Increasing Sweet Potato (Ipomoea batatas) Root Crop Yield Based Scientific Participatory Research
Keywords:new variety, percent of yield loss, staggered planting, sweet potato
This study aims to improve sweet potato production in the Philippines by identifying the challenges facing sweet potato farmers and providing effective interventions to address these issues. Participatory Action Research (PAR) was used to foster community participation and action and to establish a baseline profile of farmers, assess participation rates, evaluate interventions using high-yield varieties and proper training on the use of the stem-cutting system and staggered planting, and identify challenges after the intervention. The mean age of the participants was 52.44 years old, indicating that they belong to the marginalized adult group, and their average monthly income from sweet potato production was relatively low. In addition to sweet potato farming, the key informants are also engaged in other crop production, such as rice (100%), banana (89%), cassava (67%), corn (67%), taro (67%) and potato (22%). Regarding fertilizer use in sweet potato farming, key informants use urea and complete 14-14-14 fertilizers. Using NSIC Sp-36 and UPL Sp-17 varieties combined with staggered planting and stem-cutting techniques effectively increases sweet potato yield per hectare. The total yield from the scientific interventions was 8,000 kilograms or 8 tons, twice the target yield of 4,000 kilograms or 4 tons. While the adaptation of the farming strategy effectively increased to 160% actual yield, there is a low market demand due to the lack of production takers, which constrained the success of this intervention. Moreover, some farmers could not attend the activity, which is essential to note. These interventions can potentially improve the productivity of sweet potato farming and increase food security and income for small-scale farmers. However, there is a need to intensify the marketing strategy.
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