“Ako po’y talagang nagpapasalamat sa CPAR dahil marami kaming natutunan. Kung wala ito, mahihirapan kami sa production ng jackfruit [I am really thankful to CPAR because we have learned a lot. If not for CPAR, we will be having difficulty in jackfruit production],” said Job D. Abuyabor, Sr., one of the farmer-cooperators of a Community-based Participatory Action Research (CPAR) project on jackfruit in Mahaplag, Leyte.
Job is a member of the Mahaplag Jackfruit Growers Association, one of the recipients of the Department of Agriculture’s (DA) Plant Now Pay Later distribution scheme of grafted jackfruit in Region 8. “Jackfruit is considered by the DA as one of the high-value crops and is one of the priority commodities of Eastern Visayas to be commercialized. And for that to happen, we should increase its production and improve its productivity. This is when we implemented the CPAR,” said Alicia Bulawan, CPAR co-project leader.
Upon the conduct of a Participatory Rural Appraisal among the farmers of the association, the lack of technical knowledge on proper cultural management and processing, and occurrence of pests and diseases have been identified as major problems in jackfruit production. Hence, the DA-Regional Field Office 8 through the Eastern Visayas Integrated Agricultural Research Center, in collaboration with the Visayas State University, developed technologies on jackfruit. These were taught to the farmers through the conduct of trainings and workshops. “We provided them with appropriate technologies on integrated nutrient management, pest management, and pruning strategies,” Bulawan said.
Learnings from the farmers themselves
According to Job, fruit borer and fruit fly incidence cost them almost 40-50 percent decrease in their income due to damages. “Because of the CPAR trainings, we were equipped with knowledge on how to control fruit borer through the use of Metarrhizium. We really saw its effectiveness, fruit borer occurrence were almost completely eradicated and damages were minimized,” Job recounted.
Applying what he learned on integrated nutrient management, he was able to produce good fruit quality and was able to ship some of them in Metro Manila. “May customer ako na concessionaire ng Robinsons sa Manila, dito siya kumukuha ng fruits sa akin. Malaki ang demand pero hindi ko naman ma-meet ang supply kasi maliit pa lang ang farm ko. Makikita natin na good quality talaga ang jackfruit namin, [I have a customer, a concessionaire in Robinsons Manila who gets fruits from me. There is a big demand, but I cannot meet the supply yet because my farm is still smallscale. But we can see that our jackfruits really are of good quality” he added.
Another farmer who was helped by CPAR was Mr. Harvey Abenujao. Harvey narrated on how CPAR imparted to them the importance of wrapping and bagging the fruits in controlling fruitfly incidence and in determining proper harvesting time. “Noon, ‘pag umamoy na ang prutas, may mga kumukuha na mula sa puno namin. Hindi kasi namin alam kung kailan ito dapat pitasin. Minsan, nahuhulog na lang at nabubulok sa lupa. Pero ngayon, alam na namin kung kailan ito dapat pitasin. Salamat sa CPAR, ito ang nagturo sa amin ng maganda at tamang pamamaraan sa pagtatanim ng jackfruit para lalong umasenso ang buhay naming mga farmers, [Back then, when the fruits start to smell, people are already getting them from our trees. We do not know when to harvest them. Sometimes, they just fall off and get rotten. But now, we already know when to harvest them. Thanks to CPAR, it taught us good and appropriate methods on planting jackfruit so as to uplift more the lives of farmers like us” Harvey shared.
Aside from production management, the CPAR project also provided trainings for home-based processing of jackfruit products. “We have also introduced processing jackfruit into pastillas, tart, jam, and jelly to women from the same association. Most of them are the farmers’ wives,” Bulawan said.
As one of the banner programs of the Bureau of Agricultural Research, CPAR has been making significant impact in the lives of the farmers and fisherfolk. In the case of the Mahaplag jackfruit farmers, their production was enhanced and the commodity’s productivity was improved. After two years of implementation, jackfruit yield increased from 8 metric tons to 15 metric tons per hectare; production areas expanded by 11 hectares; number of farmer-cooperators rose from 22 to 52; and average income boosted from P96,250 to P317,500. ### (Anne Camille B. Brion)