Three small lots are planted with taro located in separate parcels of land: in the middle of the rice fields, along the irrigation canal and border of a rice field. The biggest area is around 2,000 sq. m. while the other two smaller lots are planted along the irrigation canal and border of a rice field.
Based on the interview, for the farmers, taro is like coconut, the tree of life. This is because, all parts of the taro plants can be sold for food. The leaves (dahon) and petioles (paklang) are harvested and cut into smaller pieces; the runners (takway) are harvested as well and bundled in per kg packs; the young shoots (talbos), unopened leaves, can also be harvested and sold at a lower price. The leaves, petioles, young shoots and runners are packed separately in 10 kg plastic bundles. Harvesting is done on a weekly basis. Farmers make sure that 2 opened leaves and 1 unopened leaf are left on the plant when harvesting leaves, petioles and runners.
In this particular farm, two varieties are planted: the 'Amerikano' and the 'Bako' variety. The farmer respondent said that they can get higher income from planting the 'Amerikano' variety. The 'Bako' variety is harvested more often for the corm. The trader (key informant) interviewed said that the taro produce are marketed in Libertad market in Pasay City and Divisoria market in Manila, two big markets in the Metro Manila area.
It was a very productive activity for the project team and in a short period we were able to learn a lot from the farmers and the trader. The risk from exposure from Covid-19, was there, but the team made sure all safety protocols were followed. The next target for interview will be the traders in the Metro Manila markets. Looking forward to this activity!
BSF4 Philippine Taro Team
Maria Lea H. Villavicencio