CABANATUAN CITY -- Department of Agriculture (DA) Secretary William Dar led the initial harvest of "edamame" or young soy bean on February 25 in Barangay Talipapa, Cabanatuan City.
Dar said edamame, which is resistant to hot weather and can be harvested within 62 days, is a sustainable cash crop for Filipino farmers. Edamame is Japanese for "beans on a branch" and often found in East Asian cuisine sold both in the pod and hulled.
Dar said growing edamame is advisable and necessary in crop rotation.
"During dry season, after the rice crop, farmers should diversify in growing high value crops like edamame. This is sustainable with higher value in terms of income they give to the farmers. And we are in full support to this endeavor because farmers will be given the chance to get rich," he said.
Dar said the DA is thankful to private investors like the Top Shelf Corporation led by Raphael Pelayo, Elaine Timbol and Jeff Fernandez; North Luzon Farmers' Cooperative through the guidance of former Candaba Mayor Jerry Pelayo, a member of DA Technical Advisory Group (TAG); and Golden Beans and Grains Producers Cooperative in coordination with City Mayor Myca Elizabeth R. Vergara in realizing edamame, an agriculture innovation.
"They are considered as innovators in promoting crop diversification using high value crops. The harvested edamame, a high value commercial crop is now being exported to Japan. We are taking the lead and supporting in a big way the crop diversification program," he said.
Dar said with the growing of edamame here, Cabanatuan City will be put in the map of global trading market.
"Edamame has high yield potentials with high income. When exported to Japan, the farmers and their partners will really benefit from it," he said.
Dar also gave a message to Japanese partners that Filipino farmers can grow the kind of food they would like to have from the Philippines.
"We have all the kinds of environment and kinds of soil that we can use to really grow the export items like edamame," he added.
Pelayo said the edamame initiative is in response to Dar's call for land and farm consolidation and prioritizing agriculture as an industry.
Pelayo said the demand for edamame in Japan is so big, hence, they are planning to expand and utilize 500 to 700 hectares of farm lands in Central Luzon to plant and grow edamame.
"This is an alternative high value crop for Filipino farmers. It is adaptable in the soil and climate of our country. We have the purchase order from Japan because our produce here is better than in Taiwan," Pelayo said.
He added that this will be a big help for the Filipino farmers and in the future, they will invite the government of Japan and show them how they plant.
Edamame beans are whole, immature soybeans, sometimes referred to as vegetable-type soybeans. They are green and differ in color from regular soybeans, which are typically light brown, tan or beige. (PR)