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mikey

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Vegetable Production
« on: September 28, 2008, 03:46:39 AM »
The Bohol Example in Vegetable Production
Bohol used to be a big importer of a lot of vegetables such as tomatoes, cabbage, eggplant, squash and others mostly from Northern Mindanao. These days, some are still sourced from outside the province but that may not continue sooner than most people think. It won’t be surprising if the island province will soon become an exporter of its own high-quality vegetables, especially to the big market in Cebu.

The reason is that growing high-yielding hybrid vegetables is becoming increasingly popular in the province as more and more farmers are discovering that there is big money in growing such varieties.

The increasing popularity of high-yielding vegetables can be gauged by the volume of sales of planting materials in the last few years. One seed firm, East-West Seed Company, for instance, has tremendously increased its sales in the last three years. For example, the company sold only R400,000 worth of seeds in 2006. In 2007, the value topped R1.2 million while this year the company is well on its way to sell at least R2 million worth of seeds. Of course, East-West Seed is just one of the suppliers of vegetable seeds in the province. At least three other seed companies are also selling their own varieties there.

The increased popularity of vegetable growing in Bohol can be attributed to a large extent to a program called “Year-round Vegetable Production Project,” a collaborative program of the Department of Agrarian Reform, local government units, and East-West Seed Company. The project is currently implemented in the six towns of Balilihan, Catigbian, Trinidad, Ubay, San Isidro and Antiquera.

One important aspect of the program is the free training of farmers on the improved techniques of vegetable production. Such techniques include the use of high-quality varieties, proper land preparation, use of seedling tray in producing seedlings, use of plastic mulch (to suppress weeds, conserve moisture and prevent waterlogging during rainy months), integrated pest and disease management, right fertilization, and marketing. The farmers are also taught how to make their own organic fertilizer.

How is the program implemented? Under the scheme, the DAR is underwriting the expenses of the technology transfer specialists from East-West Seed who are conducting the free training of farmers. The trainers are lady agriculturists Daisy Monreal and Cathy Cotillas.

In each town, a cluster of 25 trainees is trained through lectures as well as hands-on practice on the different aspects of vegetable production. The training consists of 14 weekly sessions. After the training, the farmers undertake their vegetable production projects in their own farm or on rented land.

Most of the trainees usually don’t have enough money to pursue their own vegetable projects. To solve this constraint, the farmers are given loans not in the form of cash but in the form of inputs such as seeds, plastic seedling tray, plastic mulch, fertilizer and other inputs which they will pay upon selling their harvests. To make sure that the farmers succeed in their projects, the technicians of East-West Seed continuously provide technical assistance in taking care of their vegetables.

Once the farmers have put up their own projects and are already fruiting, the different town officials conduct what they call “Agri-Lakad” where other farmers in the municipality (as well as from other towns) visit the successful vegetable projects. The growers themselves do the explaining to the visiting farmers how they grew their high-yielding vegetables. The Agri-Lakad has encouraged many other farmers to undertake their own plantings who are also continuously guided by the technicians and by the trained farmers themselves.

The farmers have proven that even very small plantings are highly profitable. One outstanding example is Roberto “Boy” Cuyacot, a former barangay captain of Brgy. Benliw, Ubay town. Earlier this year, he got a loan-in-kind worth R7,000 in the form of seeds and other inputs for growing sweet pepper and ampalaya.

Last March 20, he planted 300 seedlings of Majesty, a high-yielding sweet pepper, on 125 square meters in his backyard. He got his first harvest of a few kilos last May 4 which he sold at R30 per kilo. His harvest significantly increased as the plants grew older and the price also got higher. Two times a week, he picked the ripe fruits which fetched up to R60 per kilo. Thus by the time he was interviewed last August 10, he had already sold R40,000 worth of fruits. On that day he harvested 100 kilos which fetched R80 per kilo. He is expecting to harvest much more in the succeeding weeks.

A neighbor of Cuyacot, Diomedes Boyles, made money from eggplant and tomatoes. His first planting of 900 Casino eggplants earlier this year has provided him enough profit to pay off all his previous indebtedness and more for sending his children to school. His eggplants are still productive up to this time. He also made money from planting an all-season hybrid tomato.

The keen interest of municipal officials is also contributing to the surge in interest in vegetable production. Just like Mayor Victoria Chatto of Balilihan who aims to make her town the vegetable basket of Bohol. The farmers have formed the Balilihan Vegetable Growers Association and they have been marketing their harvests as a group. Mayor Chatto has given them free space in a building near the public market where they bring their produce for sale to distributors as well as to retailers in the public market.

As a group, the members could be linked to big buyers from Cebu City and other urban centers. As a group, they could produce enough volume to meet the requirements of supermarkets and institutional buyers, for instance. There are many other possibilities when growers cooperate with each other and act as a group.

Yes, Bohol’s example is something other provinces can emulate, not only in producing vegetables but many other farm products.




mikey

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Re: Vegetable Production
« Reply #1 on: September 28, 2008, 03:48:42 AM »
Large Squash in Cabanglasan
On our way to users of Durabloom bio-organic fertilizer in Cabanglasan, Bukidnon, we passed by several farmers loading large squash fruits in a cargo truck bound for Cagayan de Oro City.

The size of the fruits attracted us to take some photos and interview the farmers who said the variety they used could yield 13 to 30 tons a hectare. That’s great! Given the current farm gate price of P3.50 a kilo, the farmers get a gross income of P45,500 to P105,500 per hectare.

