Agriculture - - Con­tents -

Vic­tor Arvisu of Liliw, La­guna prefers to plant crops other than to­mato since los­ing on his to­mato crop for two con­sec­u­tive years. He is now fo­cus­ing on crops that can be har­vested within a short time and are less ex­pen­sive to grow; more­over, they have less volatile prices such as radish, which is his fa­vorite crop.

AF­TER LOS­ING on his to­mato crops for two con­sec­u­tive years, Vic­tor Arvisu, 45, of Liliw, La­guna de­cided not to plant toma­toes again. In­stead, he is now fo­cus­ing on crops that can be har­vested within a short time and are less ex­pen­sive to grow. More­over, they have less volatile prices.

The trou­ble with toma­toes, he said, is that while the price could be sky-high dur­ing off-sea­son, the price could tum­ble to un­prof­itable lev­els when the sup­ply is plen­ti­ful. Like last April-May, 2018 when the price of to­mato ex-farm in Liliw was as low as R4 per kilo for the small and R6 to R8 per kilo for the 50 gram­mers. With the high cost of pro­duc­tion, the farm­ers were los­ing money. Iron­i­cally, the price in Manila at the time was still high at R80 per kilo. In a su­per­mar­ket that we checked, 5 pieces in a small plas­tic bag had a tag of R8.

RADISH - One of Vic­tor’s fa­vorite crops is radish like the va­ri­eties Mt. Data and Valiant distributed by Ramgo. He has good rea­sons for lik­ing radish. It is very cheap to pro­duce, ac­cord­ing to him. The seeds are only R170 per can and this can al­ready pro­duce 400 ki­los of mar­ketable roots in a grow­ing pe­riod of 40 days. Un­like toma­toes and vine crops, there’s no need for trel­lis.

The ex­penses for grow­ing one can of radish seeds is just around R500, ac­cord­ing to Vic­tor. This is for the seeds, plow­ing, weed­ing and chicken ma­nure. From one can of seeds, he usu­ally makes a net of R4,300. Last March, he planted 20 cans so he could have made a profit of R86,000 in one crop­ping cy­cle. Vic­tor usu­ally plants radish three times a year.

CAB­BAGE - Last Fe­bru­ary, he planted 16,000 cab­bage on a 1.5-hectare land that he rented for R16,000. By April, he har­vested 16,000 cab­bage heads that he sold at R25 apiece. Like radish, cab­bage is not ex­pen­sive to pro­duce. It does not

re­quire any trel­lis and the price is good enough. Mario Cortez, an­other cab­bage grower from Ilayang Sungi, said that he sells his cab­bage at R40 per kilo.

CU­CUM­BER – Vic­tor also loves to plant cu­cum­ber, par­tic­u­larly the Jen Jen va­ri­ety which pro­duces dark green fruits. Al­though this crop re­quires trel­lis, it is prof­itable to grow. The crop has a short ges­ta­tion pe­riod of 45 days and its fruits sell for R30 per kilo ex-farm. Jen Jen is a high-yield­ing va­ri­ety. AM­PALAYA – In Novem­ber 2017, Vic­tor planted am­palaya on one hectare that he rented for R5,000 in a place with lower el­e­va­tion than where he planted his radish and cab­bage. From that crop, he was able to har­vest a to­tal of 8,000 ki­los. He sold some at R55 per kilo (the high­est) whereas the low­est he got was R25 per kilo.

Let’s say he got an av­er­age price of R35 a kilo, that would be a gross of R280,000. The to­tal cost of pro­duc­tion, in­clud­ing seeds, rent, land prepa­ra­tion, trel­lises, fer­til­iz­ers, pes­ti­cides and la­bor was R140,000. So he got a good profit from a crop he grew for less than four months.

Vic­tor Arvisu is a high school grad­u­ate. He started farm­ing on his own when he was 25 years old. Be­fore that, he earned money as a farm worker for other farm­ers. That’s where he got the ex­pe­ri­ence in grow­ing veg­eta­bles. He does not have land of his own but he rents farms in six places for his fa­vorite crops.— ZAC B. SAR­IAN

Radish does not re­quire big cap­i­tal. The seeds are cheap and the crop can be har­vested in 40 days.

Cab­bage is also less ex­pen­sive to grow than most other veg­eta­bles. It does not re­quire any trel­lis.

Vic­tor Arvisu in his farm in Liliw, La­guna.

Am­palaya is a money-maker for Arvisu.

Jen Jen is a cu­cum­ber va­ri­ety grown by Arvisu.

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