HE PREFERS CROPS OTHER THAN TOMATO
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.