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Most Profitable Crop

Who would have thought that chili can be such a moneymaker?

SPICY LOT Hot chili commands a high price and if the price goes down, it can be processed into products of much higher value; Jess Domingo’s hot chili flakes in oil; Jess Domingo

SPICY LOT Hot chili commands a high price and if the price goes down, it can be processed into products of much higher value; Jess Domingo’s hot chili flakes in oil; Jess Domingo

Many times our readers would ask us: Just what is the most profitable crop to grow?

Well, that’s not an easy question to answer because farmers face varying circumstances. Some are more knowledgeable than others. Some have more capital to fund their projects. Their target markets also vary, and so on.

But if you ask Jess Domingo, the most profitable crop is the hot chili for a number of good reasons. Last year, he planted the Red Hot variety on 700 square meters of land. This gave him a profit of P100 per square meter in a growing period of nine months. On a per hectare basis, that means a million pesos in profit. And that is the reason why this year, he has dedicated one hectare to the Red Hot variety from East-West Seed.

Jess Domingo is very meticulous in his computations. After all, he was a topnotch chief financial officer of multinational companies (Pepsi, San Miguel, and Nestlé) before he retired at 50 to pursue his two passions—culinary and organic farming. He owns Rancho Domingo in Alfonso Lista, Ifugao.

He has tried planting the so-called “pinakbet” vegetables like tomatoes, ampalaya, eggplant, okra, sitao, and others. Well, sometimes these crops are profitable. But there are also times the prices are so low because there is oversupply. The problem with the surplus pinakbet vegetables is that most farmers don’t know how to process them into products with added value.

What he loves about hot chili is that the price has always been high. The lowest he is getting now for chili is P50 to P60 per kilo. But last December, when most of the crops in other places were damaged by Typhoon Lando, he was able to sell his fresh chili fruits at P1,000 per kilo.

One other good thing about hot chili is that the fruits can be processed into products of higher value when the price of fresh fruits goes down. And that is what he has been doing when the price gets down to P50 a kilo. He hastens to add, however, that the P50 price per kilo is still profitable.

Because of his culinary expertise, Jess knows how to process chili into flakes in oil. He currently produces chili flakes in plain oil and another with rosemary flavor. The flakes in oil can be stored for three years without any deterioration. After that, the product disintegrates into hot sauce, which is still a high-value product.

He says that one kilo of fresh hot chili fruits can be made into flakes in oil with a value of P400. He currently sells his processed hot chili to a major food company with nationwide outlets. The bigger bottle, 250 ml, sells for P100, while the rosemary-flavored flakes in smaller bottles sell for P70 each.

The flakes can be used in several ways. It is an ingredient in hot dishes (chili crab, for instance) and is used for the sauce of siomai and other Chinese foods. It can be added to soy sauce or bagoong with calamansi for dipping grilled meats or fish. What Jess also does is to mix half a teaspoon of the oil in his coffee. He claims it makes the body system warm to start the day.