ILOILO CITY, July 19, 2023 – Starting their SAAD journey with effective and proper farming practices, the Department of Agriculture – Special Area for Agricultural Development (DA-SAAD) Program Phase 2 in Region 6 trained 60 farmers on cultural management, propagation, post-harvest handling, and pest management of calamansi (Philippine lime) in San Rafael, Iloilo.
Science Research Specialist II Dr. Aljen Vasquez of the DA Capiz Research Outreach Station led the training at the municipal covered gym on June 8, 2023, for 30 members of Brgy. Poscolon Calamansi Growers’ Association and 30 members of Brgy. San Dionisio Calamansi Growers’ Association. The activity was facilitated by SAAD technical personnel Reah Garduce II with the assistance of Municipal Agriculturist Richard Torreverde.
Under FY 2023, said associations are recipients of the Calamansi Production Project with a total value of Php 1,013,000. Using the baseline data from the local government unit and Beneficiary Needs Assessment (BNA) results, regional implementers introduced the said livelihood interventions because the beneficiaries own land suitable for growing calamansi or suha in the local dialect and already managed small-scale fruit tree production.
On May 26, regional implementers together with the Municipal Agriculture Office representatives initially turned over various farm tools and 50 sacks of inorganic fertilizer to the two associations. This was followed by the distribution of 1,000 seedlings per FA (total of 2,000 seedlings) on June 7, which the recipients are planning to plant on a 1.25-hectare communal farm.
By July, each group is set to receive 100 sacks of organic fertilizer as part of the Balanced Fertilization Strategy (BFS) introduced by the Fertilizer and Pesticide Authority (FPA) in Region 6. SAAD Program adopted the BFS strategy through the formulation of crop-related projects with provisions of both organic and inorganic fertilizers and information campaign to help farmers maintain sustainable and productive farming activities and reduce production costs amid the rising prices of fertilizers.
Calamansi is a popular citrus fruit in the province of Iloilo. It is widely consumed because of its vitamin C content which helps boost the immune system against illnesses. It is also delicious, which is why it appears as the main ingredient in condiments, purees, juices, and more. Its peak season is between July and October, while the lean season occurs from November to May.
Barangay Poscolon Calamansi Growers’ Association President Ronelo Grates Sr. said they pursued the said livelihood project since most of the members have calamansi in their own backyards so they have experience in planting the crop. He also said they don’t need to grow every year because calamansi, once planted, lasts up to 15 years, although it takes three years before it bears marketable-size fruits.
For the succeeding year, SAAD implementers are targeting to provide chicken layer egg production projects as supplementary interventions to calamansi productions of two FAs. The poultry venture includes ready-to-lay pullets ideal for trading fresh eggs which would serve as an additional income-generating enterprise for the groups.
Opportunities for Calamansi
Cultivating calamansi can provide farmers with a sustainable income by engaging in processing activities such as calamansi concentrate and ready-to-drink calamansi juice production.
It can be used as a flavoring ingredient in desserts, e.g. leche flan, or as an additive in various food preparations, such as fish steak. Its pulp is used as a major ingredient in beverages, syrups, concentrates, and purees. The peel is made into jams, candies, and marmalade.
Writer: Christ John B. Gamarcha, DA-SAAD Region 6 Information Officer