Friday, October 7Farming is Life!
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Farming Calamansi for Profit

People who are farming Calamansi enjoy higher income than those who are planting sugarcane, corn, and even rice and in this article, I am going to explain why.

The Calamansi Plant

Calamansi (Citrus × microcarpa), also known as calamondin, Philippine lime, or Philippine lemon, is an economically important citrus hybrid predominantly cultivated in the Philippines. It is native to the Philippines, Borneo, Sumatra, and Sulawesi in Indonesia in Southeast Asia, as well as southern China and Taiwan in East Asia. Calamansi is ubiquitous in traditional Filipino cuisine. It is naturally very sour and is used in various condiments, beverages, dishes, marinades, and preserves. Calamansi is also used as an ingredient in Malaysian and Indonesian cuisines.

Calamansi is a hybrid between kumquat (formerly considered as belonging to a separate genus Fortunella) and another species of Citrus (in this case probably the mandarin orange).

Most people on the island of Luzon cannot eat their meals without the famous sawsawan made of soy sauce (toyo), calamansi, and siling labuyo.  It is also called suha or suwa in Hiligaynon and is also a very important eating and cooking ingredient. Because of Bulalo, Lomi, and Goto in Batangas, which seem impossible to eat without calamansi, it became one of the most important crops in the country.

farming calamansi
Calamansi (Citrus × microcarpa)

Benefits of Consuming Calamansi

Calamansi juice has many benefits according to several studies. This includes but is not limited to: lowering cholesterol, strengthening immunity, aiding in weight loss, reducing body odor, preventing diabetes, boosting energy, and antioxidants. Drinking pure calamansi juice can give you energy.

Farming Calamansi in the Philippines

Calamansi is considered one of the major crops in the Philippines and is cultivated all over the country.

Although calamansi can be grown from seeds, seedlings grown from seeds are not ideal plant to grow because they take longer (5 to 6 years) to bear fruit and becomes tall which is not conducive to commercial calamansi farming.

Seeds are egerminated to be used as rootstock for budding and grafting – the two preferred choices. Air-layering or marcotting can also be done but is rarely applied due to its disadvantages like poor rooting system.

If you are planning to enter into farming calamansi business, the best way to start is to buy seedlings from respected nurseries. Calamansi seedlings costs between P50 to P100 depending on which province are you located.

A hectare of land can accommodate around 625 calamansi trees if planted at an average distance of 4 meters each.

Land Preparation

Calamansi can be planted on any type of soil and any terrain, be it plain or hilly. If planted on plain land, the land must be plowed in order to loosen the soil.  Dig a hole of at least 30cm in diameter and 40cm deep. Pour organic materials like compost into the hole and leave only 50cm on top. Plant the seedling into the hole and leave 10cm deep open. A hole like this is enough to allow the plant to develop its roots and also hold water.  The land must be free of weeds during the planting days and must be maintained clean by weeding or grass cutting.

If planted on hilly terrain, the same hole size must be done and the land must be cleaned thoroughly. Calamansi grows healthy on hilly lands especially those near the river with sandy loom soil.

Caring and Fertilization of Calamansi Plants

Aside from regular weeding and grasscutting, urea fertilizer must be applied to plants that grow slower, especially those that develop light-colored leaves. Healthy plants must have dark green leaves. 50 grams of urea must be applied to all plants after six weeks of planting. This is to help the plants develop healthy roots and expedite their growth.

Calamansi is prone to a lot of diseases so it required a regular spraying program.

Some pests include green bugs, aphids, scale insects, citrus psyllids, leaf miners, whiteflies, mealybugs, and spider mites. As for the diseases, citrus plants are often affected by root rot, pink disease, powdery mildew, citrus scab, and citrus canker. Spraying Malathion can solve this issue. If there are plants that turn yellow, the plant must be eradicated as it can carry disease and can affect other plants. It must be uprooted and replaced after sanitizing the hole using pesticides like Furadan (Carbofuran), and even detergent with Zonrox.

