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Hybrid seeds’ high impact

April 13, 2011
March 30, 2011, 4:15pm

MANILA, Philippines — We just received the results of a recent research on the impact of improved vegetable seed varieties in five countries that included Thailand, Indonesia, Vietnam, India and the Philippines.

The study surveyed the yield as well as the incomes obtained by farmers who planted improved seeds, mostly hybrids, vis a vis farmers who planted the traditional open-pollinated varieties (OPV).

Results show that net profits achieved by farmers planting hybrid seeds often increased by 50 percent. Adopters of hybrid tomatoes and chili peppers in Java, Indonesia, for instance, have obtained yields that are two times those of the non-adopters. They also made a much bigger gross profit.

For instance,79 Indonesian farmers who planted the Permata hybrid tomato made a gross profit of US$3,607 per hectare equivalent to P155,101 in Philippine money. On the other hand, the six farmers who planted the traditional variety made a gross profit of only US$1,673 or P72,440 per hectare.

The same was true with the Indonesian farmers who planted hybrid chili pepper. They made a profit of US$4,444 or P192,425 per hectare compared to the profit of US$2,502 (P108,336) made by those who planted the open-pollinated varieties.

In Vietnam, the farmers who planted hybrid ampalaya made a gross profit of US$1,581 (P71,055.30) per hectare compared to US$984 (P42,607) for the non-adopters.

In the Philippines, farmers who planted the Casino hybrid eggplant from East-West Seed Company reported increased perceived net income of 69.1%. On the other hand, those who planted Dragon watermelon reported 20.8% as their increased perceived net income.

Why did the farmers shift to hybrid seeds? Higher yields and market demand were the major reasons cited by farmers for adopting new hybrid seed varieties. Other reasons for adoption are better disease resistance, easier crop management, improved shelf life and preferred consumer traits.

The report noted that despite the overall positive results, some farmers reported more modest increases in income or even losses after the adoption of the improved varieties. This was attributed largely to location-specific reasons such as low yields due to poor weather, insect or pest infestation or disease; poor seed or soil quality; or high input costs. Early adopters of improved seed varieties were found to be more likely to experience greater benefits than later adopters.

The researchers suggest that dissemination of technical and economic information by demonstrations of the benefits by private seed companies and government agencies are especially critical to the spread of improved seed varieties. In addition, the availability of credit is particularly important as a lack of capital, especially among smallholder and poor farmers, was identified as the major inhibitor to adoption.

The research organizations that conducted the research project included the Asian Institute of Technology (Thailand), Indonesian Vegetable Research Institute, Benguet State University (Philippines), Wageningen University and Research Center (Netherlands), Tamil Nadu Agricultural University (India) and Ho Chi Minh City Agricultural University (Vietnam). Hybrid cucumbers, chili peppers, tomato, ampalaya, watermelon, sweet corn and eggplant were among the crops studied.

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Seaweed farming in  Lanao Norte – More and more people living in coastal areas in Lanao del Norte are turning to seaweed farming. Recently some 131 seaweed farmers from Brgys. Pigcarangan and Tanguegueron in the capital town of Tubod received 60 kilos of planting materials from the provincial agriculturist’s office and the Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources (BFAR). These planting materials will be used by the farmers to exponentially increase their stocks.


According to Asuncion Maputol, BFAR assistant regional director, if good weather prevails, the farmers can earn as much as P100,000 to P200,000 per hectare. The only thing that the farmers will do is to nurture the seaweeds so that they will grow fast and healthy.

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Masinag Organic Farming– Agriculture Secretary Proceso J. Alcala saw for himself how organic rice farming is being done in Central Luzon. This was during the recent field day in Victoria, Tarlac where the so-called Masinag fertilizer management technology was demonstrated.

The technology is being promoted by the Revolutionary Solutions, Technologies and Products (RSTP) in partnership with Central Luzon State University and financed by the Land Bank of the Philippines.

The use of the Masinag organic fertilizer technology is claimed to have enabled rice farmers to harvest 30 percent more from their crops yet saving 10% to 50% on chemical fertilizer costs.

The Masinag liquid fertilizer is a combination of regular commercial fertilizers and fruit and plant extracts. The concoction is directly applied to the soil before, during, and after transplanting.

Dr. Nenita de la Cruz of CLSU said that when Masinag liquid fertilizer was combined with commercial fertilizers, farmers were able to harvest up to 160 cavans per hectare, 45 cavans more than their previous average yield of 115 cavans per hectare.

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