A.C. Rola; J.P.A. De Mesa; I.B. Bagares
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University of the Philippines- Los Banos
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This paper chronicles the trends in the indicators of the agricultural economy in the upland community of Lantapan, Bukidnon, which was the site of a long term study investigating agricultural sustainability. Collection of the panel data started in 1994; the latest data set collected refers to 2006. From 1994 to 2002, the focus of the surveys was to understand the environmental effect of economic policies. The 2006 survey aimed at further monitoring these impacts especially from a climate vulnerability perspective. The crop year 2006 was characterized as a La Nina period in the Philippines.
From a total of 306 plots and 190 households in 1994, the 2006 plots numbered 107 and the corresponding households numbered 80. The decrease in the number of respondents was due to demographic factors such as deaths and migration. The farmers who went out of farming in previous years were revisited and thus, we were able to capture the reversal of households going back to farming after 2002.
Our results showed that agricultural intensification is still going on; more vegetables production in the upper watershed was observed; bananas and coffee were popular crops. Yields of crops were also seen to be rising from the year 2000 level. Coffee price which was declining during the earlier period was seen to be on an upward trend in 2006. In terms of gross and net incomes, it was seen that white corn production is more profitable in 2006 than yellow corn production. White corn remains to be the staple crop in the area and local demand is increasing because most farmers cultivate commercial crops. This has influenced the higher price of white corn relative to yellow corn in the later period.
The share of farm income to total income is still on the decline, except for vegetable producing households where the share of farm income was about 60% of the total household incomes. Based on trends observed during 2002 to 2006, it can be seen that upland agriculture was not affected by the La Nina. The amount of rains in this upland area even resulted to increased yields of traditional crops such as corn.