The Philippines has 30 million hectares and about 54 percent are considered upland areas and are very prone to soil erosion. Only about 800,000 hectares were under the natural forest in 2002. There are about three (3) million hectares under rice-based farming systems and another three (3) million hectares in the corn-based farming systems. The recent estimate of the Philippine Coconut Authority (PCA) reported about four (4) million hectares under coconut-based farming systems. There are about 20 million people estimated to be living in those upland areas.
The need for land use systems that will provide permanent cover to these areas is recognized. These systems should be able to provide production and income for the people and at the same time develop the watershed to provide the basic services and functions. This is where agroforestry is recognized to be important. Agroforestry combines woody perennial crops and short duration agricultural crops grown simultaneously or sequentially in the farm. It is also referred to as a system of growing trees on farm. Fruit trees are natural component of agroforestry since fruits are harvested and provide benefits without necessarily cutting the trees. Among the commonly grown fruit crops in the Philippines are pineapple, banana, mango, papaya, lanzones, and citrus. Durian and Mangosteen are becoming popular not only in Mindanao but in the Luzon areas as well. While some fruits are grown in orchard or plantation (banana, pineapple and to some extent solo papaya) as monocrop there are more farms that integrate fruit trees as component of multi-crop farming systems, which are commonly classified as agroforestry system.
This paper will deal with the benefits derived from and some examples of the ways of integrating fruit trees in agroforestry. Some issues and opportunities for the improvement of the fruit industry in relation to agroforestry are also mentioned.
BENEFITS FROM FRUIT CROPS
Agroforestry is defined as the science, art and practice that deals with the production, management and utilization of woody perennials in combination with other agricultural crops, animals, aquatic and/or other resources either zonally, mixed simultaneously or sequentially for the twin purpose of conservation and socio-economic productivity (UAP, 1992). Fruit crops are either woody perennials like santol, Mango, rambutan, Durian and Mangosteen; vines like passion fruit and grapes; or herbaceous like pineapple and banana. Whatever categories, fruit crops are important component in agroforestry system. The integration of fruit crops in agroforestry system provides economic, nutrition and environmental benefits as follows:
· There are medium maturing fruit crops that can provide production and income while the climax agroforestry systems are being developed. Among the examples are banana, papaya, pineapple and passion fruit. A farmer in South Cotabato was reported produced as much as PhP 140,000 in 1994 from guapple planted along the contour of his sloping farm (Non, 1999).
· Fruit crops can be processed into various product forms and stored. Example is Mango, which are not only used and consumed fresh green or ripe fruit but also being served as green and ripe juices. Mango fruits are also processed as puree or dried mango.
· Fruit crops can serve as a pension crop. Fruit crops once established and appropriately managed become productive after four to eight years. Among the examples are rambutan, mango, lanzones, citrus, guyabano and mangosteen.
· Fruits do not necessarily be sweet to be desirable. For lanzones, rambutan, oranges, mangosteen and tamarind, consumers are looking for the sweet taste. There is a room for developing appreciation for sour fruits into juices. Calamansi and dalandan juice are now gaining in the ready-to-drink juice market. Passion fruit can be the next addition while bignay and tamarind are good candidates. Bignay, passion fruit, calumpit, duhat, lepote and I hope cashew and mabolo have good potential for fruit wine production. Fruit jellies, marmalades and jams produced by upland communities are best sellers as reported by the Upland Marketing Foundation.
· Fruits are good food supplement. Most fruits are good source of vitamin C. Banana provides phosphorous for the body. Bignay is alleged to have medicinal properties.
· Good crops started from good planting materials. Farmers with good quality parent trees of fruit crops also profit from sale of seeds, seedlings and scion materials.
· With the depletion of timber for the woodcraft industries, some fruit tree species are now providing raw materials. Timber from Santol provides good material for woodcarving and baluster. The yellowish wood of nangka provides a natural material in guitar production.
INTEGRATING FRUIT CROPS IN AGROFORESTRY SYSTEMS
Starting at the homestead. Appreciation of planting fruit crops can best be developed if we start planting it in our backyard. In this manner, we can be familiar with the cultural and management requirement of fruit production with less investment. Depending on the area available, we can start with few seedlings of papaya, suckers of banana (saba, latundan, lakatan), grafted rambutan, mango, pomelo or durian. These crops can be planted without necessarily sacrificing the area for vegetables and other crops. If you combine these crops and trees in your homestead, then you have an agroforestry garden.
