Farmers in Davao del Norte reap profits from vegetables
DAVAO CITY -- Vegetable farmers in nearby Panabo City who had refused to lease their land to banana plantation operators a decade or two ago are now reaping the rewards of their decision.
While her neighbors jumped at the offer of sweet-talking representatives of the banana companies years ago, 55-year-old Anita A. Monsanto stuck to her farm. "Now, we earn about P3,000 per harvest for one week, or P12,000 a month," she said, referring to a hectare of land that her family could have leased out years ago.
A hectare of land planted to banana in Panabo started at a lease of P7,000 annually about a decade ago. The rate has since increased to P15,000 per hectare annually, tantamount to just P1,250 per hectare a month. Each farmer holds one to five hectares.
Panabo is known as the "banana capital" of Davao del Norte. Based on its own Web site, the city has dedicated nearly half of its agricultural land, or around 10,000 hectares, for export-quality bananas.
The Vegetable Industry Council of Southern Mindanao concedes that vegetable growing is not among the major sub-sectoral contributors to the country’s agricultural sector.