Plant Upo And Feel Like A Pensionado

Aissa Carlos with fruits of Mayumi, an East-West variety.

If you plant Upo (gourd), you will feel like a pensionado. That’s what Aissa Carlos told us when we visited their farm in Brgy. Arenas in Arayat, Pampanga on Nov. 10, 2017. She and her husband Lorenzo, a former OFW, are growing different vegetables on rented land which give them steady income year-round.

Aissa explains why you’ll feel like a pensionado when you grow Upo. The reason is that it does not cost much to establish a gourd plantation. The seed is cheap and the plants don’t require expensive pesticides and fertilizers. It is only when the plants are young that they are sprayed with pesticide to protect them from feeding insects. Once they start fruiting, there’s no more need for spraying. The first harvest is at 45 days after planting (DAP).

In one recent cropping, the Carlos couple planted Upo on half a hectare. From the first harvest, you will be kept busy harvesting every two days in the next two months, according to Aissa. The first harvest may be less than 100 fruits but the succeeding ones could rapidly increase. At the peak of fruiting, Aissa said, they were harvesting as many as 1,400 fruits in one day. A buyer buys all their harvest at P6 apiece. That means P8,400 for the 1,400 fruits! The price is low compared to the selling price in the market. But that’s okay with the Carlos couple because they don’t have to bother about bringing their harvest to market.

Ric Reyes of East-West Seed and Zac B. Sarian posing with fruiting Mayumi gourd in the Carlos Farm.

From that half hectare, they were able to gross P155,000. And the cost of production was not even P50,000. Of course, the pension from Upo is not like the SSS pension which is monthly. In the case of Upo, the pension is every two days!

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Newly planted half hectare to Upo. In photo are Ric Reyes, Aissa Carlos and Christian Renz Carlos, the 16-year-old son of the Carlos couple who helps in the farm if he is not in school.

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Christian Renz Carlos and Ric Reyes with a tray of Upo seedlings ready for field planting. Renz, who is in high school, helps in the farm when not attending class.

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