Horticultural Crop Production Philippines
Ardy L. Cucio
Technical Staff/Philippine Coconut Research and Development Foundation
Allan B. Siano
Agriculturist Ⅱ/Dept. of Agriculture, Bureau of Plant Industry
Features of the Philippines archipelago
The Philippines lies between the Pacific Ocean and the China Sea at about 116
°C 30’ to 126°C 30 E and extends from about 4°30’ to 21° N latitudes. On the South are
the Celebes Sea and the costal water of Borneo. Philippines is an archipelago which
consist of 7,102 island and islets distributed to the span of 1854 kilometers from North
to South. The Country is divided in to three major groups namely: Luzon, Visayas and
Mindanao. Luzon is the largest among the three and located in the Northern part of the
country while Visayas is located in the central position. Mindanao is the second largest
and located in the South. The total land area is 300,000 square kilometer equivalent to
30 million hectares. The archipelago has a coastline of about 14,480 miles.
Total Population = 80 million
Roman Catholic= 80%
Other Christians =15%
Muslims = 5%
The earliest migrants are the Negritos, Malays and Indonesians. The rest of the
population descended from recent immigrants. Chinese, European, Americans, Indians
and Japanese.Pilipino is the official language and English is the second. One hundred
eleven dialects are being spoken throughout the country.
Climate of the Philippines
Climate in the Philippines is classified base on the rainfall distribution received
in the locality. There are four types of climate base on Modified Corona’s System.
Two pronounced seasons, dry from November to April; wet during the rest of
The entire province in the western part of the islands of Luzon, Mindoro,
Negros, and Palawan.
No dry season with a very pronounced maximum rainfall from November to
The areas covered are Catanduanes, Sorsogon, The eastern part of Albay, the
Eastern and Northern part of Camarines Norte and Camarines Sur, a great
portion of Eastern part of Quezon, the eastern part of Leyte and a large portion
of Eastern Mindoro.
Agriculturist II. Bureau of Plant Industry Metro Manila Philippines
Technical Staff. Philippine Coconut Research and Development Foundation. Pasig City Philippines
No very pronounced maximum rain period
Only a short dry season lasting from one to three months.
Covers the Western part of Cagayan (Luzon), Isabela, Nueva Viscaya, the
southern portion of Mountain Province, Southern Quezon, the Bondoc
Peninsula, Masbate, Romblon, Northeast Panay, Eastern Negros, Central and
Southern Cebu, Part of Northern Mindanao and the most Eastern Palawan.
Rainfall more or less evenly distributed throughout the year.
There is no dry season and no very pronounced rainy.
Covers Batanes Provinces, Northern Luzon, Western Camarines Norte and
Camarines Sur, Albay, Eastern Mindoro, Marinduque, Western Leyte,
Nortern Negros, and most of Central, Eastern and Southern Mindanao.
Of the total rainfall recorded annually, 47% is attributed to the occurrence of the
tropical cyclones (especially from June to December). Tropical cyclones are generally
from the North Pacific Ocean region and generally move in West Northern direction
towards the country. The most affected areas are those located at the northern part of the
country. Philippines are usually affected by this typhoon at the average of 21 annually.
The annual humidity ranges from 74% to 85% while the annual mean temperature is
between 19,5°C to 28°C and annual rainfall ranges from 1,893 to 3,855.2 millimeters.
Total radiation in the Philippines follows the seasonal changes in rainfall
distribution, but it also dependent on the length of day, which is directly related to the
latitude. This is clearly seen in the dry season, when bright sunshine is expected
throughout the day.
Philippine Soil Types
Soil Type Area (Has.) Soil Type Area (Has.)
