A LONG-TIME grower of strawberry in Benguet has shifted to growing the true Ashitaba (Angelica keiski) since 2013 for a number of good reasons.
GROWING ON 2,000 SQ.M. – He is Marvin Chagyo, 54, who used to plant strawberry on 7,000 square meters. Now, he is devoting the same area to the production of Ashitaba as a contract grower of Mrs. Adela Ang who has been popularizing the consumption of Ashitaba because of its many health benefits.
ASHITABA EASIER TO GROW – Chagyo said that strawberry is a profitable crop to grow, just as profitable as Ashitaba. However, Ashitaba is easier to cultivate. You plant the Ashitaba seedlings and in less than three months you can start harvesting the leaves, including the stalks. Harvesting can go on throughout the year. The leaves are big so they are heavy. He is paid according to the weight of the harvest.
PESTICIDES IN STRAWBERRY – In the case of strawberry, he has to spray insecticide to protect the strawberry plants and fruits from pests. In the case of Ashitaba, he does not spray any pesticide so he is not exposed to poisonous pesticide. Also, strawberry requires meticulous attention. The old leaves have to be pruned and the plots have to be weeded. During harvest time, a lot of people are needed to pick the fruits fast and delivered as soon as possible to the market because strawberry is very perishable.
STRAWBERRY IS SEASONAL – Also, strawberry is seasonal. Harvesting usually starts in December and will run through June. During the rainy season, strawberry does not give any income.
EXTRA LEAVES TO THE COMMUNITY – In the meantime, as per suggestion of Mrs. Ang, Marvin can give extra leaves and stems to people in the community who have health problems. The leaves and stalks can be boiled and the water is drunk like tea. This has benefited a lot of people in the community.