reconciliation of the Republic of Venice with Rome. By 1516 he had advanced already to the priesthood.

After leaving his work in 1523, due to the death of the Pope, he established the Oratory of Divine Love, which is an association of pious priests and prelates.
The following year he returned to Vicenza due to the death of his mother. There he established a hospital for incurables. Deeply concerned with the spiritual diseases that had infected the clergy of all ranks during his time he strove to reform them by instituting a body of regular clergy, who should combine the spirit of monasticism with the exercises of the active ministry.
He died at Naples in 1547 due to extreme depression and grief over the discords of the city of Naples. During his last moments he was said to have suffered a form of mystical crucifixion.
He was beatified on 8 October 1629 by Pope Urban VIII and eventually canonized on 12 April 1671 by Pope Clement X.
Saint Cajetan’s feast day is celebrated on August 7. He is known as the patron saint of the unemployed and job seekers. His remains are in the church of San Paolo Maggiore in Naples.

Prayer to St. Cayetano for Job Seekers and the Unemployed

Glorious Saint Cajetan, acclaimed by all people to be father of providence because you provide miraculous aid to all who come to you in need, I stand here before you today, asking that you present to the Lord the requests that I confidently deposit in your hands. (Mention here the graces desired.) May these graces that I now request help me to always seek the Kingdom of God and his Righteousness, knowing that God -- who dresses with beauty the flowers of the field and abundantly feeds the birds of the sky -- will give me all other things. Amen.[source]
Try praying this novena style: for nine days straight then after each prayer recite 3 Our Father's, 3 Hail Mary's and 3 Glory Be's.

 Addendum:

Just to clarify, you pray to St. Cajetan to intercede for you to God in order to have your prayer answered.
In the Bible, if you will notice in the Gospel, that whenever Jesus heals or performs a miracle for somebody he usually grants forgiveness first. By this example, when we pray to God to ask for something we should first ask for forgiveness for our sins and our shortcomings.
We should remember that God is Good. Therefore our pain and suffering don’t come from Him. Most often our pain and suffering comes from our being away from His Grace because of our sinfulness (John 5: 14 “Behold, you have become well; do not sin anymore, so that nothing worse happens to you”). The Bible mentions that the world we live in right now is the realm of Satan and he will do all in his power to separate us from the Grace of God. Yet Satan can only do so much as God will allow. To return to God’s Grace can be done by the simple act of asking for forgiveness and trying to live a moral life afterwards.
If this prayer has in anyway been answered, please don’t forget to Thank God for His Grace and St. Cajetan for his intercession. Please also do your part by spreading this prayer around in honor of St. Cajetan. If you want to do more, then try anonymous acts of charity in order to share your blessings. It is also by acts of Charity that we have our sins forgiven and be in the Grace of God.
Charity is not limited to giving money. Acts of kindness are charitable works in itself because it gives us the opportunity to emulate Christ. Like donating blood, picking up litter that somebody had dropped, helping a child tie his shoe, being understanding of the person holding up the line, helping the new person at work feel part of the team, forgiving someone who has wronged us in the past… just to name a few.
Time on earth is only temporary but the Kingdom of God is forever. Just think of this time on earth as your entrance exam to judge whether you are worthy enough to enter the Kingdom of God. It might be difficult but God will always take care of his righteous people. God Provides!

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

What is more valuable than Money in Business?

I had an acquaintance who almost became my business partner. Fate would have it that our business venture would not push through because of a prior deal that showcased his true nature to me.
It all started when he sold an item to me. I knew that money was a bit tight for him at that time so even though I thought it was a bad deal, I decided to part with my own finances in the guise of helping him out.

