BT-eggplant farmers can hike yield per hectare by 317% PDF Print E-mail
Tuesday, 26 October 2010 13:40

Farmers FARMERS who will plant fruit-and-shoot borer resistant (FSB) eggplant could increase their net income by as much as 317 percent, according to a study published by an expert from the University of the Philippines Los Baños (UPLB).

Dr. Cesar B. Quicoy, assistant professor of the UPLB’s College of Economics and Management, noted that the hike in net income would come from substantial savings from pesticides use and pesticide labor cost as well as increase in yield.

The study compared the changes in yield and cost of Bt eggplant and non-Bt eggplant.

“Bt eggplant technology is economically acceptable. [It] minimizes the use of insectides. Also, consumers would be safer because the insecticide residue in the product is also minimized,” said Quicoy during a presentation before participants in a seminar on the benefits and impact of a promising public sector crop biotechnology held in Pasig City yesterday.

His study titled “Economics of Eggplant Production and Potential Impact of Bt Eggplant” noted that for every hectare planted to Bt eggplant, the yield is estimated at 12,082 kilograms.

At P10.77 per kilo, the gross revenue of farmers could reach P130,123 per hectare. Net income could go as high as P65,489 per hectare.

Quicoy noted that planting Bt eggplant would result in a 55-percent reduction in pesticide use. Also, pesticide labor cost could decline by 60 percent.

Primary data used for the study was collected through farm surveys conducted in Pangasinan, Batangas, and Quezon in 2009. A total of 104 eggplant farmers were tapped for the study.

Currently, the FSB-resistant eggplant developed by the University of the Philippines Los Baños-Institute of Plant Breeding (UPLB-IPB) is undergoing field testing.

UPLB-IBP partnered with Mahyco and Cornell University to develop Bt eggplant. The United States Agency for International Development supports the initiative through the Agricultural Biotechnology Support Project II, the International Service for the Acquisition of Agri-biotech Applications and the Department of Agriculture.

Quicoy noted that FSB is the most serious eggplant pest as it causes serious damage throughout the life of the crop. In the early stage, larvae feed within the pedicles and midribs of the leaves, causing shoots to droop and wither. At the fruiting stage, larvae bore into the fruit, rendering them unmarketable and unfit for human consumption.

“Farmers resorted to frequent and heavy spraying to save their crops, but since the larvae are internal feeders, their control is difficult,” he said.

Quicoy noted that eggplant is one of the most economically important vegetable crops in the Philippines. Last year, the Bureau of Agricultural Statistics noted that the country produced 200,950 metric tons of eggplant valued at P3.13 billion.

The top eggplant producing provinces in the Philippines are Pangasinan, Nueva Ecija, Cebu, Iloilo, Cagayan, Isabela and Batangas.

By JENNIFER A. NG