Clay 5,326,035 Sand 121,624
Silty Clay 10,475 Fine Sand 130,694
Sandy Clay 246,570 Beach Sand 6,442
Loam 2,244,102 Beach Sand 9,846
Sandy Loam 1,171,951 Loamy Sand 14,444
Clay Loam 6,405,080 Coarse Sand 13,498
Silty Loam 861,928 Complex 262,305
Gravelly Loam 21,213 M.Soil Undiff’d 8,789,216
Silty Clay Loam 403,303 Rocks and 551,195
Sandy Clay Loam 1,132,46 Others 1,524,728
Fine Sandy loam 262,561
Gravelly Sandy Loam 3,123 Total 29,512,798
Agriculture and Vegetation
Agriculture, including fishery and forestry, plays a dominant role in the
Philippine economy. Since the Philippines is predominantly a rural society with 70% of
its population in the country side, agriculture is and will continue to be the basic
livelihood of the rural sector. At present, it provides employment to about 9.6 million
Filipino who make up one half of the total labor force. Agriculture continues to account
for the bulk of total employment. The Agriculture sector registers a positive growth rate
compare to other industry and service.
The exports of Agriculture product continue to move up especially now that
wide range of agricultural product like vegetables, fruits, and ornamental crops are
booming in foreign trade. The traditional crops exported by the Philippines are sugar,
coconut oil, banana, pineapple in syrup, copra cake or meal, mango, and other
The Philippine has a wide range of vegetation from forestry to agricultural
palnts. The major key crops grown in the Philippines are cereal, (Palay and Corn) major
crops (Banana, coconut, pineapple, sugarcane, coffee, mango, tobacco, abaca, rubber,
cacao cassava, camote, peanut, mongo, onion, garlic, tomato, eggplant, cabbage and
citrus.) and other crops suchs as fibercrops, rootcrops, tubers, spices, fruits, bearing
vegetables, leafy/stem vegetable, other legumes and other fruits.the total area planted to
agricultureal cropps is 12.6 million hectares with production of 65.8 million metric tons
amounting to 177,7 million pesos.
The Philippine vegetable industry
Vegetable is a large and diverse commodity in the Philippines. Diversity of these
plants can be found in the country but only 48 of which are grown commercially. This
are cultivated intensively in commercial farms and garden. Philippine vegetable is
classified according to morphological criteria such as plant parts use or growth habit.
Plant parts use as vegetable comprise anything from whole leaves (kangkong, amaranth
and green onion) fruits (cucurbits, solanaceous fruit, legume pods) flower (cauliflower
and broccoli) stem (asparagus, bamboo shoots) stem tubers (yam bean, potato, sweet
potato) and seeds (cucurbits, young legume seeds) storage roots (carrot) and bulb
(onion, garlic and shallot). The most commonly grown vegetable in highlands is white
potato, cabbage sweet pepper, broccoli, cauliflower, lettuce and tomato. For lowlands,
vegetable such as solanaceous, cucurbits, roots, and legumes.
The most commonly grown vegetable in the Philippines were eggplant
which covers 19,986 hectares, tomato (16,093 hectares) onion (9,584 ha.) garlic
(7,837 ha.) squash (5,194 ha) and cabbage (7,665 ha,) Production area are
distributed to the different vegetable producing province of Central Luzon,
Ilocos, Cordillera Autonomous Region (CAR) Southern Tagalog, Northern
Mindanao and others.
Lowland vegetable represents the majority of vegetable in the market. This
creates a seasonal surplus and price fall to their lowest during the harvest period.
However vegetable production in the highland are relatively consistent
throughout the year. Crop yields varies in location with an average of 12.26
tons/ha for eggplant, 9.73 ton/ha. Tomato, 7.18 tons/ha onion, 2.6 ton/ha.garlic
and 12.14 tons/ha, 13.95 tons/ha. for cabbage and squash. Moreover yield can be
increase up to 30 % given the market, better verities and production systems.
The Bureau of Plant Industry is involved in vegetable research and seed
production. To date BPI had developed high yielding varieties of different
kinds/types of vegetables. Production of high quality seeds is being multiplied in
the different National Crop Centers of the BPI and seed farm of the Department
Most of the vegetable produce on the region was marketed on wet
markets and other institutional markets like fast food chain, hotels restaurants
and other supermarkets in the major cities like Metro Manila, Davao and Cebu
City. Other vegetable produce were sold on local markets in the region were the
commodity are planted.
