Big Money in Hybrid Veggies
Even ordinary farmers, like land reform beneficiaries, can earn big money if they plant the right varieties and they also learn how to grow their plants the right way.
Just like Nelly Macolor of Brgy. Sto. Nino in Capoocan, Leyte. She used to plant corn and camote in her 500-square meter farm and got only an income of P440 per cropping.
After attending a six-month intensive training course on growing high-value vegetables, she was able to make a net profit of P30,000 from the same area when she planted ampalaya, cucumber and sweet pepper.
Macolor attended the training offered under the auspices of the Department of Agrarian Reform which engaged the expertise of the technicians of East-West Seed Company to train the farmers in the production of high-value crops on a year-round basis. The training is under DAR’s Agrarian Reform Communities Development Project (ARCDP).
A total of 21 farmers (men and women) from five barangays in the Capoocan agrarian reform community, 14 of them agrarian reform beneficiaries, shared inspiring stories shortly after graduation from the field school.
Nelly Macolor, 57, an agrarian reform beneficiary, reported that she planted ampalaya, cucumber and sweet pepper in her 500-square meter demo farm and got a net income of P30,000 from the same area that previously produced an income of only P440 from corn and camote.
In the initial harvest alone, she harvested 194 kilos of ampalaya, 98 kilos of cucumber and 16 kilos of sweet pepper for a total sale of P10,850.
Aside from learning the necessary techniques of growing high-value crops, the trainees were also extended credit by the local government and East-West Seed as start-up capital.
DAR Regional Director Ellasem Castillo said that the good gesture of East-West Seed enabled the government unit to save funds for skills training and development of farmer-beneficiaries. The DAR tied up with the seed company through the Public-Private Partnership (PPP) scheme in establishing the farmers’ field school.
Aside from teaching the farmers how to grow their crops, the farmers’ field school also trains the farmers in developing, producing and marketing their produce.
Earlier, the high-value vegetable production project was pilot-tested in Calbiga ARC in Samar; Balangiga ARC in Eastern Samar, San Isidro and Capoocan ARCs in Leyte.
Marilyn Dacara, technology specialist of East-West, said that the farmers were also taught seed and seedling management, insect and disease identification and management, postharvest handling techniques, and basic record keeping.
The technicians also taught the farmers which crop is appropriate for a particular area as well as market preferences to make sure that all products will be sold, according to Dacara.
Many interested in Malunggay – The 3rd National Moringa Congress held last November 9 at the Land Bank Plaza in Manila, was attended by some 500 delegates from all over the country. Which only shows that there is a lot of interest in this long-taken-for-granted tree vegetable.
But to make the Malunggay Industry really become truly a potent industry, a lot of research and development work have to be undertaken. It is of course heartening to know that the Central Philippine University in Iloilo is undertaking research and development. For a start, they have been observing the performance of a number of accessions from Africa, Thailand, Taiwan, India and elsewhere.
A speaker from Israel also showed a video of high-density malunggay planting that included harvesting by machine.
Many of the attendees are eager to learn the proper way of propagating and planting this tree vegetable, based on the questions aired on the floor. There are a number of ways mentioned that included propagation by seed, by cuttings, by marcotting and others. Tissue-culture of malunggay has not been perfected yet.
Some concerns were raised. Because a lot of people are interested in planting malunggay, the concern is that when there will be a lot of production by small scale farmers, will they be able to sell all their harvest? Hence, investors in processing plants should be encouraged at the same time. Perhaps, the government can provide the policies that will encourage more people to go into processing of malunggay into various products.
The small processors will certainly need the support of the government, particularly the Department of Science and Technology in ensuring the high quality of the processed products. Only with high-quality malunggay products can the Philip-pines develop an industry that will be patronized by the whole world.
Malunggay for milk goats – Incidentally, Alaminos Goat Farm and the Bureau of Agricultural Research are collaborating in a research that will find out if a ration fortified with malunggay will result in higher production of milk in dairy goats. It is research studies like this that will validate claims such as the one that malunggay promotes higher milk production in humans. Now, they want to find out if that will also work in dairy goats.