‘Money isn’t everything. It is not even enough.” That’s a quote I remember reading from an American humorist.
To Dennis Miguel, 33, money is also not everything . There are things more important than cash like breaking a world record in rice farming.
That’s the reason why he gave up a partnership in growing melons in Isabela in 2015 where he usually got a share of P500,000 per cropping season. That should be a big amount for a bachelor like him. But he didn’t mind.
It all started when he read about an Indian farmer who harvested 20.2 tons per hectare by using the technology called System of Rice Intensification (SRI) developed by Cornell University and earlier implemented in Africa.
He was really obsessed to break the Indian farmer’s record harvest when he adopted the SRI technique by planting a single seedling in black plastic nursery bags and producing 700 grams of palay per seedling. He then went into implementing the technique in a bigger scale in collaboration with a farm owner whose rainfed field used to yield less than 50 cavans per hectare.
On April 20, 2017, we were invited to witness the harvesting of the rice crop where Dennis had hoped to surpass the record yield achieved by the Indian farmer. Well, he didn’t quite attain his big dream. But he was able to produce 10.2 tons per hectare. That was already a phenomenal achievement, considering that he was able to produce the equivalent of more than 200 cavans per hectare of rainfed field that used to produce less than 50 cavans per hectare.
When we texted Dennis several days later that he would be on the cover of the June 2017 issue of Agriculture Magazine, he was euphoric in his text back: “OMG! D parin po ako makapaniwala sir…Cover ng Agrimag! Thank you so much! Mabuhay kayo and more power! Dennis Miguel.”
That only proved that the P500,000 cash he used to get in his melon growing partnership is not enough to match the extreme joy of being on the cover of the most widely circulated agriculture magazine in the Philippines. (Zac B. Sarian, Memoirs of an Agri Journalist)</strong>