Farmers preferences, uncertainties and opportunities in fruit-tree cultivation in Northeast Luzon

D. J. Snelder*, M. Klein, S. H G Schuren

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to JournalArticleAcademicpeer-review

Abstract

The world production of tropical fruit was estimated at about 65 Mt in 2002, of which developing countries accounted for 98%. Although most commercial fruit tree crops are cultivated by large-scale commercial enterprises, smallholder fruit-tree cultivation receives much attention in projects aimed at rural development, conservation farming and agroforestry in developing countries. In the Philippines, the integration of fruit trees in smallholder upland farming systems has been promoted since the 1970s. The aim of this paper is to investigate farmers' views on small-scale fruit-tree cultivation based on fieldwork conducted in three upland villages of Northeast Luzon. The factors influencing farmers' preferences are explored and the costs and benefits of fruit tree cultivation compared with those for seasonal cash crops over a 10-year period. Markets for fruit-tree products are identified, at both local and supra-local levels, and risks, uncertainties and opportunities associated with fruit-tree cultivation are discussed. Despite extensive promotion, the adoption of fruit trees in farming systems has occurred at a relatively low pace. In contrast, the cultivation of seasonal cash crops, particularly high-yielding rice and corn varieties, spread rapidly in the 1970s and 1980s. These crops are planted in monocultures with high inputs of fertilizers and pesticides. Farmers consider fruit trees as a subordinate crop much less profitable than seasonal cash crops, which is in stark contrast with the results of economic analyses of a 10-year production cycle. The Net Present Value (NPV) for citrus (Citrus reticulate) cultivation is at least two times the NPV for irrigated rice and as much as four times the NPV for corn, even at discount rates up to 20%. Farmers' knowledge of tree management and species selection proved to be inadequate, contributing indirectly to low growth rates and fruit production. Marketing opportunities are not fully utilised as evident from unstable network channels for fruit-tree sales, lack of expertise in fruit-tree marketing and insufficient knowledge on market demands, quality production and market location.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-17
Number of pages17
JournalAgroforestry Systems
Volume71
Issue number1
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 1 Sep 2007

Keywords

  • Cost-benefits
  • Philippines
  • Smallholder farmers
  • Tree planting
  • Upland farming systems

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