Fruiting

Budded and grafted calamansi will start to bear fruit as early as 2 years but will have stable fruiting at around 5 years where each plant can produce an average of 15 kilograms per year (9.3 tons). At 7 years, each plant can produce an average of  25 kilograms per year (15.6 tons). A properly-managed calamansi farm should produce an average of 20 tons a year. This can be achieved by 8+ years old plant.

Harvesting

Calamansi bears fruit throughout the year but its peak season is from August to October. Calamansi fruits are usually harvested after 4 months after flowering but most farmers don’t follow this schedule as they can tell based on the appearance when the fruits are ready to harvest. Another thing to consider is the price.  A farmer may harvest early if the price is high, and could also delay if the price is low. Calamansi is harvested green as ripe fruits are not salable.

Capital, Yield, and Profitability

If you have one hectare of calamansi plantation, the 650 seedlings could cost you P32,500 (P50 each). You must have extra seedlings for the replacement of dead plants. Assuming you own the land, preparation could cost P6,000 and another P12,500 for planting (P20 per hole dug). Including pesticides and maintenance, the total cost until harvest could be around P70,000.

In the first year of fruiting and harvest (3 years after planting), each plant can produce an average of 3kg per year or a total of P1,875 kgs. The farmgate price of calamansi always ranges between P40 to P70/kg. Given an average price of P50/kg throughout the year, you could have a gross income of  P93,700. The following years will be more productive and you should be starting to count your profit.

Common Questions Related to Calamansi Farming

How long does it take for calamansi to bear fruit?

As mentioned earlier, a calamansi tree takes up to three to five years to mature. The fruits start appearing in the first two to three years. At this stage, they are of green color like that of a lime. Depending upon your liking, you can harvest them young or wait till they are fully ripe and get a nice yellow-orange

Is it hard to grow calamansi?

Calamansi tree is not hard to grow but it requires full sun for healthy growth, meaning it needs to be exposed to sunlight for 6-10 hours a day. Use soil that drains well for calamansi, as this plant doesn’t like having damp roots. If you can’t expose your calamansi plant to full sun, you can use grow lights indoors.

Can calamansi grow in pots?

Yes, calamansi can grow in pots. When grown in a pot, the tree does not want to be soaked too much, or else its roots may rot. Use a combination of sand and loamy soil, with a lot of organic matter or compost. The pot should have several holes on different sides, to allow the excess water to drain.

What is the best fertilizer for calamansi?

Fertilize your calamansi using nitrogen-rich citrus fertilizer three times during the growing season. Hand-spread the fertilizer out to, and slightly beyond, the drip line before and after the tree flowers, as well as after harvesting.

Is calamansi self-pollinating?

The flowers are self-fertile and require no cross-pollination. A grafted or budded tree will produce a crop of fruit at the age of two years and will continue to bear nearly year-round.

Can I grow calamansi from cuttings?

Calamansi can grow from cutting by air-layering or marcotting. Cutting the branch and planting it directly will not grow.

Why are my calamansi leaves turning yellow?

Calamansi plant leaves turn yellow when the plant is overwatered. Calamondin plant leaves also turn yellow when the plant lacks sufficient nitrogen. Calamondin leaves also turn yellow when the plant is experiencing drought.

Why are my calamansi leaves falling off?

This can be caused by any number of reasons, but the most common is a great fluctuation in temperature, causing the leaves falling off a citrus tree to continue to drop until the tree can handle the temperature once more. Another reason is pests under the ground or other diseases.

Are calamansi leaves edible?

Yes, it is very common for Asian people to add calamansi leaves to their soup because it’s already becoming one of the important ingredients in Asian cuisine.

Is calamansi annual or perennial?

Calamansi is a perennial crop and bears fruit all year round.

How do you prune a calamansi tree?

Prune the calamondin for size and shape control if necessary. Act after the harvest. Trim each of the highest branches at a lateral branch at least one-third the diameter of the cut branch. Limit the tree’s height to make it easy to harvest fruit but never take out more than 25 percent of the tree’s canopy.

Is calamansi farming profitable?

If you followed the article above, you should discover that farming calamansi is highly-profitable and one of the best long-term investments in farming.

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