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Filipino Chemist - Dr. Ramon C. Barba

Born on August 31, 1939, Dr. Ramon C. Barba is one of the recipients of the 1974 TOYM Awardees for Agriculture, and has also received a number of other honors throughout his long and illustrious career. Dr. Barba is most known for his work in the horticulture field, and has applied those scientific studies to chemistry in an effort to improve the local and international knowledge of crops that are native to the Philippines. He received an undergraduate degree in agronomy at the University of the Philippines in 1958, and then followed this up with a Master's of Science in Horticulture at the University of Georgia in 1962, and a PhD in Horticulture from the University of Hawaii.
One of the most successfully breakthroughs that Dr. Ramon C. Barba managed to help pioneer was the discovery of a flower induction process to be used in local mango trees. This was achieved with the use of Potassium Nitrate KNO3, which stimulates flowering in a safe and natural way. This has led to the use of other chemical compounds in agriculture, for more prolific fruiting and flowering in the native trees and other plants. This was a huge stimulus to the native mango industry, which is now one of the most successful industries in the Philippines.
Other studies that Dr. Ramon C. Barba was successful in include taking tissue cultures from other plants such as bananas, cassava, and sugarcane. These were then studied to find the most ideal locations and methods for plant breeding. One way in which he differs from many other modern scientists is that he did not enforce his patents when he received them for his work, so that anyone can freely use the agricultural techniques and technology. That has helped improve the economy in the Philippines, which he has also helped enforce by giving lectures, publishing guides to production, and giving seminars to farmers and students who wish to improve their profits.
In 1970, Dr. Ramon C. Barba led a research group and started up a sugarcane tissue laboratory that dealt with tissue cultures in Hawaii. This was located at the Department of Agronomy, in the College of Agriculture, and funded by the Philippine Sugar Institute. The research that came out of these studies helped later to improve efficiency and reduce disease in the propagation of sugarcane plants, which is a major industry to this day in both Hawaii and the Philippines as a result. For all of these advances in agriculture, Dr. Barba has remained a big name in the agriculture field and will remain so while his practices are followed.
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