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The World Health Organization (WHO) reported that up to 2.7 million lives could be saved annually with sufficient fruit and vegetable consumption. Low intake of fruits and vegetables is among the top 10 selected risk factors that can cause gastrointestinal cancer, heart disease and stroke. Thus, WHO recommends 400 grams per day or 146 kg per year of vegetables and fruits to help prevent various diseases. In the Philippine setting, according to the Food and Nutrition Research Institute (FNRI), in 2003, one person consume 110 grams of vegetables, 19 grams of roots and tubers and 10 grams of beans, nuts and seeds or a total of 51 kg per year.
In 2006, the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) reported that the vegetable industry in the Philippines contributes >30% to total agricultural production and a major component of Gross Domestic Product (GDP). Vegetable production is based on highland and lowland cropping in the wet and dry season.
Under the High Value Crops Development Program (HVCDP) of the Department of Agriculture, vegetables are categorized into four (4) main types – highland, lowland, spices and indigenous. HVCDP has identified twenty (20) different kinds of vegetables that comprises the four (4) type and these are the following: 1) ampalaya, 2) asparagus, 3) broccoli, 4) cabbage, 5) carrots, 6) cauliflower, 7) eggplant, 8) garlic, 9) ginger, 10) gourd, 11) habitchuelas, 12) lettuce, 13) okra, 14) onion, 15) Chinese pechay, 16) native pechay, 17) squash, 18) stringbeans, 19) tomato, and 20) white potato.
PRODUCTION AREA AND YIELD
Based on the data generated by the Bureau of Agricultural Statistics (BAS), for the past five (5) years, the total vegetable production* from 2005 to 2011 increased by 6.30% (from 2,293,753MT to 2,438,281MT) while the total area increased by 2.95% (from 287,795HA to 296,277HA). The yield was also increased from 7.97MT/HA to 8.23 MT/HA (3.26%).
In terms of the 20 priority vegetables, production was increased by 10% (from 1,427,741MT to 1,571,373MT)* and a 3.53% increase in the area (from 143,164HA to 148,211HA). The yield also increased from 9.97MT/HA to 10.60MT/HA (6.31%).