Later on I found out that the previous seller changed the product and left the damaged product with him which he then sold to me. Meaning, not only did he earn from me, but he also got his money back because of the faulty product.
So did I consider it a loss on my part?, well I did lose money, but the important thing was that I staved off a disaster by not entering into a business with him.
Maybe one reason why I got inspired to write this post was because I met up with him last week and our conversation had turned to his business partnerships. To which he said that they had all ended. He was lucky enough that some of his partners bought him out. Of course since I didn’t really trust him anymore, I stopped believing on the part that his partners had bought him out, because I had heard that some of them kicked him out.
People always say that in business money is money and personal feelings should not get in the way of putting food on the table. There was a time when I used to agree with that, but then I realized that there were things more valuable than money in this world that every aspiring entrepreneur should look out for.

Other Things that are more Valuable than Money in Business

Respect - that friend of mine sacrificed our friendship for the purpose of earning a buck, with that, he lost my respect for him. Whenever you lose trust with somebody, chances are your access to him and his resources won’t be so easy.
For instance, if you needed a loan or a buyer for your product, he’d probably ask you to go the more formal way of making a pitch than with something that can be settled by a cup of coffee and a handshake. Asking favors will also be difficult because why would you help somebody who you know could easily stab you in the back.
When customers respect you and know you for being honest, they know that what they are buying from you is good enough on merit of your word alone.
Customers can also be more forgiving of you when you make mistakes. A businessman once told me that a customer found a ballpen in some processed food that they were selling. The loyal customer just pointed out the mistake to them and called it an honest mistake. If the guy hated them he’d had taken it to the press, who would make a big issue out of it.
How do you gain respect? well by keeping a good reputation and by learning to return respect on your part to other people.
Idea - you might have the money to invest in a business. But if you don’t know what to invest it in you could do yourself a better favor by just keeping the money in the bank. Otherwise you’d just end up loosing it all.
I learned this from a friend who was working abroad. He had saved up a lot of money but he said that he didn’t know what to invest it in. So he said that he would rather work till retirement than take the chance at starting a business, by then he could live off of his pension.
Of course, because of the financial crisis, wherein a lot or retirement funds fell victim to the bad investment vehicles. Made us realize that retirement funds aren’t a sure thing after all.
Not that I’m saying that working till retirement is a bad thing. But if your dream is to start your own business and be your own boss, working in a company till retirement might not be a good idea for you.
Loyalty - you could have a lot of friends, business acquaintances and employee’s. But could you really count which ones are loyal to you? There is a benefit in having loyal people around you, because these people are trustful enough that they won’t try to cheat you, steal from you or spread gossip about you that can ruin your reputation.
That’s why they also say that a loyal people are worth more than their weight in gold.
Persistence - There are a lot of times that you might fail in life and in business. But the strength to pick yourself up from every setback and try again is indeed a valuable trait to have.
Health - health is wealth so they say. Guard your health at all times because you only have one body and not all diseases have cures for them. Work yourself too hard and you could be in and out the hospital all the time.
Your hard earned money will just end up paying for medicines and doctors (unless of course you have a socialized medical system in your country).
Work yourself too hard and you could end up kicking the bucket soon.
Time - didn’t somebody say once that you can make more money but you can’t make more time? You only have one life in this world so you better make the most out of it by learning to prioritize what matters most.
If you however were able to build a time machine, now wouldn’t that be really a valuable invention?
Relationships - There is a saying that knowing the right people in this world could help you advance faster in life. True, because they open doors that might have been closed for you.
A friend once told me that the animal feed industry was a good business to enter into because his friend was raking in millions supplying to a local piggery. I was doubtful of course considering that this was a small guy going up against well established feed suppliers. Wanting to find out what his edge was, I asked him if his friend knew anybody at the company, to which he said that his uncle was a manager at the piggery. Here is the part that you realize that the business was a good business to enter into because the guy knew somebody inside with authority to decide who the feed supplier will be.
Relationships could also mean family relationships. I’ve seen a lot of family corporations ground to a halt because of family infighting. I have a feeling that this is because people have a tendency to think that since they’re related, they are afforded much leeway and that there is an obligation to them by the other family members. That’s why I’ve seen the longer lasting family corporations put a premium in building good relationships with one another. Otherwise they just end up making their lawyer’s rich.
So how do you build relationships?, by building a reputation of being a trustful person and in turn being respectful of the other person.

