Red Hot Is A Money Maker

Party List Congressman Agapito Guanlao (left) inspects ripe
Red Hot fruits with Fernando Lorenzo, Jenny Remoquillo
and Fidel David, manager of the demo farm.
Juliet Capili of the Dept. of Agriculture and a boy
who helps in harvesting ripe Red Hot fruits.
The Red Hot variety of hot pepper is proving to be a money maker for many farmers in the Philippines.
One place where the variety is proving to be highly profitable at this time is the demo farm put up by Butil Farm Party List Cong. Agapito Guanlao in Brgy. Calulut, San Fernando City in Pampanga.

A half hectare portion of the 4.5-hectare demo farm was planted to Red Hot last June 15, according to Fidel David who is managing the demo farm. By the third week of August, the first harvest was made and since then harvesting has been going on every other day.

At first, harvest was just small and the price then was only P25 per kilo. It did not take long for the harvest to increase and so did the price. The price continually increased to P50, P100 and then to P170 per kilo during our visit last November 9.

For a number of days, the price has been P170 per kilo and the volume of harvest has been steady at 220 kilos every other day, according to David. That means about P37,000 gross sales every other day.

What’s good about the hot pepper is that it has a long productive life. According to David, if they continue to take care of the plants, fertilizing them and irrigating them as needed, they could remain productive for the next two years.

Marketing the harvest is not a big problem, according to David. There are regular traders who buy their harvest. The project is also proving to be creating employment to people from the community. Ten pickers are employed every other day, working for five hours and getting paid P250 for their labor.

Cong. Guanlao thought of putting up the demo farm so that farmers in the community, if not the whole province and beyond, could pick up ideas that they could adopt in their own farms. To manage the farm, Fidel David of the Bangon San Matias Multipurpose Cooperative of Sta. Rita town was hired for the job.

David is an engineer who used to work in the Middle East but who gave up his overseas job to go into farming. He has become a successful farmer, earning probably more from farming than from his job in Saudi Arabia. He has accepted the job because he wanted to help other farmers realize that there is money in farming if they adopt the improved practices.

Actually, the 4.5 hectares that they rented for P25,000 a year was idle and unproductive for many years. It was filled with tall growth of talahib which they had to bulldoze to clear the place. They also had to apply a lot of manure to improve the fertility of the soil.

Aside from Red Hot, they also planted 5,000 square meters to Django, a “pangsigang” variety. The plants were also productive but the highest price they got has been P60 per kilo. And then the price went down to as low as P10 per kilo. Fidel plans to phase out the Django and plant other high-value crops like watermelon and honeydew melon.

There are lesser plantings of papaya, patola, squash and others. The demo farm wants to showcase various crops that the local farmers could grow in their own farms.

Actually, the demo farm has now become a training center. During our visit, a group of farmers from Sta. Ana, Pampanga, were visiting to observe the improved practices. What the demo farm is also showing is the proper way of producing seedlings. This is important so that farmers can produce their own seedlings of improved varieties.

As its contribution to the project, the Department of Agriculture provided a greenhouse where they germinate vegetable seedlings. This is where the trainees learn to grow their own seedlings.

Earlier, David said they had a trial planting of Formosa and Ilocos Gold watermelon on 3,000 square meters. From that space, they were able to harvest seven tons.

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