CROP COMBINATION: What’s Right For Your Farm?

Red Hot pepper yields high and the price is also high.

The combination of crops you grow in your farm can either determine profits or losses. What is the right combination? It is not really easy to tell because there are so many things to consider. That include one’s financial resources, business sense, management skills, target market and the fickle weather.

Anyway, we were talking to Dennis Miguel of Simon’s Farm the other day and he was telling us what he and his partner are planting on two hectares they are currently cultivating in Santiago City, Isabela. Maybe, one can gain some insight from what they are planting. The same could be applicable to your situation.

Papaya intercropped with tomato to maximize productivity.
Dennis Miguel and his SRI rice.

Dennis, by the way, is the fellow who adopted the SRI or System of Rice Intensification who was able to produce 200 cavans of palay per hectare in a rainfed field in Santiago City which used to produce only 50 cavans per hectare.

Dennis will resume planting rice the SRI way in January next year, but in the meantime he and Eric Pungan are growing several crops on two hectares of rainfed fields. Their major choice is hot chilli. They have planted 15,000 hills of Red Hot and Pinatubo varieties.

Why hot chilli? Well, they were inspired by the story they read about Jess Domingo who said he considers chilli as his most profitable crop for very good reasons. For one, the price is usually much higher than pinakbet type vegetables. If the supply is short, hot chilli can fetch more than a thousand pesos per kilo. And if the price in the market drops, Jess said he processes the harvest into chilli flakes. One kilo of fresh fruits that may be selling at only P45 to P50 can be worth at least P400 when turned into flakes. And he has a ready market for that.

Dhilli flakes by Jess Domingo.

Dennis and his partner have their own plans on their chilli harvests. They will sell to the companies that have their own requirements. But they will start coming up with their vinegar-chilli in bottles. Dennis said that his partner, Eric Pungan, has the experience in catering to outlets that include sari-sari stores, groceries and institutional buyers.

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PAPAYA INTERCROP – To maximize income from the land, they will soon intercrop hybrid papayas that are dwarf and high-yielding. The papayas may be planted at appropriate distances so as not to shade the sun-loving chillis.
Among the current varieties in the market are Red Royale, Cariñosa, Red Lady and some others. Papaya can be for the production of both green and ripe fruits.

SWEET PEPPER FOR ALL SEASONS – Dennis is also excited about Clarabel, a variety of sweet pepper that is distributed by Allied Botanical. The variety is very prolific and it can be grown in both wet and dry seasons. And it can also be planted in the lowland as well as in higher elevations. It is also resistant to stresses like dry spells, pests and diseases.

But of course, as per the advice of Herlo Atole of Allied, the plants should be properly cared for. First, good quality seedlings should be used. And the soil for planting should be well drained and with good tilth. Clarabel should be adequately fertilized not only with the traditional NPK but also with calcium nitrate to make the plants more sturdy and the fruits less prone to rot.

When the plants are still young, they should be drenched with calcium nitrate. Ten grams of the chemical may be dissolved per liter of water and drenched on each plant.

Purple Corn sells for P130 a kilo in Santiago City, Isabela.

PURPLE CORN – In one portion of the property, Dennis and his partner will plant Purple Corn on a staggered basis. He is so excited to grow the new variety because in Santiago City he has observed that Purple Corn is selling at P130 per kilo.
Aside from purple corn, there are other varieties for boiling. These include the white Klasica, the bicolor Violeta and of course the different varieties of sweet corn.

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