Post harvest facilities are now being developed and adopted due to high
after harvest losses of vegetable in the country. About 5-50 % losses on eggplant
and tomato, 20-30 % on cabbage and other leafy vegetable occurs during
handling, transport and marketing respectively. Furthermore, post harvest losses
of bulb crops like onion and garlic during storage reaches up to 12-38 %
Philippine importation of both process and fresh vegetable products are
increasing in last 3 years especially on onion and garlic. Furthermore,
institutional market are relying on imports for there supply which is a problem
threatening the countries vegetable industry. Bulk of the imports or 62% are
process vegetable product of onion, garlic, tomato (tomato paste) and
mushroom. The remaining 38 % are imported as fresh like melons, garlic,
cauliflower, broccoli, celery and others.
Country’s exports depends on only few crops (fresh or chilled) 43 % of
this are from asparagus, 28 % from shallots, 9 % on onion and the remaining 20
% are distributed to other vegetable crops.
The Philippine Fruits Industry
The Philippines is one of the few countries in the world endowed with
abundance of fruits floras. The proliferations of fruits plus the rich soil and good
climatic conditions make the year round cultivation of the most tropical and some
temperate fruits possible.
Fruits do not only provide food for country’s growing population, they also generate
foreign exchange and provide livelihood to the producers and traders. The country’s
first exports in 1990 amounted to 1,287 thousand metric tons valued at US $ 3,976.2
million. During the same year fruits contributed 13.6 percent to the Gross Value Added
(GVA) in Agriculture.
The majority of fruits produced in the country come from backyards
except Cavendish banana, pineapple and mango which are gown in big
commercial farm in Mindanao and the island of Luzon by multinational
companies which are mainly for export. During the 90’s the total area planted
for fruits was 489,945 hectares. Northern Mindanao with the highest 89,632
hectares or 18.29% of the total production area. This are followed by Southern
Tagalog, southern Mindanao, and the fourth was Western Visayas with
production area of 77,053, 75,950 and 55.140 hectares respectively and the rest
are distributed in the other region of the country. In terms of volume of
production, Southern Mindanao has the highest production outputs. It
contributes 1,726,699 metric tons or 36.32% of the total fruit production during
the year. This was followed by Northern Mindanao, Western Visayas and
Southern Tagalog was fourth with the share of 1,056.788, 336,894 and 324.657
metric tons respectively.
Competitive Advantage of Major fruits Planted in the Philippines
Pineapple The Smooth Cayenne variety grown in the Philippines is sweeter and
has a more attractive golden yellow color that are not readily duplicated in other
Asian country. The proximity of the country to the main markets of Japan and
Hong Kong is also a competitive advantage. Productivity in the farms is very
competitive but higher labor cost paid by multinationals reduce competitiveness.
Banana Favorable climatic conditions, highly efficient and productive systems
and labor are key factor to the competitiveness of Philippine Cavendish banana,
which has very good quality another is the proximity to the main market of
Japan, Korea and Hong Kong and the establish infrastructure for efficient
transport from the farms is also a advantage.
For banana chips, Saba is a unique local variety with a characteristic, which fits
well the requirement, required for banana chips.
Mango the Carabao variety grown in the Philippines has unique and pleasant
taste aroma, color and texture that are not readily duplicated in any part of the
word. Leading Philippine manufacturer has the equipment and personnel that
make the following processed products competitive: traditional, thermal
treatment puree, UHT-puree, dehydrated slice, frozen puree and frozen
Papaya The Solo variety, which is the import of Japan from Hawaii, grows well
in Mindanao. Unlike Hawaii and the island of Luzon, Mindanao is free from the
Papaya ring spots virus (PRSV). The proximity of the country to Japan which is
looking for source to replace PRSV- infected Hawaii is also an advantage.