While waiting for the best one enjoy with the good one. Fruit crops can be integrated to provide income in the medium term. While annual crops like corn, peanut, upland rice and vegetables can be planted during the first year with the desired climax agroforestry system (like those with coffee, black pepper and timber trees), fruit crops like papaya, pineapple and banana can be planted. These fruit crops provide income during the second to fourth year of the system while the climax crop are not yet productive. A family in Nabunturan, Compostela Valley received about PhP 300,000 income from its first harvest of Lanzones in 1987, which had been instrumental in expanding their farm areas and other farm investment (Arboleda et. al. 2003).
Fruit Crops based Agroforestry System. The case of a Davao farmer (Arboleda et. al., 2003) put more emphasis in fruit crops like durian and mangosteen as the climax agroforestry system. He cleared the land, have it plowed (using a tractor) twice and harrowed three times. It is then planted to banana and corn. Durian is then planted at 10 x 10 spacing. The corn harvested already paid for the land preparation cost while the first harvest of banana already covered the establishment and maintenance cost. Durian started fruiting during the fourth year and he starting clearing the farm with banana. Can he plant pineapple in between existing durian? There is still room for planting yautia or Gabing San Fernando underneath. A farmer in Alaminos, Laguna is herding chicken (kabir) underneath his 15-year old rambutan (Villancio, 2001). A farmer in Bulacan herd goats under the mango farm.
A part of the Agroforestry farm and landscape mosaic. In the case of a farmer in Visayas, fruit crops are a part of the overall farm landscape mosaic. In one part of the farm, he has two strips of pomelo and below it are patches of kalamansi. In the other side near the road are rows of durian (20 trees) and on the western corner are 15 trees of mangosteen that are planted in between rows of banana. About ½ hectare have hedgerows of natural vegetation with the alleys in between cultivated alternately to corn and vegetables. Near the house, is a shed for four (4) does and single buck. At the top portion of the hill is a mini-forest that combine exotic and indigenous species of trees, bamboo, palm and other plants. In the narrow valley is a fishpond. You will be glad to see a watershed with these landscape mosaic in place.
ISSUES AND OPPORTUNITIES OF FRUIT CROPS IN AGROFORESTRY
Integrating fruit crops in agroforestry systems have great potentials and opportunities specially when the following issues and concerns are addressed:
1. Improvement of planting materials quality. Our case studies among the fruit tree seedling nurseries showed the need to improve the availability of good quality planting materials. There are nurseries that do not have available scion grove as well as indexed parent trees. In most cases, they rely in existing orchard for the source of scion.
2. Development of value-added products. Just imagine opening a can of a leading brand of fruit cocktail. You have pineapple, papaya, peaches, etc. Among those fruits, which are domestically produced? Can we find substitute to apple, peaches and cherries.
A family of six (6) just came by to visit you in a summer option and what you have in the refrigerator are four (4) prices of ice in bags, you do not have to worry because you still have the halo-halo mix in doy pack ready to serve for six (6) person. The content of that mix is a product of agroforestry; you have banana, sweet potato, white beans, ube (yam) and leche plan. Forget about the melon. Do you think you may buy that halo-halo mix when you see it in the supermarket stalls? Please buy, because it will increase the demand for fruit and other products of agroforestry.
3. Developing new raw materials. Among the local fruit jams, strawberry jam is the most popular. During our SALE Training in Davao City, one of the participant asked if the wild strawberry which are abundant in Mt. Matutum, South Cotabato. Wild Rambutan and Tamarind can be a potential for juice production. Kalahan Educational Foundation developed Dagwey (a local fruit) in Nueva Viscaya for jelly production. These materials, which are otherwise not utilized, can be developed to produce new products.
I remember a water treatment consultant I met at the Hongkong Airport who asked if it is possible to use mabolo as substitute for apple. Of course, I imagined the smell of the fruit, its texture, and how it is just set aside to rot in the roadside of UPLB. But if you harvest the proper time, processed it to improve the texture, or make the flavor as well, will the consumer recognize that it is mabolo? What about fruit cocktail with balimbing (Star fruit)?