In Parting

From the list above, we could conclude that Money isn’t the only thing valuable in business that one should look out for. Because it’s so easy to make money if one leaves his morals at the door. The problem with that attitude is that it might make you a pile of dough, but you end up making enemies that will make your path to financial freedom treacherous.

Friday, February 20, 2009

How Natural Rubber Farming Works

Rubber is one of the main raw materials of the modern world, I don’t think you would be able to go anywhere or do anything without being influenced by a rubber product. When you wake up from your bed to start your day, you put on your rubber slippers, go to work in your rubber soled shoes, hop in a vehicle with rubber tires, text with your rubber sealed cellphone etc.

Yep rubber is everywhere. So where does rubber start? Rubber initially came from the sap of the rubber tree. The bark of the rubber tree is scarred so that the latex will flow and that is harvested into containers. Modern science however has made it possible to create synthetic rubber from oil products. But the purpose of this article will concentrate mainly on natural rubber production.

ParĂ¡ rubber tree (Hevea brasiliensis)

The para rubber tree initially grew in South America and over the years due to its popularity it was regrown in Sri Lanka, Indonesia, Singapore, Malaysia, India and other parts of the world.
The tree belongs to the family Euphorbiaceae and is the most important member of the genus Hevea. It is of major economical importance because its sap-like extract, known as latex, can be collected and is the primary source of natural rubber.
The tree can reach a height of over 30m. The white or yellow latex occurs in latex vessels in the bark.

Once the trees are 5-6 years old (50 cm diameter), the harvest can begin: incisions are made every other day orthogonal to the latex vessels without harming the tree’s growth. The latex is collected in small cups found near the base of the tree.
One man is usually assigned to an area of 1 to 2 hectares. He goes around tapping the tree for it to release its latex during the morning then comes back again after a few hours to pick it up. After the collection they usually place coagulant on the cup so that the remaining dripping sap will be converted to cup lump. The cup lump is collected the following morning again when the tree is about to be tapped.
A specially made knife is used to create grooves that will maximize the flow of rubber latex to the harvesting cup.

Rubber Tree Products at the Farm Level:

Crepe : 2 hours worth of Latex collected after initial cutting is collected and settled in a vat with some chemicals for one day.

The following day it is processed through a roller and made into crepe sheets.


It is air dried for one week before being sold to the buyer.

Cup Lump or Scrap: After collection of the latex in the morning, coagulant is added into the collecting cup to mix with the remaining latex drippings from the rubber tree which will cause it to harden. It is sold without processing to the buyer.

Crepe is generally more expensive than Cup Lump.

Rubber Production Methods

There are two ways to create rubber products, one is the natural method using the sap from the rubber tree. The second is synthesizing it from oil. Drawback to the natural method is that there are some people who are allergic to natural rubber.

Demand and Supply Projections :

  • The growth of the industry is greatly influenced by the Industrialization of China, Russia and India as well as demand from Europe.
  • World consumption of natural rubber is projected to increase at 3-5%/year up to 2015 due to the price of oil. Natural Rubber prices is expected to continue to increase up to 2015. There is a level of uncertainty now however with the economic crisis bringing the price of oil back to 2005 levels.
  • However natural rubber production is projected to increase because of the expansion in Indonesia and Vietnam
  • Rubber processors are inclined to convert to natural from synthetic due to the increase in petroleum prices.

Correlation of Oil and Rubber Prices :

Looking at the comparisson of oil vs rubber prices in the graphs below, you will notice an almost 1:1 correlation. Meaning that it will most generally follow that the price of natural rubber will trend with the price of oil. This is most probably because oil is also used as the raw material of synthetic rubber. When the price of oil shoots up, those who create rubber products will shift to natural rubber in order to remain competitive.












Site Selection for Rubber Planting :
  1. On flat lands – should be well-drained, water table should be deeper than 100 cm.
  2. Gently sloping/undulating to rolling terrains
  3. Soil pH of 4.5 ~ 6.5 (ideal pH is 5.5)
  4. Good soil aeration (30%)
  5. Topsoil containing abundant organic matter.

