By Zac B. Sarian
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Farm tips are among the favorites of our readers in the print media as well as in our blog. So here are practical tips that could help you in your farming.
NO COLLATERAL LOAN – A lot of our readers have been telling us that they cannot avail themselves of loans because they don’t have the collateral. Now, the Department of Agricultural is providing low-interest (6%) loans without any collateral, ranging from P5,000 to P50,000, payable in two to ten years, depending on the project. The loan is under the DA’s scheme called PLEA or Production Loan Easy Access. Farmers and fisherfolk are eligible.
The production loan can be used to buy seeds, fertilizers, livestock and other farming inputs. Among the recent beneficiaries of the program are five cooperatives in Aklan which serve as the lending conduits. Total loans passed through cooperatives amounted to P39 million.
GOAT MANURE TEA – If you have a guava plantation and you also raise goats, you might as well adopt the technique that Romulo Cruz of Compostela, Cebu developed for watering and fertilizing his trees. He did this in his farm planted to 3,000 guapple trees. His trees, circa 1990s, were very fruitful and were productive for more than seven years.
Romy constructed four concrete reservoirs where he stored water for the daily watering of his trees. Each reservoir measured 4 meters long, 3 meters wide and 1 meter tall. He filled each tank with water and then submerged four sacks of newly collected goat manure. The goat manure was ideal because it comes in pellet-like form and without bad smell.
The manure transformed the water into a dark tea that is rich in nutrients. This was what he used to water the trees every day. It made them robust, hardy against diseases, very fruitful, and the fruits were sweet, crisp and with shiny skin. And that was the reason why he was able t sell his guavas at P22 per kilo right inCebu. That was virtually double the P10-P12 per kilo that other growers got for their guavas.
QUANTITY CONTROL –If there is what they call quality control, there is also what is called quantity control. This is limiting your production to what your market can absorb. For instance, when you produce more sweet corn than what your market can absorb, this could mean loss or less income for you.
Just like what Mark Mercado of Iba, Zambales experienced the first time he planted Sweet Fortune on one hectare in 2017. He produced a very good crop of sweet corn all right, but he was not able to sell a lot of them in Iba and nearby towns. He learned his lesson, however. He had planned to plant sweet corn on just 1,000 square meters at a time but doing it every two weeks or so.
So whatever you plant, sweet corn or somehing else, try to figure out what your target market can aqbsorb and limit your production based on your educated estimate.
FOR URBAN GARDENERS – Here’s a very doable idea for growing vegetables in urban areas. Take four old truck tires, place them in a vacant area reached by the sun. Fill up the hollow portion of the tires with rich mixture of organic fertilizers like Durabloom or vermicast, carbonized rice hul and 30 percent garden soil. Mix the ingredients thoroughly.
Then you can plant your favorite vegetables. That’s exactly what the SM Foundation’s KSK Farmers’ Training Program showcased in Baguio sometime back. They planted flowering plants in the middle and surrounding them with lettuce. Of course, other vegetables can also be grown like shallot, pakchoi, mustard, Chaisim, upland kangkong and the like. Ampalaya, sitao and cucumber may also be grown by providing them with stakes or trellis to cling on.
Make sure that the plants are regularly watered. For fast growth, spray the plants with organic foliar fertilizer such as Supravim, Durabloom liquid, Amino Plus and the like.
AVOID DURIAN FRUIT DROP – One of the usual problems in durian in Luzon is that many small fruits drop. How do you avoid the problem? One effective technique is to always provide adequate moisture in the soil. When durian trees that are in bloom or having young fruits suffer from drought, many of the young fruits will fall. That’s because the roots cannot take up nutrients from the soil to nourish the fruits when there is water stress. At the same time, make sure that there is enough fertilizer in the soil.