Raking Profits from Black Pepper Farming
By Henrylito Tacio
Black pepper (Piper nigrum linn.), known locally as paminta or pimiento is one of those neglected crops grown in the Philippines. It is used extensively by food manufacturers as a seasoning agent in the preparation of both exquisite and everyday dishes. As a spice, it makes food tste better. It is essential in local dishes like “kilawin,””lauya,” “mami,” “pnasit,” “adobo,” “mechado,” and many other preparations.
Unknown to many Filipino farmers, black pepper – being a tropical plant, – can be grown profitably in many areas of the country where the soil is well-drained and fertile. It grows better under partial shade than in an open field, a characteristic that makes the plant good for backyard farming. It can laso be grown between coffee and cacao trees. Most Black pepper farms are found in Batangas, Lagauna, Quezon, Negros Occidental, Zamboanga and Davao.
“There are four varieties of black pepper.” Says the Davao-based Mindanao Baptist Rural Life Center (MBLRC) foundation, referring to large-leafed, small-leafed, tall , and short. “ You can plant any of these varieties in your farm or backyard.”
According to the MBRLC, black pepper is a creeping plant. “The plant needs posts to climb on,” the center states. Commonly used support trees – which are planted ahead of time- include “ipil-ipil,” “madre de cacao,” and “dapdap.” The support s must be at least three to four meters high, 2.5 meters between rows.