4. Enhancement of support services particularly in training and marketing of other value added products. The development of Matutum’s Best Jelly started with the assistance from the Foundation for Philippine Environment (FPE) to Mt. Matututm Integrated Area Development Project that supported a group of women to have an exposure trip to Kalahan Educational Foundation (KEF) at Imugan, Nueva Viscaya.. Experts from KEF and MUAD-Negros, another partner NGO, provided on-site training on guava jelly production to the members of the cooperative. De Luna et. al (2003) reported the profitable production of Matutum’s Best Jelly by the Maligo Multi-purpose Cooperative (MMPC) with an ROI of 40 percent.
Another concern is in product marketing. This is where the Upland Marketing Foundation (UMF) helps. The UMF does not only help in training but also provide marketing assistance for the processed products of upland farmers and organizations. Marketing of processed products from the Kalahan Educational Foundation in Nueva Viscaya is now handled by UMF.
5. Lack of capital and high cost of fruit crops establishment. In small farms, the cost of quality planting materials in a major deterrent in planting fruit crops. A ready to plant grafted rambutan seedling cost about P45 while durian cost about P85. Mangosteen seedlings cost as much as P100. Calamansi seedlings cost P10-15. These costs are expensive to most farmers. Some farmers buy newly grafted but established seedlings, which are almost half the price of plantable seedlings. They buy in December, have it maintained in their backyard nursery until May for planting. There are some other cost reduction or cost recovery measure that could be done. Crop diversification with annual crops as described before is one of them.
The adoption of agroforestry as a land use system as well as fruit crop production are still not widespread. Information about the benefits of integrating fruit crops in agroforestry systems needs to be done. The crop diversification strategy combining early maturing fruit crops like passion fruit and papaya with medium maturing crop like pineapple and banana will support the establishment of long maturing and producing fruits like rambutan, lanzones, mangosteen, mango and durian. In combination with other timber and non-timber species, the climax agroforestry system will be more sustainable as it somewhat simulates the forest ecosystem providing products and income for the people and at the same time providing environmental services.
Fruit trees in the agroforestry systems ensure that trees are not cut for timber but are maintained for the fruits that it provides. Expanded fruit production will contribute for the development of value-added enterprise in terms of food processing and distribution. Fruit derived products such as puree, jelly, jam, marmalade, juice, wine and dehydrated products are gaining in the market. Given appropriate technologies and support, this will provide alternative livelihood to people in the uplands thus help in eradicating rural poverty.
Arboleda, L.P., W.M. Carandang and S.T. Cepada. 2003. Cepada’s Farm: Simbolo ng Pagtutulungan at Modelo ng Kakayahan ng Agroforestry. Case study presented during the Workshop for the Development of Agroforestry Technology Information Kit (RATIK), Mindanao Training resource Center, 10-13 August 2003.
Arboleda, L.P., W.M. Carandang and S. Belviz. 2003. Ang Agroforestry: May Kakayanan bang Maging Komersyal? Pagpapatunay ng isang Magsasaka. Case study presented during the Workshop for the Development of Agroforestry Technology Information Kit (RATIK), Mindanao Training resource Center, 10-13 August 2003.
De Luna, C.C., N.G. Natural, R.N. Nalugon, R. de la Pena and A. Oftana. 2003. Katututbong Bayabas simula sa Pag-usbong ng Bagong Negosyo: Ang Karanasan ng Matutum’s Best Jelly. Case study presented during the Workshop for the Development of Agroforestry Technology Information Kit (RATIK), Mindanao Training resource Center, 10-13 August 2003.
Non, D.S. 1999. Fruit-based Farming Systems: A case in Tampakan, South Cotabato. In Successful Farming Systems in the Philippines- A Documentation. Farming Systems and Soil Resources Institute and Bureau of Agricultural Research. P191-202.
PCARRD. 2003. Agroforestry and Multipurpose Trees and Shrubs – R&D Directions (2000 and beyond). Philippine Council for Agriculture, Forestry and Natural Resources Research and Development, Los Banos, Laguna.
UPLB Agroforestry Program. 1992. Developing an Agroforestry Curriculum Using DACUM Process- Workshop Proceedings, November 23-26, 1992.UPLB
Villancio, V.T. 2000. Fruit Growers as Entrepreneurs. Paper presented during the Fruit Congress sponsored by the Philippine fruits Association held at PCARRD, November 14, 2000.