Climatic Requirements:

  1. Min temp is 20°C
  2. Max temp is 34°C
  3. Average temp is 25~28°C
  4. 80% atmospheric humidity with moderate wind
  5. Rainfall of 2000 mm – evenly distributed throughout
  6. Some variety’s can adapt to certain climates.

Planting Distances

Planting distance selection of the rubber tree will usually depend on the type of terrain and if intercropping is to be done.
The typical planting distances for slopping terrain are : 9 x 2.5m (444 trees/ha), 8 x 2.5m(500 trees/ha), 10 x 2m(500 trees/ha). While undulating terrain: 5 x 4m(500 trees/ha), 6 x 3m(555 trees/ha)

Profit

Is rubber production a profitable venture? Well recently it has been profitable again due to the high price of oil but with the slow down in the economy and the sheer drop in oil prices it remains to be seen again. Prices are as low as P19/kg right now. Prior to that the rubber plantation industry suffered so much from the low buying price of latex that some of them had resorted to shifting to higher value crops (ex. banana). The sudden oil price spike was mana from heaven for those who stuck to rubber and replanted their 25 year old trees with new stock (rubber tree production goes down ones the tree reaches 25 years)
The farm owner we interviewed in 2006 had 40 hectares with 27 year old rubber trees. Of which he was harvesting 20 ha/day. He harvested 1154 kg of cup lump per week and 801 gal of crepe. With the price of cup lump at P45/kg and crepe at P92/gal he was grossing about P125,000 per week. Minus the costs of salaries and other farm expenses he was taking home P89,063 per week.
When setting up a rubber plantation however, you have to make sure also that you are close to the buyers of cup lump and crepe otherwise the trucking cost is going to cut in your profitability.
[source: Intl. Rubber Study Group, Philippine Dept of Agriculture]

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

What Makes a Good Salesperson?

According to Mark Cuban, a good salesperson isn’t somebody who can talk someone into anything. Its not the smooth talking hustler nor the top student in the company’s sales training class.
According to Cuban, anybody can learn to be a great salesperson. All they have to do is put in the effort and care about your company, your prospects and customers. Its also the most important job in every company because there has yet to be a successful company that has survived with zero sales. No amount of sales training can make you a better salesperson till you take this to heard.

A Good Sales Person Is:

  1. Someone who puts themselves in their customer’s shoes and provides a solution that makes the customer happy.
  2. Someone the customer trusts and never has to question.
  3. Someone who knows that with every cold call made, they are closer to helping someone.
  4. Someone who takes immense satisfaction from the satisfaction their customer gets.
  5. Someone who wakes up early every morning excited to come to the office and get on the phone and let people know exactly why they love their product , their job and their clients
So who is Mark Cuban and why should you care about what he has to say? Well because he’s a self made billionaire who relied on hardwork to succeed. He also has a history of turning a losing franchise such as the Dallas Maverick of the NBA to a winning one. And most importantly, because he is a successful salesperson.

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

How to Pass Your Board Exam

Board Exams are no trifle matter, because of the amount of time invested in preparing for it, hitting the passing grade on the first shot is a must. Here are some helpful tips based from my own personal experience of taking a board exam.
You are probably thinking that this is a business blog, why the heck should I be reading something about tips on passing the board exam? Well I always advocate that going abroad to get capital is the best way to start a business, rather than saddle yourself with debt from the onset.

If you are considering a professional job overseas, a good “professional title” issued by a country’s regulating body is a nice thing to have on your resume to make it attractive to employers.
I would recommend taking time off to study for your board exam. Board Exams are not like ordinary exams, they are longer and cover almost all the topics you’ve learned during your undergraduate life.

Should I attend a Review School?