Strengths of the Industry
1. Favorable climatic condition
2. Cultivars highly acceptable in word market
3. Proximity to large Asian market
4. Well established marketing linkage with countries abroad
5. Upward trend on domestic consumption
6. State of the art technologies and integrated operations
7. Availability of farm labor, skilled technician and experts
8. Strong private sector support and participation
Mango, papaya and banana are the most heavily consumed fruits in the
Philippines, higher consumption are in NCR, Central Luzon, Southern Tagalog,
Ilocos and Western Visayas. Except for NCR this region are the leading mango
producers. Papaya consumption is higher in Southern Tagalog and southern
Mindanao. Which is also the leading papaya producer in the country. Banana is
hishest in consumption in Central and Southern Mindanao, Autonomous Region
for Muslim Mindanao (ARMM), Bicol and Eastern Visayas, Consumption of
other fruits exhibits highest in Southern tagalog, and Central Mindanao which
also large producer of other fruits like durian, guava, lanzones, rambutan and
Consistent top fruit exported by the Philippines are Banana, pineapple,
(fresh and in syrup, mango, papaya, and citrus. Exports value shares of Banana
being the highest with 51%, pineapple 32%, other fruits share mango 11% and 6
Reduction in export volume and value were observed due to changing market
shares of importing countries, entry of other exporters, emergence of new
markets, and changing competitiveness. Markets of others fruit crops like
durian, cashew, mangosteen, pili and jackfruit are now being explored.
The Philippine Ornamental Industry
The ornamental horticulture industry in the Philippines has been increasing in
recognition as enthusiast, entrepreneurs and other investors venture on this profitable
business. The growth of other industries like real state development for housing,
resorts and golf courses, restaurants and hotels brings more demand on the industry.
Moreover, the increasing requirement of neighboring and foreign countries for
ornamental horticulture products encourage further the growth of the industry.
Ornamental crop products are classified into cutflowers, foliage, live plants, and
dried or processed ornamentals.
Cutflowers this consist of fresh flower which are cut from their stem and
marketed and utilized in various flower arrangement for different occasion and
Foliage Plants this commodity is consist of fresh leaves, twigs and branches cut
fresh and utilized in floral arrangement and evergreen and foliage plants grown
in container for interior décor.
Live Plants This consist of flowering annuals, shrubs, herbaceous perennials,
grown in containers for interior and exterior décor and plants consisting of
evergreen and flowering trees, shrubs, herbaceous perennials and turf grass for
Dried or Process Ornamentals consist of flowers, leaves, branches dried, dyed
or other wise processed use for floral arrangement and home décor
Production data on the year 2000 for cutflowers like roses, orchids,
chrysanthemums, anthuriums, gladioli, daisy, aster, heliconias, statice, and
baby’s breath reached a volume of 32M dozens with a total area of 1,731.6 ha.
Major production areas are Cordillera Administrative Region, Southern
Mindanao, Western Visayas, Southern Tagalog and CARAGA Region.
Other ornamental Plants
Economically important foliage plants are cordylines, dracaenas,
murrayas, microsoriums, philodendrons palms and aglaonemas. Plants used as
potted and landscape materials are orchids, bromeliads, mussaendas, medinillas,
aglaonemas, heliconias, palms, freycinetias and gingers.
Local demand varies in location in metro Manila and in Cebu City the
most in demand cut flower are roses and Chrysanthemums both in flower shops
and retail outlets. While in Davao City the most saleable cutflower are orchids.
Demand for ground covers such as Australian peanut, duranta cuphea santan,
and red creeper also increased with the flourishing industrial parks and
subdivisions. Spatiphyllum, Aglaonema and Dracaena are the frequently sold
foliage plants. Likewise palms are the most popular landscape materials.
Total exports earning for ornamental plants were US $1.85M in year
2000. The highest export earnings comes from live plants with 35 % market
share from 1991 to 2001. These was fallowed by fresh foliage 30 %, dried
flowers 18%, and fresh cut flowers. The country export market for ornamental
plants has always been dominated by Japan. The second major export market is
the United States, while South Korea ranks third. These are followed by the
Netherlands and Canada.
The country spend an average of US $769,890 annually for the
importation of ornamental plants from period 1991-2001.Major imported
ornamental plants were live plants including cutting and slips (39.8%) orchids
(23.9%) fresh flower and buds (16.5%) process cutflower and buds (3.64%) and
anthuriums (11.89%). Leading supplier were Thailand (26.8%) the
Netherlands (21.7%) Israel (20.6%), Malaysia (9.4%) and the United States
The Philippine Plantation Crops Industry
The plantation crops production is a growing industry in the Philippines. This
is brought about by the diversity of uses obtained from these crops. Among the
plantation crops cultivated in the Philippines are coconut, rubber, cacao, sugarcane,
essential oils, and abaca.