To the farmers, the income they derive from the squash is already good. What they don’t know is that middlemen are raking in more money than them. The price of squash in the market at that time was P15 a kilo and the price difference was three times higher than the farm gate price. Even if we assume that the transport cost is P3.50 per kilo, which is ridiculously exorbitant, middlemen would still get a net gain of P8 per kilo.

Poor farmers, they make traders rich without knowing it. If ever they know, they simply have no other option.



mikey

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Re: Vegetable Production
« Reply #2 on: September 29, 2008, 10:28:10 AM »
Plant Cabbage with Tomato or Garlic to Reduce Insect Pest Damage
Cabbage Farmers may as well plant either tomato or garlic around their cabbage crop to reduce damages caused by diamondback moth (DBM), Hellula, cutworms, and other harmful insect pests. This practice is called companion planting.

Lucrecia Cocson and Lagrimas Flojo, researchers of the Mariano Marcos State University [MMSU] in Batac City, Ilocos Norte, found in a three year study that companion planting with tomato or garlic results in higher marketable yields and, hence, higher net income from cabbage.

Conducted in the cool months of October to February from 2004 to 2007, the study found that companion planting with tomato and garlic minimized insect damage as well as produced higher cabbage yield, resulting in higher net income.

According to the researchers, companion planting is a technique of combining two or more crops with _ the main crop so that some cultural benefits, usually pest control and higher yields, could be derived. In their study, they observed tomato as the best companion crop of cabbage followed by garlic.

In effect, it is an alternative non-chemical pest control technique. Thus, it is environment friendly, spares farmers from the hazards of frequent pesticide exposure, and assures consumers of insecticide-free vegetables. Moreover, there is an added income from the companion plants. Unfortunately, many cabbage farmers still use chemical pesticides for insect control.

Cocson and Flojo said that companion planting is one approach in integrated pest management that manipulates the environment to take advantage of the insects’ dispersed activities and on their preference for one host over another. “This strategy attempts to divert the insects from the main crop by presenting to them a more favorable substitute or a crop that would be deterrent to them,” Cocson and Lagrimas added.

In addition to the reduction of pest problems, companion planting is a very effective way of increasing environmental health and productivity.

Results of the study showed that cabbage + tomato combination significantly reduced the damages caused by Hellula and DBM. On the other hand, the cabbage + garlic combination reduced cutworm damages.

Hellula is an insect that feeds on the growing point of cabbage shoots at the early vegetative or pre-heading stage of the plants. Its damages come in two ways: one, the crop does not produce any head at all; two, the plants may produce multiple small heads that are not marketable.

On the other hand, the DBM larvae are voracious feeders on cabbage heads. This insect may cause farmers to lose 80 to 100 percent of their expected yield if left uncontrolled.

In their study, Cocson and Flojo harvested a total cabbage head yield of 14.86 tons per hectare in the cabbage + garlic combination, and 13.86 tons per hectare in the cabbage + tomato combination. In contrast, cabbage applied with insecticide, which had no companion crop, yielded only 11.32 tons per hectare.

The cabbage + tomato combination had the highest percentage of marketable yield: 97.7 percent or 13.54 tons per hectare. In contrast, the cabbage + garlic combination had only about 85 percent marketable yield (12.58 tons per hectare), resulting in a difference of almost 1 ton per hectare. On the other hand, the cabbage monocrop had only 77 percent marketable yield (8.55 tons per hectare).

Translated into net income, the cabbage + tomato combination gave P284,560 per hectare, while the cabbage + garlic combination had only P251,190 per hectare. The net income from the cabbage monocrop (P113,570 per hectare) was not even half that from the cabbage + garlic combination.

What is it in tomato and garlic that makes them effective companion crops?

Cocson and Flojo said tomatoes contain a toxin known as tomatin, which makes the plant unpalatable. Tomatin repels the DBM larvae or caterpillars from chewing the cabbage leaves.

On the other hand, garlic contains an active ingredient known as allicin, a sulfur compound produced when the garlic clove and leaves are broken. This deters insects, birds, and worms from feeding on cabbage plants.

Although the two ladies also tested marigold and onion as companion crops, they observed that only tomato and garlic minimized the damage caused by insects. In tomato, marigold repels white flies and soil nematodes; in carrots, carrot fly; and in brassicas, deters spider mites and a range of beetles.

Cocson and Flojo said that although the use of companion crops does not totally control or eradicate insect pests, these provide a barrier through their aromatic leaves that deters or repels insects from attacking cabbage.

To enjoy the benefits from companion planting, farmers may as well select companion crops of cabbage with the following traits:

1. It should have repelling properties like strong aroma and unfavorable taste;
2. Its common pests must not be similar with those of cabbage;
3. It must not compete with the main crop for soil nutrients and space, and the two must benefit each other;
4. It must be early maturing.

At the same time, practice timely planting, weeding and timely harvesting.

The researchers recommend that a companion crop should be planted at least three weeks before transplanting cabbage. By then the companion crop has already produced enough leaves and could readily deter insects away from the newly transplanted cabbage.

Plant the companion crop around the cabbage crop, about 0.8 meters along the perimeter and 1 meter away from the main crop to avoid competition for soil nutrients and prevent shading.

Cabbage, on the other hand, must be transplanted in sunken beds (at the bottom of the furrows) at a distance of 40 cm x 40 cm. The furrows must be moist to facilitate transplanting. Water the newly transplanted seedlings along the furrows to establish good root contact with the soil.


 

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