I’d recommend you do. And if you do, pick a good one. One that has a lot of passing students. Because that is an indicator that they know what they are doing. I have to admit also that I learned as much during my review as I did in college, especially on the application side, effectively doubling what I knew about my profession.
The good Review schools know the in’s-and-out’s of the exam so they will teach what you need to know to pass (particularly what subject matters to concentrate on). If there are no review schools available for that exam then try getting some official review materials from the government body or institution that sponsored the test. They usually sell those also.

While Preparing for the Exam:

Make a schedule - Use the outline of the items that will be included in the exam as a basis for your schedule. The outline in review materials are also useful when creating a schedule of your study because the items are already broken down for you. Make a schedule of what you have to cover daily and be sure to add a little allowance. Factor in breaks, weekends and holidays. Most importantly, follow the schedule that you have made. When you finish early, pull in to the next lessons. If you are late, try to make up for it by giving up some weekends.
Prepare your study area - What works for you? Can you study better with music? are you easily distracted with noise? Take this in to consideration when preparing an area that is conducive for you to study. I remember actually shifting my sleeping hours to the day because I couldn’t study with all the noise going on. My study time started at 10 PM, when all the good shows on tv were finished, and ended at 6AM in the morning.
Prepare your Review Materials and Books - I had a box in my room where after each semester I would arrange all my notes, books and test examinations in there. Basically everything I ever learned in college related to my profession that I had written down I placed in there. When the time came to study for my board everything was already there and it helped me to organize easily my stuff during the review.
Identify your mentors - make a list of smart people you can ask questions from when you get stumped. If there is something you don’t understand, never hesitate to ask them. And try to never allow yourself to not understand fully a particular subject covered in the exam.
Old Exams - if your regulatory body releases the exam questions to the public, I’d recommend securing a copy and answering the exam. This is one sure way of getting a feel for the exam. You might also luck in the chance that a question in your exam will be similar to a question in the previous exam that you have already answered.
Write Review Notes - depends really if this is your method of studying. For me this is how I study. I create a more concise outline of my notes. This way it helps me to remember easily the lessons and makes my notes more portable and easy to memorize.
Write a Formula Cheat Sheet - If your exam relies on formulas, it would be beneficial to have a separate piece of paper that you can write down all the formulas you will need for the exam. This will make memorization more convenient and easier for you. I remember having memorized 3 pages worth of formulas and conversions factors. And by 3 pages, I meant back to back. It was only then that I discovered that the human brain can actually retain that much information.
Learn to Derive Formulas - One reason I was able to limit to just 3 pages my cheat sheet of formulas was because I practiced deriving formulas from their mother formula. This helps keep down the number of stuff that you have to memorize.
Use Mnemonics to help you memorize - I remember the first mnemonic taught to me in school. It was so that we could easily remember the planets in the solar system. It went something like “My very eager mother just sent us nine pies”, which translates to: My - Mercury, Very- Venus, Eager -Earth, Mother-Mars, Just -Jupiter, Sent-Saturn, Us -Uranus, Nine-Neptune, Pies - Pluto. Of course Pluto isn’t classified as a planet anymore, but this is still a great memory technique to use.
Take Breaks - factor in breaks so that you can rest your mind and relax. They say that a tired brain has a hard time absorbing new information. Based from experience it does hold true. Try not to get “too” relaxed that you end up forgetting what you have studied.
Take time out to review again what you’ve learned - I remember taking some time before hitting the sack to read again my review notes so as to refresh my memory on the topics.
Group study - I was told that studying for some exams, such as the Bar, usually work better if you can group study with other people to share information. Getting together once in a while with fellow classmates where you can share answers and tips will also help greatly. You have to remember though that in the end its you that will have to come up with the answers during the exam and not the group. And its good to keep in mind that a Group is supposed to add more knowledge to you, if it just creates confusion, then it might be best to look for another group or go it alone.
Ask advice from people who have passed the exam before you - those who’ve gone ahead of you will always have sage advice to offer you.
Have Faith - I believe that prayer helps greatly in helping you pass an exam (along with hard work). There are great prayers available which ask for intercession from saints for helping you pass exams. One such saint is St. Joseph of Cupertino, the patron saint of exam takers.
Practice, Practice, Practice - the best way for me to gain mastery of a subject is by constant exposure to it. So if it was problem solving techniques, I would continuously expose myself to solving problems. As to remembering formulas and notes, I would usually grab a blank piece of paper and try to write down everything I knew about that topic. That way I was testing and sharpening the memory retention depth of my knowledge on that subject matter.
This is also the part where having a copy of old exams comes in handy as you can practice solving the problems and answering questions from previous exams. It also develops a sense of familiarity with the exam which can help take away some of the nervousness that you may have during the exam proper.