Coconut The coconut remains the top export product of the Philippines. It
occupies 3.1M hectares with 288M bearing palms distributed in Luzon, Visayas
and Mindanao. Coconut oil is the major coconut product exported with 91.9%
share, followed by desiccated coconut 5%, oleochemicals 2.4%, copra meal
0.9% and copra 0.6%.
Rubber Rubber is a perennial industrial tree crop that grows suitably in
Philippine soils and climatic condition, especially in Mindanao. It serves as
ready cash in the rural areas and a stable dollar earner in the country. Seventy
percent (70%) of rubber produced in the Philippines is used in the tire industry,
while 30% is used to non-tire such as, gloves, medical wares, shoes, balls and
Cacao Grown primarily for its beans, that are processed into cocoa powder, cake
and butter. These are used mainly in the manufacture of chocolate, soaps and
cosmetics. Area of production is 15, 150 hectares with an average of 7,844
tons of beans produced. Domestic grinders require 30,000 tons of dried
fermented cacao beans.
Sugarcane Is a source of sugar when milled and is a wholesome natural food
composed of sucrose, primarily used as a condiment. Area planted is about
300,000 hectares and produce about 22,165,320 metric ton per year. It is
among the country’s principal agricultural exports. Sugar products for export
include molasses and muscovado.
Abaca Identified as the flagship commodity of the Eastern Visayas Region, and
a viable source of export earnings of the country. Average production is
70,400 metric tons of fiber from 116,850 hectares of production area. The
demand for raw abaca fiber in the international market is continuously
Essential Oil The Philippines is an abode of wide array of essential oil bearing
plants, due to its favorable climate and soil. Among the plants prioritized for
essential oil production are citronella, ilang-ilang, Japanese mint, patchouli, and
Medicinal Plants Program
There are approximately 15,000 specie of plant in the country. A number
of this species are medicinal plants and herbs with distinct medicinal value
known for their healing properties. These plants are good sources of
pharmacological ingredients capable of curing man’s ailment. Some of the
ingredients are volatile oils, resin, alkaloid, glycoside and alcohol.
Surveys has revealed that a large number of people in the Philippines are
aware of the potentials medicinal values of around 7000 plant species. The
Department of Science and Technology have conducted have found out that 80
species have been proven to be safe and effective (UP 2001)
Apparently, traditional medicine is deeply imbedded in the national psyche. The
need for the promotion and use of herbal medicine has been underscore and its
potential is seen to alleviate the burden in the remote areas of the country.
Republic Act No.8423 known in the Philippines as Traditional and Alternative
Medicine Act of 1997 established the Philippine Institute for Traditional and
Alternative Health Care (PITACHC).
PITAHC’s vision is for healthy and productive Filipino using traditional
and alternative health care services, product and technologies. At present the
government is directly involved in four (4) herbal processing plants. These are in
Tuguegarao, Tacloban Cotabato and Davao and all four are producing medicinal
plants like lagundi, sambong and tsa-ang gubat in tablet form because this is the
most preferred presentation by urban consumers (UP 2001).
The Philippine Department of Health endorses ten (10) herbal medicines,
Niyug-Nyogan Quisqualis indica L
Tsang Gubat Ehretia microphylla Lam.
Ulasimang Bato Peperomia pellucida
Acapulco Cassia alata L.
Lagundi Vitex negundo L.
Yerba Buena Mentha x cordifolia Opis ex Fresen
Sambong Blumea balsammifera(L) DC.
Ampalaya Momordica charantia
Bawang Allium sativum L
Bayabas Psidium guajava L.
