Ramon Barba

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Ramon C. Barba
National Scientist Ramon Barba.jpg
Born (1939-08-31) August 31, 1939 (age 79)
Alma materUniversity of the Philippines Los Baños
University of Georgia
University of Hawaii at Manoa
AwardsNational Scientist of the Philippines

Ramon Cabanos Barba (born August 31, 1939, San Nicolas, Ilocos Norte[1]) is a Filipino inventor and horticulturist[2][3] best known for inventing a way to induce more flowers in mango trees using ethrel and potassium nitrate.[4] Barba was proclaimed a National Scientist of the Philippines in June 2014.[5]

Dr. Barba was also recognized as one of the Ten Outstanding Young Men in Agriculture in 1974, and was given the Horticultural Technology Award in June 1999.[3]

Early life and education[edit]

The son of lawyer Juan Madamba Barba and Lourdes Cabanos of Ilocos Norte, Barba was born the youngest of four siblings on August 31, 1939. He finished his elementary schooling at Sta. Rosa Academy in 1951, receiving the third honor among his batchmates. He went to high school at the University of the Philippines, where renowned orchid researcher Dr. Helen Layosa Valmayor became his Biology Laboratory instructor.[2][3]

Barba then took up a Bachelor of Science in Agriculture at the University of the Philippines Los Baños, majoring in Agronomy and Fruit Production, eventually graduating in 1958. Here he was inspired by his grandfather Juan Cabanas, who was then an official of the Bureau of Plants and Industry (BPI), and by his instructor Dr. L.G. Gonzales, considered the "father of Horticulture in the Philippines."[2][3]

Graduate studies[edit]

Barba received a scholarship from the University of Georgia where he began conducting experiments on inducing the flowering of plants using gibberellic acid and potassium nitrate as a fertilizer. He graduated with distinction with a Master of Science in Horticulture from the university in 1962.[2][3]

Barba then took up a PhD in Plant Physiology, specializing in Tropical Fruits and Tissue Culture from the East-West Center of the University of Hawaii at Manoa, graduating in 1967.

Induction of flowering of the mango by chemical spray[edit]

Objections to Barba's proposals for inducing flowering in mango were numerous at first. But with help from his friends Mr. and Mrs. Jose Quimson of Quimara Farms in San Antonio, Barba conducted his experiments. His techniques proved effective, with 400 trees aged 10–12 years old flowering within one week to one month of first being sprayed with potassium nitrate.[2][3] His study, titled Induction of Flowering of the Mango by Chemical Spray was named best paper by the Crop Science Society of the Philippines (CSSP) in 1974. Barba was recognized as one of the Ten Outstanding Young Men in Agriculture that same year. His findings, which enabled farmers to induce flowering in mango trees regardless of season, changed the face of the mango industry in the Philippines.[2][3] "Ramon Barba has advanced the research for many tropical crops including bananas, cassava, sugarcane on plant physiology and plant breeding."[2]

In an interview released by the World Intellectual Property Organization in 2011, Barba recounts that he did not initially file a patent for his method, wanting farmers to be able to use the technique freely. Eventually, though, somebody else tried to patent the process, so Barba preemptively filed a patent application, choosing simply not to charge royalties for the use of his method.[4]

Recently The Philippine Star published "Too much flower inducer spraying bad for mangoes" [6]

Other studies[edit]

Dr. Barba's other research breakthroughs include banana micropropagation and tissue culture of sugarcane and tissue culture of calamansi, all of which have left lasting impacts on the respective agribusiness potentials these commodities.[7]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Technology Generator". Science and Technology Information Institute. Department of Science and Technology. Retrieved 25 August 2014.
  2. ^ a b c d e f g "Ramon Barba - Filipino Scientist". Inventors.about.com. 2014-03-05. Retrieved 2014-06-15.
  3. ^ a b c d e f g Ramon Barba, Researcher Curriculum Vitae, UPD.edu.ph
  4. ^ a b World Intellectual Property Organization. "Dr Ramón Barba, inventor, Philippines." 26 May 2011. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=q7iDCTvR1Hg
  5. ^ Calica, Aurea (1976-12-16). "Palace names 2 National Scientists | Science and Technology, Business Features, The Philippine Star". philstar.com. Retrieved 2014-06-15.
  6. ^ http://www.philstar.com/agriculture/144612/too-much-flower-inducer-spraying-bad-mangoes
  7. ^ Virgilio M Gaje. "[PIA News] NAST academician gets top Southeast Asian scientist award". Archives.pia.gov.ph. Retrieved 2014-06-15.