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CLSU 2001-02: Peri-Urban Vegetable Production and its Socio-Economic Impact on Target Groups in Metro Manila

Cultural technologies introduced by AVRDC to improve production of pak-choi proved to be profitable based on experimental and survey data from San Leonardo, Nueva Ecija and CLSU. Cost and return from introduced technologies and partial budgeting showed significant improvement in yield and net income when compared to traditional farmer practice. The yield increase by sowing in rows on raised beds covered with screen tunnels and fertilizing with composted household waste, was 247% over the standard practice of broadcast seeding on flat beds with only inorganic fertilizer. The cost differential between improved and standard practices was 103%. The additional expense with improved practice was from the purchase of screen, and labor costs for bed preparation, seeding in rows, and harvesting/packaging more produce than obtained from standard practices. By growing pak-choi in 18 x 18 m screen houses for 1,000 sq.m. on the CLSU experimental site the incremental net benefit relative to open field over wet and dry seasons was Php2,778 and Php 10,469, respectively. Clearly, screenhouses are a greater benefit during the dry season than during the wet season because insect pests are most prevalent during the season. When grafted tomato was grown under rain shelter (2.5 x 45 m) the incremental benefit relative to open field was Php 21,588 for an area of 1,000 sq.m. These experiences encouraged the project to expand to other provinces in Southern Luzon that supply leafy vegetables to Metro Manila. An orientation-training exercise was conducted at one site in each province (Quezon, Batangas and Laguna). In addition, a Farmer Field School (FFS) was conducted in Laguna after finishing a similar FFS in Mallorca, San Leonardo, Nueva Ecija. Farmers and agriculture technicians rated the training as positive. Linear programming was used to calculate annual profit from different crop combinations within and between seasons by varying capital and variables considered to affect production (i.e., active ingredient of pesticides, levels of nitrogen fertilizer and water supply). With an initial investment of Php20,000, a farmer could generate an income of Php487,000 by planting pak-choi/mustard in the wet season and pak-choi/onion in the dry season. This is superior to the onion/eggplant sequence in San Leonardo that generated income of Php285,000 per hectare. Introduced technologies require more production inputs than are currently used standard production practices. Survey results showed that suppliers of agricultural materials in Gapan, Nueva Ecija could provide the inputs required if additional areas are opened to vegetable production and/or if cultivation is intensified. Market outlets in Manila have the means to increase the tonnage of vegetables received and distributed. Currently, in Divisoria alone ten brokers or “casadores” trade 66 tons daily. Aside from the volume there is a growing demand for quality (less pesticides and less damage) pak-choi and other leafy vegetable in Metro Manila to supply nutritional needs of urban residents. Negative perceptions of introduced technologies by farmers were based on capital needed to buy screens and on labor needed to raise beds, sow seeds in rows, and to erect screen tunnels. Farmers saw that by using the technologies, yield per unit area increased and pesticides cost was reduced, yet they were unwilling to invest the time and money required to use the new practices. Apparently, farmers are most comfortable with old practices, and in addition they lack starting capital.

Central Luzon State University
Authors Keywords
Ali, Mubarik; Antalan, Rodolfo Jr., V.; Gregorio, Lito G.; Marzan, Eduardo G., Jr.; Pineda, Myra P.; Trimor, Belen P.; peri-urban vegetable production; Metro Manila;
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