Farmers trained on crop diversification-A A +A
Sunday, October 20, 2013
THE plant species and its physical and economic aspects are factors that farmers have to consider if they are to venture into crop diversification, an official said.
Speaking during the Davao Agricultural Trade Expo 2013 (Date) at the SMX Convention Center on Thursday, University of the Philippines-Los Baños College of Agriculture professor Dr. Rene Rafael C. Espino said it is important that farmers know the plant's rooting characteristics and canopy height.
He said this will enable the farmer to know where to plant the crop to avoid the suffocation of the plants growing together, and will allow even distribution of water and nutrients.
Espino said that being aware of the plant's canopy height, will not only let the farmer know where to plant the crop but also what crop to plant.
For instance, he said, that banana, mango, and coconut tend to shade an area, reducing the productivity of the crops planted near these trees. He said that black pepper which has a shade tolerant of 60 percent will be a good crop to intercrop with these plants.
As for the physical aspect, Espino said that farmers should look into the fertility of the soil as more crops mean more nutrients needed and water availability or rainfall pattern to support the plant. He also said that farmers need proper production technology and management practices for the crops.
Espino cited that the availability of the market is the most important thing to consider in the economic factor aside from the need of more capital.
"Once you are going to plant a certain crop you should know the volume demanded, quality that will be accepted, and the time as to when it be rolled out to the market. Also part of this is the price you will set for the product," he said.
Espino added that through crop diversification system, farmers usually gain their income from the other crops that were planted with the main crops.
Espino said that crop diversification has proven to be successful to many farmers throughout the country.
"In interviews we did throughout the country, usually the added crop can have the biggest income to the farmer. In some areas, farmers that we interviewed said the main crop is mainly for function while the other crop is used to generate money and to support the needs of the family and the main crops," he said.
Published in the Sun.Star Davao newspaper on October 21, 2013.