Batac: Smart crops to raise income of farmers amid El Niño

photo courtesy by Leilanie Adriano

Farmers in Ilocos Norte continue to learn new ways how to increase their income and enhance food security by adopting climate-smart agricultural practices.

To help and inspire fellow farmers, Leovigildo Sacramento of Barangay Sto. Tomas Segundo in this city allowed a portion of his farm to become a field trial site for 26 varieties of watermelon from participating agricultural companies promoting early-maturing and high-yielding smart crop varieties that farmers may consider planting during challenging times.

Backed by the City Government of Laoag, through its City Agriculture Office, the field trial, locally branded as “Watermelon Derby,” yielded positive results on Thursday during the harvest festival, attended by about 200 farmers.

Sacramento said watermelon production could provide additional income for farmers should they consider planting it in time for summer or from December to February when demand is high because of the holiday season and other festivities.

“You can harvest watermelon in two months. So, this can be an alternative crop aside from the major crops that we plant,” he told farmers during the watermelon harvest festival held on his farm.

Sacramento said a farmer could have PHP80,000 in 60 days for planting 2,000 watermelon seeds, which can yield fruits that are at least 4 kg. each and sold at PHP10 per kg.

The current market price of watermelon is PHP30 to PHP35 per kg. for special varieties and PHP20 to PHP25 per kg. for ordinary varieties.

“Watermelon production is a promising enterprise for our farmers because it is an immediate cash crop. So, we have invited our farmers, particularly those who are planting watermelons for them to explore other alternatives and learn from each other,” Laoag City agriculturist Sheila Marie Opelac said in an interview during a field tour at the trial site on Thursday.

Aside from witnessing the harvest festival featuring various techniques to increase crop yield, farmer participants also got the chance to taste the showcased products.

To avoid oversupply in the market, May Damaso Pascua, a representative of the Provincial Agriculturist’s office, underscored the need for farmers to organize as one for them to transact with bigger markets.

He said small farms could start consolidating and taking advantage of new technologies to raise their income and mitigate the impact of climate change. (Leilanie Adriano)

(Source: Philippine News Agency)

Leave a Reply