The municipal government of La Trinidad in Benguet’s capital, urges farmers to adopt elevated strawberry farming to increase their yield and battle the effects of land conversion. With limited space to grow their produce due to more farmlands becoming privately owned, farmers can benefit from this new technology, which has been proven to produce three times more yield than traditional farming. With the proper practices, farmers can continue to grow high-quality strawberries and other crops, maximizing their rental area and recouping their expenses.
The town of La Trinidad in Benguet’s capital urges farmers to adopt elevated strawberry farming to increase their yield and battle the effects of land conversion. As more farmlands become privately owned, it gets converted to non-farming purposes. Strawberry farmers are left with limited space to grow their produce. The new technology that can vertically stack layers is proven to increase yield three times more than what is produced when farming on the ground.
The La Trinidad Strawberry Farm, owned by the Benguet State University, rents out pieces of land to strawberry farmers. However, due to land conversion, these spaces are becoming fewer. The most effective conversion in the area happened in early 2000 with the establishment of the Benguet Agri pinoy Trading Center, which is used for trading, storage, and simple processing of highland agricultural products.
Elevated farming technology was introduced to Benguet farmers by Japanese farmers sent by the local government of Kochi Prefecture through an agricultural exchange program. The technology is a type of vertical farming that involves growing crops in stacked layers. The practice maximizes the use of limited spaces and produces three times more yield than traditional farming.
Currently, 37 irrigated areas in La Trinidad are being used for strawberry farming. On average, the town records production of 11.44 metric tons of strawberries from December to April. Farmers also intercrop fruits with other crops like lettuce to maximize the area they are renting and recoup the money they spend for rent.
Unlike in the 1980s and early 1990s, strawberries are produced year-round, with prices varying depending on the season. However, production is limited to six months in open field plots as the berries get easily damaged by rain. On the other hand, those that use tunnel greenhouses that house elevated farming can produce year-round. Tunnel greenhouses are covered by thick plastic held by bamboo or metal braces to prevent collapse.
Adopting elevated farming technology can help farmers battle the effects of land conversion, increase their yield, and maximize their limited space for farming. By intercropping their fruits with other crops, farmers can also maximize their rental area and recoup their expenses. With the right technology and practices, farmers can continue to produce high-quality strawberries and other crops despite the challenges of land conversion.
Image provided by Pok Rie