This project focused on crops, production systems and issues that constrained production of vegetables in the Philippines and Australia.
Low vegetable yields combined with unsophisticated marketing systems in the Southern Philippines keep vegetable farmers poor and threaten food security. The Filipino vegetable industry needs to develop production systems that adequately meet consumer demand for safe, high quality fresh produce. Production challenges include more than 2 metres of rainfall per year, frequent typhoons, widespread insect pest and disease issues, poor access to modern vegetable varieties and cropping inputs, and low skill levels combined with poor distribution systems.
The inadequacies of local production mean vegetables are transported from distant production areas. This reduces quality, inflates prices, and affects the food security of the rural poor because the imported vegetables become unaffordable.
The project developed integrated crop management systems for open field and protected cropping over four regions in the southern Philippines to help farmers profitably produce tomatoes, sweet pepper, eggplant, ampalaya and leafy vegetables. It produced an inventory of Philippine vegetable pests and evaluated the effectiveness of aeroponics for producing disease-free seed potatoes. Increasing the ability of smallholder farmers to meet local market demand should be both profitable for the farmers and increase local supply, potentially reducing prices and making vegetables more affordable, thereby increasing consumption and improving local nutrition.