The Day before the Exam

Get a good night’s rest - I remember blowing a sure 90 in an exam because I mistook m/sec with ft/sec in the test questions. What I ended up with was a failing score on the exam, a sure chance of failing the class and a valuable lesson of never taking an exam while I was tired.
Here in lies the importance of making a schedule and sticking to it. If you don’t stick to it you’ll end up cramming, and when you cram you end up worrying that you haven’t studied enough. When you enter that exam room you should be worrying about what the questions will be and not that plus the thought that “I haven’t studied enough”.

During the Exam

Come on time, Come prepared - Come on time is self explanatory, come prepared means you bring two pencils instead of one, your calculator has fresh batteries in them, you didn’t forget to bring your exam documents and ID’s, etc etc etc.
Pay Attention - when the facilitator is talking so that you don’t fail the exam on a technicality for not following the rules.
Follow the instructions on the questionnaire and the test rulesDon’t be a hardcase, when the exam rules state that your calculator shouldn’t be a scientific one, don’t bring a scientific. When they say 10 minute break, don’t come back 5 minutes late. When they say shade properly and use mongol #2 pencil, then do it. When the questions says that there are two answers from 4 choices be sure to shade 2 answers and not just one, etc etc etc.
Write Legibly - its sad when you learn that you failed the exam because your answers weren’t easily understood by the machine reader or the examiner who will grade your exam. Worse still if they didn’t understand the spelling of your name or your address.
Learn to Move on to the Next Question - board exams are usually time limited and the exam questions aren’t arranged on increasing difficulty. If you are stuck on a question that you can’t answer right away, move on to the next question and just come back for that one when you have time. Most exams carry just one point for each correct answer, so if you answer more easy questions than difficult ones, that could spell the difference to getting a passing grade.
Make an “Educated” Guess - for multiple choice questions that you don’t know the answer for, try to make an educated guess by eliminating the possible answers that don’t fit the question. For example if you meet a question that has A,B,C,D for choices but you know that it isn’t answerable by choice A and C then you only have to take a guess between B and D. Which gives you a 50% chance of getting the right answer. Way better than a 25% chance right?
Remember to take a break - when the proctor gives you time to go to the bathroom, take it even if you do not have a full bladder. This way you won’t be needing to go to the bathroom when you aren’t allowed to. If time is permitting, take time out to rest from the exam when you feel tired or your body feels strained from being hunched over for such a long time. A few seconds of rest could help recharge you to continue the exam.
Intake food and water - if the proctor allows you to drink and eat while taking the exam go ahead. Just make sure to prioritize taking the exam and not eating. It was recommended to me before to take chocolates to keep my brain alert, but I couldn’t tell whether it was working or not.
Be sure to take in water to stay hydrated, but not too much that you will be inconvenienced by a full bladder. Also try to select a drink that isn’t a diuretic, because it will have you going to the bathroom often, such as tea and coffee.
Preferably also you would like to take in light foods so that you wont’ become sleepy come digestion time. During lunch breaks in between exams I took a light meal because of the same reason of not wanting to be sleepy come afternoon.
Review Your Answers - if there is still time remaining, try to go back to review your answers. Who knows you could get a few more points in for correcting your wrong answers.

