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Philippines: Small farms, big income

What’s good about the new hybrid varieties of vegetables and other crops is that even smallholder farmers can produce big income from their small farms.

Just like Danilo Catalan of Matanao, Davao del Sur. A 26-year-old agriculture graduate who decided to till their small farm, he is making good income from tomatoes and ampalaya. Last season, he planted the hybrid Diamante tomato on less than 1,000 square meters of land. He and his father Orsisino are so happy, they were able to gross more than P70,000 in three months of culture. And they were able to a buy a brand new motorcycle worth more than P60,000. It’s the talk of the town, and the good thing about it is that other small scale farmers are also getting interested in planting hybrid seeds because even on small farms they can produce a big harvest.

This time,Danilo planted Galaxy ampalaya on the same plot. He is enjoying a good harvest today, picking fruits every four days which sell at P18 to P20 per kilo. Last July 2, he harvested 175 kilos which fetched P20 per kilo. He started harvesting only last June 10 and has already earned more than what he had spent to put up the crop. He expects to harvest much more.

Another small-scale farmer is Wendel Comaingking of Bansalan, Davao del Sur. He, too, loves to plant hybrid vegetables because they yield high and also fetch a good price.

Wendel’s choice is the Big C cucumber, a hybrid from East-West Seed Company. He has his own good reason for choosing cucumber. The cost of production, he says, is not as much as other vegetables. A can of 2,200 seeds costs only R650 and he just plants 870 plants in the plot that he plants at a time. He staggers his planting at different places so he has harvests most times of the year.

Another advantage of cucumber is that it bears fruit starting at 35 days from planting, and harvesting is every other day. Although the price is only P8 per kilo at farmgate, it is still profitable to grow. Other small-scale farmers grow other hybrid seeds. These include Suprema squash, Django finger pepper, Improved Majesty sweet pepper, Bonito and Galaxy ampalaya, Morena and Banate King eggplant, sitao and many others.


Publication date: 7/14/2008


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