In an earlier post in this blog, we highlighted the production of vegetable shoots (Talbos) as a project for poor coconut farmers. Actually, however, this idea is not only for the poor coconut farmers. Enterprising agripreneurs, especially near Metro Manila can undertake it to produce big volumes of good quality Talbos. This is one project that does not require expensive greenhouses and high-tech equipment.
SCENARIO NO.1 – This is for Millennials whom the government are encouraging to go into agriculture. They might not have enough personal savings to start their project. But there is an excellent opportunity here. The Department of Agriculture is setting aside P1-billion for lending to young agripreneurs through the Agricultural Credit Policy Council. This could be a no-interest loan program, or if there is, interest would be really very low.
At least five Millennials who are committed to the idea could form a corporation primarily for Talbos production. They can be mentored by the Go Negosyo project which has been helping a lot of aspiring business entrepreneurs. That way they can set up a production system, marketing strategies, research and development thrusts. The project has to be science-based . The company could conduct its own trials of the various varieties of camote to find out which the market prefers.
While camote would be the flagship Talbos, they should diversify because there are many other varieties that are saleable in the market. Quality Talbos should be produced and packaged attractively for both supermarkets and the wet market, weekend market and others.
SCENARIO NO.2. – There are situations where Talbos production can be highly advantageous for a number of good reasons. We have in mind the Aztec Spirulina Farm being developed by the Puente family on a three-hectare property in Tanay. Only about one hectare will be utilized for Spirulina production. The rest could be used for planting various vegetables. But if the owners so desire, one hectare could be devoted to Talbos production.
Why is it advantageous to produce Talbos commercially at the Aztec Spirulina Farm? No.1 – It is very accessible by car and is very near the Manila market. No.2 -The place is fully fenced so there is no security problem. No.3 – Electricity is available which is useful in irrigating the plants.
No.4 – This is very important. There is available water that is rich in nutrients to nourish the plants without need of chemical fertilizers and pesticides. How come? Well, the blue Spirulina algae are cultured in concrete tanks. Every month the water is changed and the sediments on the floor are removed together with the water. The used water is deposited in a concrete pond at the lowest point of the property. With this used water, as per the experience of the Puente family, they have grown garden plants as well as sweet corn and other vegetables with nothing but the used water and sediments from the growing pond in their farm in Cainta, Rizal
Now, let’s take a final look at the list of varieties you can grow for Talbos: Camote, alugbati, saluyot, siling labuyo, kalabasa, sayote, ampalaya, malunggay, talinum and kangkong.