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Clay is characterized as sticky, very fine and cracks when dry. Sand on the other hand is very near the characteristic of lahar; it easily dries-up, coarse and requires a lot of water (Table 11). Table 11. Classification of soil and indicators used by farmer respondents =============================================================== Soil classification Indicators Sandy loam Lahar soil Clay Sandy good quality, plants grow greener (mabilis bumerde ang halaman) porous, grasses grow faster easy to manage “naruk-a no namaga” porous when dry Coarse and fine sand “natangken” hard, compact weeds easily grow high seepage Mapino, it cracks when dry “napigket no nabasa” sticky when wet “Nalaka nga agmaga” easily dries-up “Panaraten”, coarse “Nakirsang”, coarse “Mabalos” coarse “Matakaw sa tubig” requires a lot of water “Just like lahar” =============================================================== SP varieties that grow best in lahar-covered areas Super bureau was the variety widely grown in all the areas involved in this study. One hundred six (106 or 69%) farmers preferred this variety because they had observed this to be high yielding, early maturing with big tubers, has big demand in the market, and there are ready planting materials. There were alternative varieties planted by few farmers from both Tarlac and Zambales. One of these is Taiwan variety which was known to some as 45 days or Express. This variety was preferred by 32 or 21% of the farmers because of longer shelflife, clean and fair skin, high price and high demand in the market, and soil adaptability. Ubi is grown by 11 or 7% of the farmers in all the categories. They reason out that his variety was adaptable to the soil, high price and had high demand in the market. The Bureau and Binicol were also planted by few farmers (13 or 8%) because they like very much the taste, and commanded higher price and higher demand in the market. It was due to lack of planting materials that planting this variety could not be
sustained, Hence, they planted some cuttings in addition to other suitable varieties mostly for house consumption only. Other thriving varieties were Kurdacol, Los Baños and Bentong. Traditions and superstitious beliefs relating to SP production Only one-fourth (39 0r 25%) revealed some superstitious beliefs and traditions they knew about the various stages of sweetpotato production. For instance, when cutting or preparing planting materials, it is better if the vine is long so that when it is planted, there will be more tubers. And once the vines are cut, planting should be done immediately. In this case, planting should start preferably during full moon so that the tubers will be round and big. Some said it would be best to plant during the waning of the moon and low tide so the development of more tubers will not be disturbed. Planting in the afternoon is a preferred practice. In like manner, weeding, cultivation, fertilizer application and harvesting are believed to be done during the waning of the moon. These superstitious beliefs and traditions were also practiced in crops planted before and after sweetpotato. Most of the farmers learned about these traditions from their parents and grandparents and the rests from co-farmers, from observations and experience. Indigeneous tools, practices, methods, machines or equipment used in various stages of SP production Table 12 presents the tools, practices, methods, machines or equipment used in land preparation, planting, weeding, fertilization, harvesting, drying, storing and processing of sweetpotato. Land preparation The moldboard plow and harrow (wooden or spike tooth harrow) were the common tools used in this activity. For small scale (backyard) gardening, the tools used were either stick or hoe (“asarol”). In the cultivation of bigger areas, either the hand tractor or a 4-wheel tractor is needed. Most of the farmers (42 or75%) under category 4, where the lahar deposit were as deep as 2.1 meters or more, the 4-wheel tractor was used. As to the practices, the most common was three times harrowing. This was common among farmers belonging to categories 1 and 2 where lahar deposits ranged from less than a meter to as deep as 1.5 meters. Deep plowing by means of stable was used in farms devastated with very thick lahar.