After the Exam

Move On - if you still have an exam for the following day, don’t’ get stuck on trying to figure out how your faired in the day’s exam because there are still tomorrow’s test to worry about.
Everybody Fails now and then - I had a friend who was often at the dean’s list of the class, yet on his first take of the board exam he failed. Just because you are smart it doesn’t mean you are going to succeed. Being better prepared by covering all the bases and exam topics will give you an equal shot with the smartest guy in class in getting a passing grade.
The thing to remember after you failed is not to dwell on it. Move on and try again.

In Closing

Passing Board Exams will never really guarantee you success in life as with having a high IQ. But the great thing about having a professional title is that you can wear it as a badge on your sleeve. It’s an acknowledgement by a governing body that you are qualified for your position. So for me, though having a license never guarantees your success, I feel that it does increases one’s chances for success.
Having these titles can open doors of opportunity for you. But its still up to you working hard so that you can stay there once they let you in.

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Formula for Foliar Fertilizer

Foliar Fertilization is a method of distributing targeted quantity of nutrients elements to plants. This is primarily done by mixing the Foliar fertilization mix in water and deploying it to the under portion of the leaves in a fine mist. This could be considered as a surgical approach to plant nutrition.
Plant nutritionists have determined that the major elements needed for ideal plant growth are :
  1. Primary Plant Nutrients - Nitrogen, Phosphorus, Potassium
  2. Secondary Plant Nutrients - Calcium, Silicon, Sulfur, Magnesium
  3. Trace Elements - Boron, Chlorine, Manganese, Iron, Zinc, Copper, Molybdenum

Creating a foliar formula involves leaf tissue analysis to determine the nutrient level of the plant and figuring out what compounds would work best with the other fertilizer compounds. The reason behind this is because some elements will affect the potency of some elements and could even be detrimental to the plant’s health. One must also be knowledgeable with the effects of overdoses and under doses of each nutrient. A major requirement when experimenting with elements is that the final product should be able to mix well in water. And lastly, another thing you have to factor in is the economic side of the mix, meaning that the compounds have to be cost effective.
The formula below is a generalized formula. The ideal way to implement foliar fertilization is to first determine the nutrient levels of the plant then any deficiencies should be supplemented with a specialized mix. Keeping in mind also that some nutrients can affect the other nutrient levels.
Formula for Banana Foliar Fertilizer Mix (100%)
Urea (Nitrogen) 20.73%
Potassium Sulfate (Potassium) 56.54%
Calcium Sulfate (Sulfur) 6.60%
Magnesium Sulfate (Magnesium) 4.71%
Ammonium Phosphate (Phosporous) 5.65%
Calcium hydroxide (Calcium) 5.65%
Zinc Sulfate (Zinc) 0.02%
Ferrous Sulfate (Iron) 0.05%
Inkabor Boron (Boron) 0.05%
Why were these elements used?
Primarily because they dissolve well in water.
How can I measure 0.05%?
The value is very small, so a pinch will probably do.
How much do I need?
Usage depends on the stage of the plant. During fruiting stage you use 0.7kg of the mixture in 16 liters of water, anything other than that, you can just use 0.5 kg. Fruiting stage of a banana tree usually occurs during its 8th month.
How do I use this?
Place the mixture in a backpack sprayer that stores compressed air. Adjust the nozzle so that it ejects a fine mist, otherwise your just wasting the fertilizer. Spray generously on the bottom of the leaves and at the base of the leaves. Spray in the early morning when the sun still isn’t out. Stop to mix the mixture in the backpack sprayer whenever the elements start to solidify on the bottom of the sprayer. Do this on a weekly basis. If your plant show signs of distress or weakening, stop using this mixture.
How effective is this?
This formula was tested for a year on two lakatan (sweet banana) banana plants with one being a control plant. Both plants came from the same stock of tissue culture. Both plants received ground fertilization with the control not receiving any foliar fertilization. It was noted that the plant receiving foliar fertilization grew more rapidly than the control plant and its fruit weighed 2kg more than the control plant.
Use this at your own risk, no guarantees are made for this formula. Not sure also how this will fare in non tropical environments.