Growers on Guam have a new production guide for eggplants, peppers, and tomatoes.
These three Solanaceous crops are among the favorite vegetables of the family gardener
and commercial grower. These crops are easy to grow, have a worldwide appeal in
cooking, and many varieties produce seeds suitable for replanting. This guide sorts
through the voluminous amount of information on these crops and presents that which is
applicable to the tropics. The Guide is comprehensive in nature. It contains 188 pages,
47 tables, 54 figures, 42 color plates, and 16 recipes with calorie information.
The goal of this grant is to familiarize those interested in agriculture with all the various
aspects of producing Solanaceous crops in the tropics. There are three objectives: (1) the
establishment of a working group of individuals from the private and public sector that
is interested in educating the public about Solanaceous crops; (2) the publication of a
guide on Solanaceous crops; (3) the dissemination of information through the internet,
classroom instruction, and newspapers.
The purpose of this grant is to strengthen the sustainability of Solanaceous crop
production on Guam and the Western Pacific region through educational outreach to
growers, and personnel in the Cooperative Extension Service, Natural Resources
Conservation Service and other government agencies. Funds were used primarily to
produce a comprehensive guide on the three main Solanaceous crops (eggplant, pepper,
and tomato) commonly grown in the Western Pacific region.
The rational for this grant is based on the fact that the agriculture foundation of various
island economies must have the latest and most up-to-date information possible in order
to remain competitive. This information needs to be available in a publication so that
reliance on an electronic device is not necessary. The guide is designed to provide
information at various levels of understanding. For the client that may have difficulty in
reading textual material there are pictures of pests, weeds, and diseases. For the
college educated and field agent there are in depth discussions of major topics.
Opportunities for long term profitable sustainable farming of these crops exists on many
islands because these crops are perishable, they do not ship well from export sources, and
there is an ever increasing demand for high quality fresh produce by restaurants and
hotels associated with tourism.
The guide was produced as a result of collaborative efforts of nine Guam Cooperative
Extension personnel, four Agriculture Experiment Station faculty at the University of
Guam and three individuals from other institutions. The guide incorporated information
from a number of sources such as the worldwide net, books, compendiums, guides, fact
sheets, and regional research reports and surveys. The guide is user-friendly and provides
information at various levels of interest.
Ten individuals have expressed interest in working together to promote the production of
Solanaceous crops. The group expressed interest in selecting hot peppers as the first crop
of concentration. A local manufacture of hot pepper paste is willing to provide seeds
and a fair market price to any local farmer willing to produce hot peppers. Information
from the guide will be used to produce articles for the garden section of the local
newspaper. Information from the guide will be incorporated into crop profiles which will
be made available on the American Pacific Pest Management Information Network.
The Eggplant, Pepper, and Tomato Production Guide for Guam is 188 pages in length
and contains 17 chapters and 5 appendices. The guide is divided into 4 major sections:
Getting Started, The Economics of Farming, Plant Problems and Solutions, and
Appendices. Two thousand copies of the guide were printed. They will be distributed
free to all state IPM coordinators and college libraries in the Pacific region. It will be
made available for sale at various hardware stores and bookstores on Guam and at the
University of Guam’s bookstore and cooperative extension office.
The level of knowledge of extension agents, farmers, students, and homeowners will increase as a result of this publication. Producers, instructors of agriculture production classes, applicants of the Guam Agricultural Development Fund, and clients in Guam’s Pesticide Applicator course will use the guide. The market value of agricultural products sold on Guam is approximately 5 million dollars. Even it this guide only increases production by 2% this would translate into a gain of hundred thousand dollars. There are tables in the guide listing all the known insects and plant diseases in several of the pacific islands, these will to helpful for any diagnostician that works on these three crops.
Educational & Outreach Activities
A poster highlighting the production guide was presented in August at the 2002 annual
meeting of the American Phytopathological Society. In September a workshop was held
to officially present the guide to government agencies and growers. At that time a grower
consortium was formed to promote production of eggplants, peppers, and tomatoes on
Guam. In October, guides were distributed to the Steering Committee of the American
Pacific Pest Management Information Network. Two thousand copies of the guide were
printed. They will be distributed free to all state IPM coordinators and college libraries in
the Pacific region. It will be made available for sale at various hardware stores and
bookstores on Guam and at the University of Guam’s bookstore and cooperative
extension office. Information from the guide will be used to write newspaper articles for
the garden section of the Pacific Daily News. The guide will be required reading material
for students in AG 240 Crop Protection and farmers applying for loans from the Guam
Agricultural Development Fund.
Since the publishing costs of the Solanaceous guide is covered by a SARE grant, the Pacific region now has a new agricultural educational source at a very low price. Many copies will be distributed free to agencies and institution of higher education. Additional copies will be made available to the public at a cost no greater than 50% above printing costs ($3.50). Similar publications when available run 10 to 15 dollars.
In the 1998 Agriculture Census 201 farms were listed on Guam. There are probably another 400 farms under one acre in size. Twenty percent of the farmers on large farms have directly participated in this project through participation in interviews or the workshop. By making the guide widely available at hardware and bookstores on island and by keeping the price down, it is hoped at the majority of the farmers will eventually have a copy of the guide. From the farm survey it was discovered that there is inadequate testing of soil, a poor understanding of crop fertilizer requirements, and a lack of knowledge about the influence of weather on disease development.
Areas needing additional study
The value of a production guide is not always apparent especially to the successful growers. However, a higher level of appreciation and usefulness for a guide can be achieved if the guide becomes a interal part of various farmer training courses or workshops