Personal Finance, Family and Career

Calamansi Industry in the Philippines

The calamansi (citrus madurencis) is considered as one of the major fruit crops in the Philippines, which is indigenous to the country. This plant is characterized by wing-like appendages on the leaf stalks and white or purplish flowers. Its fruit has either a spongy or leathery rind with a juicy pulp that is divided into sections.

Calamansi is said to be a good source of vitamin C. Its fruit has been processed into syrups, juices, concentrates, and purees. Its juice is used as a flavoring or as an additive in various food preparations to enhance iron absorption. It can also be a preserve ingredient for sweet pickles or marmalade.

The calamansi fruit also has many medicinal uses. It can be a good treatment to itchy scalp and for hair growth. It can also heal insect bites, remove freckles, clear up acne, cure pimples, and deodorize underarms. It is a popular medicine for cough. Aside from its food and medicinal uses, homemakers are awed by its power to remove heavy stains on fabrics, which makes laundry duties a pleasure.

Calamansi is easy to cultivate. The plant grows well in cool and elevated areas and in sandy soils rich in organic matter. Waterlogged areas are not suitable for cultivation because calamansi plants cannot tolerate too much moisture. Calamansi can be propagated by seeds using its vegetative parts. To produce big, luscious fruits, applying fertilizer, such as ammonium sulfate or urea, around each tree one month after planting is essential. The trees will start to bear fruit one or two years after planting. Its trees have an average life span of five years.

Industry Contribution

According to the Bureau of Agricultural Statistics (BAS), this marvelous fruit crop has contributed greatly in the export market at a value of US$238.85 thousand for the year 2005, either in the form of fresh fruit, juice, or concentrate3. It has a net profit – cost ratio of 3.08. A large proportion of the calamansi production came from Mindoro Oriental (69.04%), Quezon (3.7%), and some provinces in Mindanao, like North Cotabato (2.2%) and Agusan del Sur (2.1%).

Calamansi Production

National production of calamansi exhibited decreasing trend from year 2000 until 2004 (Table 1). This decrease in production is attributed to various typhoons that struck the northern and southern parts of Luzon. Production soared in 2005, with a 12.17% percent change. According to the BAS, gain can be attributed to the increased number of bearing trees in Mindoro Oriental and Zamboanga Sibugay and control of aphids in Nueva Ecija. In terms of area devoted to calamansi production, the data exhibits a positive trend. Decreasing trend for yield per hectare of land can be seen from 2000 until 2004 and increases by 2005.

Table 1. National volume of production, Area planted, and Percent change

Year

Volume of Production

(in MT)

Percent change

Area planted (in has.)

Percent change

Yield per hectare (in MT)

2000

180,844

19,418

9.31

2001

181,747

0.50%

19,668

1.29%

9.24

2002

180,999

-0.41%

19,781

0.57%

9.15

2003

180,923

-0.04%

19,947

0.84%

9.07

2004

179,020

-1.05%

20,013

0.33%

8.95

2005

200,808

12.17%

20,209

0.98%

9.94

2006

196,595

-2.10%

20,253

0.22%

9.71

Costs of producing calamansi can be categorized in three: cash costs, non-cash costs, and imputed costs. Cash costs account for production inputs such as fertilizer, pesticides, hired labor, rentals, transportation costs, irrigation fee, and other items that are paid out in cash. Items that are accounted as non-cash costs include laborers and overseers that are paid in-kind and lease rental. Imputed costs are those that are not directly incurred but are actually borne. These include operator/family laborers, depreciation, interest on operating capital, and rental value of owned land.

On the BAS study, the average yield per hectare of land is 6,662.41 kilograms or 6.6 metric tons and the average area of harvested bearing trees is 0.85 hectares. In a 2005 case study of small farmers in Zamboanga Sibugay conducted by the Xavier Agricultural Extension Services (XAES), the average cost of production for 1 hectare of land is PhP25,002 or PhP3.32 per kg (Table 5). The average yield per hectare is 7,520 kilograms.

It can be assumed that the total cost of producing calamansi is in the range of PhP25,000 to 27,000 per hectare. 2007 data from BAS shows that the average farm-gate price is PhP11.67/kg and production per hectare of land is 7,740 kilograms. This translates to PhP90,325 of revenue for calamansi farmers. Deducting the cost, the farmer will earn a profit in the range of PhP63,325 to PhP65,325 per hectare of land.

Production and Marketing Problems

In a market research and value chain analysis conducted by the Philippine Partnership for the Development of Human Resources in Rural Areas (PhilDHRRA), calamansi farmers face challenges in producing this valuable crop. Nature – related problems are pest infestation, bad weather, calamities, poor soil condition, and spoilage/wastage.

Calamansi can be disposed through sales (97.5%) with wastage accounting for 1.2%. This is due to improper handling, rotten and pest-infected fruits. Harvesters get the bigger share relative to laborers and landowners. As of 2002, wastage increased to 2.1% of total production (BAS study). On the traders’ side, wastage accounted for 1.4% of total procurement.

Another cited production – related problem is the basic support services that can or should be provided by the government. Mentioned were the high cost of inputs, lack of water/irrigation facilities, inadequate farm to market roads or poor road conditions that results to high transport cost, and lack of information on farm technology.

As to marketing issues, farmers and traders do not have enough capital to finance the buying and selling of goods. They also lack information on marketing strategies and also desire to undergo skills training.

Owing to low quality of produce and oversupply, farmers are forced to sell their crop at a low price. Aside from these challenges, they are faced with a large group of competitors, frequent price fluctuation or unstable market prices, absence of permanent market stalls, and delayed payment of goods or non-payment of credit.

Addressing Challenges in Calamansi Farming

The Philippine Partnership for the Development of Human Resources in Rural Areas (PhilDHRRA) has taken part of a two – year Southeast Asian project by the Asian Partnership for the Development of Human Resources in Rural Areas (AsiaDHRRA) entitled, “Linking Small Farmers to Market (LSFM).”
The LSFM project attempts to reduce rural poverty by strengthening the agricultural sector in rural communities of the Philippines, Cambodia, and Vietnam being its pilot sites.

LSFM addresses entrepreneurship among non – government organizations and farmers’ organizations, while collaborating with policy makers and other stakeholders that can help establish small – scale farmers’ capacity as well as linkage in the larger agricultural market.

In the country, PhilDHRRA spearheads the LSFM project and has just undertaken a participatory market research on calamansi farming, This sector, however, requires an effective and up – to – date means to produce and market, given the threat posed by extreme weather conditions and owing to inefficient current practices.

PhilDHRRA has tentatively scheduled a National Training on December of this year that would gather small – scale farmers and delegates from non – government organizations. The training hopes to serve as a venue to better understand agricultural marketing and marketing engagements that will allow participants to be active players in the large calamansi industry.

source: http://www.phildhrra.net/

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