The celebration of Davao’s birthday in the first week of March signals for many areas in Mindanao the beginning of the summer fruit season. Many of our famous fruit trees are getting ready for the harvests. Of course certain fruits like pomelos, and bananas are produced year round, while others like mangoes and mangosteens and some durian varieties are seasonal.
Consuming regular amounts of locally grown tropical fruit brings in many phytochemicals and antioxidants that can boost our body’s immunity to prevent infections and boosts the rural economy. Wash them before eating.
Many farmers produce fruits and other crops like vegetables as a way of diversifying their production so that in case of changes in climate or other disruptions like crop specific plant diseases and transport difficulties, the farm continues to produce income.
Likewise becoming popular is cacao and adlai, a highland grain that is a low- glycaemic index carbohyrate that makes an effective rice substitute for our millions of diabetics (more on these in a future column). Buying and consuming more local fruits supports farm crop diversification, strengthens rural incomes and boosts our immunity from infections.
The truth is, and it is my own experience, diversification matters because in my own experience, i cannot rely on one crop alone. With the climate change challenge there will be a need to continuously innovate, to find new crops and production activities, even free range chicken that also supplies dung for organic fertilizer coupled with organic compost to reduce my reliance on purchased fertilizers that i have to transport to the farm at high cost.
Changing climate patterns, in particular too much rain or heat hurt my ability to produce enough and at the right quality. For example a prolonged dry season will affect the ability of trees to produce enough fruits after the drought. Our coconut crop in particular needs to be revived after a drought period since the fruits are not as plentiful as the tree itself recovers from the lack of water during the dry spell.
On the other hand, our coffee crop cannot produce enough cherries when there is too much rain since it inhibits flowering needed to produce fruit. Thus, the need to do the climate smart farming being promoted by government will be essential to help ensure the viability of the farm. Likewise necessary is crop insurance under the PCIC.
To meet the climate challenge, boosting innovation and diversification at the farm level will require new ways of doing things. Financing to buy equipment and inputs. Thankfully, the Department of agriculture has many new programs by way of webinars and videos we can access, and the government’s Agricultural Credit Policy Council in particular has been promoting new financing mechanisms for those wishing to expand and diversify their production. Check them out here: https://www.facebook.com/agricreditpolicycouncil/
The Philippine Chamber of Commerce and Industry is helping promote the various MSME lending programs through government financial institutions and private banks in its social media page here: https://www.facebook.com/pcciofficial
Likewise, transport and logistics innovations such as those pushed by the DOTRs Maritime Industry Authority mandating discounts on vessels for agricultural cargo I wrote about previously, and new means of reaching our to customers through online platforms such as the Davao Box are bringing Davaos fruits, and produce to a new set of markets in Metro Manila. More on this next week.
By the way, Our next batch of pollution Control officers training is March 15. Bookings are through 09985777593 or www.facebook.com/ECITrainingDivision.
Continue to eat healthy and stay safe everyone!