Drought resistant crop discovered to thrive in Benguet
La Trinidad, Benguet (9 April) — Buckwheat, a drought resistant crop, is discovered to thrive in the province when cultivated during the duration of the El Nino phenomenon.
Provincial Agriculturist Lolita Bentres said the buckwheat or the so called “soba” or Japanese wheat was introduced by some Japanese nationals in the province last year.
She said the Japanese are fond of growing the buckwheat as they are concerned on its health attribution which accordingly sweeps the cholesterol in the body. They process the wheat into noodles.
Bentres said they have recently harvested the first crop produce for the year in Buguias, Tuba, and Itogon which took only 59 days to mature and ripe for harvest just enough to consume the soil moisture. Also about to be harvested are those grown in Kapangan and Tublay.
But if it will take more than three months to grow it would no longer be viable because by that time soil moisture would then be depleted, she added.
Unlike in Japan, Bentres said it takes around 90 days to grow the variety.
Bentres claimed this may yet be one of the alternative crops with a short cropping span to grow during the period of El Nino phenomenon as the plant depends on soil moisture.
They have tried to cultivate the crop during the rainy season but the fragile stems break if struck by rain.
However, at this point, Bentres said, they are still into propagating the seeds for mass production and distribution. They will not yet be processing those harvested into flour or noodles until such time that there would be more than enough to cultivate.
The planting of buckwheat also counters bacterial wilt, a soil borne disease according to Bentres as it will break the life cycle of the disease in the soil prior to planting another crop.
Bentres said it is advisable to plant the buckwheat immediately after harvesting the preceding crop just after the La Nina phenomenon. This is aside from the regular crops that thrive during the dry season such as potatoes and carrots. (PIA-Benguet)