Current Development in Horticultural Crop Production
Even plastic mulching is not widely used in the Philippines; it is not new
to agriculrture industry. Melon and strawberry growers in Luzon are the most
observed to be using the technology including plastic cover above the plants to
protect it from rain as such off-season harvest is achieved. One limitation of
such technologies is the material cost involved and the proper disposal of the use
plastics. Tunnels with net covers or protected cultivation are another
technologies in vegetable production, However, there are private firms
individuals and cooperatives that are engaged in green house production of cut
flowers and vegetables using computerized greenhouses. The greenhouses are
fully enclosed with very fine nets that would prevent the entry of insects, thus
the plant don’t have to be spray with insecticide. The crops were watered and
fertilized through drip irrigation (fertigation) this is totally computerized,
including the control of temperature and humidity.
Plants are grown in soils medium consist of coco peat and cinders. Other use
grow bags with growing medium that is fortified with some plant nutrient.
Proliferation of greenhouse in the country is a welcome development because
this is one way of ensuring the supply of quality farm produce needed by the
Tissue culture researches were being conducted geared to develop rapid
propagation technique. Which will provide the growers good quality planting
materials for horticultural crop production
Seed System/Seed Production/Securing seeds for growing
Around 70% of the total seeds utilized in the Philippines are hybrids,
many of this varieties are foreign and imported seeds. The Philippine
government supports seed technology development as a strategy for raising
productivity. However its seed production activities are confine to open
pollinated varieties, which are, intended for free distribution to farmers.
Partnerships exist between some companies and government Research Institutes
and other State College and Universities and Department of Agriculture
Research and Developments Centers. The government supply only a small
portion of the country’s seed requirement and the bulk are provided by
importation and breeding of private sectors.
Government institutions and the Institute of Plant Breeding, University
of the Philippines at Los Banos Laguna plays a major role in the genetic
improvement and varietal development, but with meager resources, the priority
is on exports crops especially vegetables. With the creation of National Plant
Genetic Resources Network, Collection, conservation, regeneration, evakuation
and maintenance of indigenous plant species with genetic resistance to pest and
diseases, biodiversity and environment impact are continuously undertaken.
Major Pest and Control Strategies
The Department of Agriculture is the lead implementing agency of
Kasaganaan ng Sakahan at Kalikasan (KASAKALIKASAN) the National
Integrated Pest Management Program. KASAKALIKASAN goal is to make
IPM the standard approach to crop husbandry and pest management of major
vegetable growing area in the Philippines. IPM builds on biological control as its
foundation by conserving the species of biological agents naturally occurring in
the area. The practice of IPM improves the environment of intensified food
production and makes agriculture more sustainable. It enhances the impact of
pest resistance varieties by slowing down the evolution of pest populations able
to damage those varieties.
The principles of IPM were as follows
Grow a healthy crop thought the use of resistant varieties, better seed
selection process, efficient nutrient, and water and weed management.
Conserved beneficial predators and parasites
Observed field regularly to determined management actions necessary
to produce a profitable crops
Farmers become IPM experts in their on fields
On going researches on design and development of potato lifter and planter and
its fabrication for field-testing were being undertaken. Establishment of modified
greenhouse for year-round supply of horticultural crops. And other farm machinery like
thresher and harvester for rice, soybean and other seed legumes were developed and the
technology were disseminated to farmers,
Improve Post-harvest Facilities and Practices
Cold storage, refrigerated vans, proper handling and labeling of the
product will be established, adopted to maintain high quality of perishable
product from the farm to the end users. Collection houses will be constructed in
strategic areas to centralize the quality control,
Development of post harvest technology on prolonging storage life and
increasing the quality of fresh produce with high export potentials.
Research and Development
DA attached agencies will prioritize project and programs, which could give
more impact to the needs in production technology of horticultural crops
(cultural management, plant breeding, post-harvest technology)
A market linkage between the farmers and institutional markets will be
facilitated. Target market were institutional buyers.
Promote the establishment of farmers co-operative groups at provincial to seek
financial support at lowest interest rates
Government will invest on the on (cost sharing) infrastructure in promoting the
new technology of horticultural crop production
Improve production technology
Modern agricultural technology in greenhouse management, hydroponics, and
tissue culture will be developed and adopted to improve the production of high
value horticultural crops.
Use of rootstock grafted with disease free planting material to increase
Longevity of fruit trees.
Minimized the use of pesticides to avoid detrimental effect to growers,
consumers and environment as well.