BY PATRICIA BIANCA S. TACULAO
Photos courtesy of Glindo Pilo Mira
Across the globe, peppers are well-loved because of the heat they pack. This heat also comes in different intensities that allow people to enjoy a certain level of spice that brings a depth of flavor to meals.
With the rising demand for peppers among consumers, farmers are also finding the crop to be a good source of income. Glindo Pilo Mira, a fourth-generation farmer who used to work as a finance manager, also sees how profitable growing peppers is.
Mira first started growing sweet potatoes and corn on his farm in Tomas Oppus, Southern Leyte. He later planted sweet peppers and saw an increase in both yield and profit. Around one hectare of the farm, out of 2.4 hectares, is dedicated to growing sweet peppers.
According to Mira, they harvest an average of 6,000 kilos of sweet pepper per farm cycle and sell the peppers to wholesalers, retailers, and direct buyers for P180 to P200 per kilo.
He shares that the secret to achieving success in growing sweet peppers is tender, loving care. There are also six ways that farmers could try to help sweet peppers grow healthy.
The first is to practice mulching. Mira said that black plastic mulch absorbs sunlight, keeps the soil moist, and prevents weeds.
“Sweet peppers need deep watering. So we usually water them early in the morning until 9 AM and in the afternoon, which starts at 3 PM. We always monitor the watering carefully to keep it balanced,” Mira said.
Next, the fourth-generation farm advises providing sunlight to sweet pepper plants because they need the full sun to grow and ripen properly.
Mira practices natural farming principles because he has a goal of safe and healthy produce for his community. That’s why he only uses organic fertilizer on his sweet peppers. He added that using organic matter can also boost plant growth and keep the soil healthy.
Aside from the basic requirements of sunlight and water, staking can also help sweet peppers grow. Staking keeps sweet peppers off the ground and away from pests. It also prevents sunscald, which occurs if the pepper is exposed to extreme sunlight.
Lastly, Mira said to check the plants regularly for pests.
“Aphids and flea beetles are two garden pests that love sweet peppers. We use natural pesticides to keep pest invasions under control,” he said.
Through proper care and attention, Mira secures the growth of his sweet peppers plants and his farm’s production, bringing him one step closer to his goal of providing fresh, healthy, and naturally-grown produce to consumers.