Over a hundred vegetable varieties were showcased in the simultaneous Field Days held by East-West Seed on Nov. 22-23, 2018 at the demo fields located at Villar Sipag Farm School in Bacoor, Cavite and at the UP Los Baños in Laguna. The demo fields were organized as part of East-West Seed’s participation in the 25th Asian Seed Congress, the biggest gathering of seed industry players in the world.
“We are giving vegetables the spotlight they deserve. Vegetables represent a real contribution to development – they provide good income opportunity for farmers and traders, and they enhance the health and nutrition of consumers,” said Henk Hermans, the East-West Seed general manager in the Philippines.
The demo fields did not only showcase East-West Seed’s top commercial vegetable varieties. Unique varieties were also showcased, including round eggplant, butternut pumpkin, purple waxy sweet corn, heart-shaped ampalaya and purple yardlong bean.
Hermans cited the following benefits of vegetables.
1.More for Less. Farmers can produce vegetables year-round. They require less water than most field crops and can be harvested within a shorter time.
2.Nutrition Security. Vegetables provide a rich source of micronutrients important to the diet to avoid malnutrition.
3.Income Diversification and Growth. Vegetables are also referred to as “cash crops.” Vegetables grow faster and can be grown througout the year, therefore more crops can be raised in a year, which is crucial for earning a steadier income. The average income per hectare is also significantly higher with vegetables, compared to field crops. Example: 1,000 square meters of land planted to bitter gourd will give a farmer roughly the same income as one hectare planted to rice.
During the East-West Seed Field days, learning sessions on pest and disease management, natural farming, urban gardening, and vegetable cooking were also held for the visitors which included farmers, agri-supply dealers, entrepreneurs, local community leaders, residents, and school children.
Successful farmers and agriculture professionals, aptly called “Farmer Heroes”, also joined the field days to share their experiences and inspiring stories with the visitors.
“With the predicted population growth, by 2050, the world will need an additional 730 million tons of fruits and vegetables. To meet this growing food demand, we need to help ou smallholder farmers and encourage more people, especially the youth, to go into the agriculture sector,” said Hermans.