By Julio P. Yap Jr.
Did you know that there is a chilli pepper variety that grows very well in highland or hilly areas? The variety is the Panigang Best F1 hybrid pepper featured during a recent visit to the farm of Mario Lugada in Barangay Novaliches, Liliw town in Laguna.
Noticeably, the plants of Lugada are much taller than those planted in the lowlands, but the productivity of the variety remained the same. Roughly defined, “highlands” are synonymous with mountains, while “lowlands” are those areas beyond and beneath the mountains that are influenced by downslope physical processes.
Usually, the said chilli pepper variety, which is distributed in the country by Allied Botanical Corporation (ABC), grows to about two to three feet tall in the lowlands, but the plants of Lugada became relatively higher due to the Panigang Best F1 hybrid pepper’s adaptability to higher grounds. The plant grows to its targeted height to get an ample supply of sunlight for its growth.
The variety is slightly pungent, and its glossy immature fruits are ideal for cooking “sinigang.” The Panigang Best F1 hybrid pepper has very good shipping quality and is very prolific.
These plants need proper nourishment to grow well and become prolific. This is why Lugada uses Agrocote controlled release fertilizer.
According to him, he came to know about the product through ABC marketing specialist Alan Cledera. Aside from providing proper nourishment, Lugada has to protect his plants against fungi, which grow in a wide range of habitats like the extreme environments in the highlands. He uses Nordox micronized fungicide to protect his plants.
To further protect his crops against stress due to the extremities in the highlands, he applies Peters STEM or soluble trace element mix at least weekly. These products are also distributed in the country by ABC.
After properly maintaining his crop, Lugada can harvest about 300 to 400 kilos a month from his half-hectare plantation. He says that he has been regularly using Peters STEM for the past four years, and learned to trust the product to protect and maintain the health of his plants.
Lugada also shared some of the benefits of Peters STEM like making the leaves of his plants darker even with their higher heights, and giving him a higher yield. These translate into a higher income and better quality harvests.
This appeared in Agriculture Monthly’s January 2018 issue.