By Julio P. Yap Jr.

With sheer determination to augment his income for his family and a knack for adapting available technologies, a small farmer in Muñoz, Nueva Ecija was able to increase his harvest by about 300 percent.

Bonito Salazar says that he was able to harvest at least 110 kilos of native
eggplant, locally known as “bulinggit” or “palo-palo,” from his 500-square-meter
backyard plantation, from his former average harvest of only 35 to 40 kilos. He
does this for two or sometimes three times per week.

Salazar says this is also true with his small corn plantation measuring about 1,000 square meters where he was able to harvest some 600 kilos from his usual harvest of just 200 kilos from the same farmland.

A view of the 500-square-meter eggplant plantation of Salazar.

It was learned that the plants where he harvests eggplant are about one-year old already but still produce abundantly. Salazar says this became possible after spraying his plants with Amino Plus Foliar Fertilizer or APFF.

During the first six months after planting the bulinggit eggplants, which he sourced from a nearby plantation that was already neglected, his plants begun to be prolific with the use of APFF. This popular eggplant variety is used by the Ilocanos as an ingredient for preparing pinakbet. It is best suited for both backyard cultivation and large-scale commercial production.

On the other hand, Salazar says that he was amazed to have harvested around 600 kilos of the sweet waxy corn variety after using the same input. With his abundant harvest of eggplant, Salazar says this helped him a lot to finance the schooling of his two children.

He narrated that during the first six months, he was already becoming hopeless due to the small amount of harvest from his eggplant plantation. This is mainly due to the aging plants where the leaves are already starting to wither and become yellowish. But after using APFF, his eggplants started to become vigorous and fruited abundantly.

Salazar says that he was initially hesitant to use the APFF when Manny Pablo of Global Green Organic Fertilizer, Inc., producer of APFF, introduced the product to him. But due to his determination to improve or revitalize his crop, Salazar said that he tried to use the APFF where he later found out the input’s capability to increase his production.

He says he was particularly surprised to be able to harvest 600 kilos from his corn plantation, narrating that before, he usually brings about 10 empty sacks when harvesting, but now, he needs more sacks to place the corn ears.

Salazar was particularly surprised to harvest 600 kilos of the sweet waxy corn variety from his corn plantation after using Amino Plus Foliar Fertilizer.

According to Pablo, the improvement can be attributed to the potency of APFF because it is made from selected fish which contain compounds that promote plant growth and better fruiting. This is due to the high L-Amino acid content of APFF which is easily absorbed by the plants.

It also contains effective microorganisms that provide long-term beneficial effects on the physical, chemical, and biological condition of the soil. Pablo explained that NPK alone cannot offer an all-in-one solution to plant nutrition and can become detrimental when supplied in excessive amounts. This is where amino acids come in, the building blocks of protein, which are needed by the plants like all other living organisms.

He says that the amino acids contained in APFF can provide the benefits that are not supplied by the NPK alone. NPK represents nitrogen (N), phosphorus (P), and potassium (K), which are used by the plants.

For fruiting vegetables like the eggplants of Salazar, APFF can be applied once a week or once every two weeks during the vegetative stage, and during the fruiting stage, APFF should be applied every after harvest.

Owing to the versatile nature of eggplant which is widely used by the Filipinos almost daily, it can be described as the “king of vegetables.” On the other hand, Salazar says that the corn he harvested from his small plantation became sweeter and better to eat as snack, or even for cooking.

APFF can increase the defense mechanism of plants, provide stress resistance, promote nutrient absorption, improve fruit formation, activate growth hormones, and improve protein synthesis. With determination and proper inputs, even ordinary farmers like Salazar can succeed to improve their crops, and of course, increase their incomes.

This appeared in Agriculture Monthly’s July 2018 issue.