Much has been said about the benefits of eating vegetables-their antioxidants to stop certain cancers; fiber which makes the digestive system remain healthier and more toned; and the essential amino acids needed in most body processes, and even in the proper functioning of the brain. However, only a few are fortunate to enjoy these natural benefits from eating vegetables due to a number of reasons.
High prices especially during the rainy season, minimal use of hybrid varieties, poor quality of produce, and harsh weather contribute to erratic vegetable supply in urban areas and eventually lead to low vegetable consumption. These inefficiencies affect not only farmers’ income but more so our health.
Responding to this concern, a group of researchers from the Department of Agriculture in Region 2 implemented a project under the “Plant Now Pay Later” scheme.
Under the said scheme, farmers in Nueva Viscaya, Isabela and Cagayan were provided hybrid seeds and organic fertilizer with the hope that it could stabilize vegetable supply in urban areas of Region 2. It also aimed to make vegetables more affordable to consumers and increase awareness of the benefits of vegetable consumption.
Farmer-recipients were trained on good agricultural practices (GAP) and acquainted with the nutritional benefits of eating vegetables.
With the project, areas planted to tomato, squash, ampalaya, eggplant, and carrots increased by 559.90 hectares (ha). This increased the volume of production by 5,550 tons. Consequently, with the use of hybrid seeds and organic fertilizer, net income increased at P82,936/ha from off-season planting of tomato; P82,102/ha from ampalaya; P51,708/ha from eggplant; P22,395/ha from squash, and P11,650/ha from carrot.
The introduction of production programming and the use of hybrid varieties have stabilized the prices of vegetables in Region 2, as they were made available throughout the year. More importantly, it has provided a greater number of people in the area with better access to vegetables.
This and other information on research and development activities pertaining to the agriculture, forestry and natural resources (AFNR) sectors are featured in the 2009 Highlights.
A yearly publication of the Philippine Council for Agriculture, Forestry and Natural Resources Research and Development (PCARRD) Highlights presents research and development accomplishments of government institutions towards bringing better opportunities for our people especially in the countryside. Ricardo R. Argana, S&T Media Service