An Indian national and his Filipino wife who have been working in Kuwait for more than 30 years are retiring shortly and they are going to do their own brand of farming in Placer, Masbate. The couple are Aubrey Sequeira and his wife, the former Rizalina Titong of Placer. Aubrey has worked for more than twenty years in a bank while Rizalina has worked for a number of hotels. Her latest designation was assistant to the president of Refad Hotel & Resort in Kuwait City.
The couple plan to make the 5-hectare property of Rizalina more productive because it only has ageing coconut trees today. They came to visit us in our farm in Teresa, Rizal, to find out what we have and also asked for advice. Aubrey said he has read our articles in the Bulletin as well as in our blog. Well, we told them that water is most important to have on the farm. The farm has right now a deep well pump but water could also be drawn from a river beside the property.
Aubrey asked us what we think if they are going to produce coco sugar from the sap of their coconut. Well, if that’s what they want, they have to consider many things. Are there enough farm workers that will gather the sap from the tall coconut trees? They have to learn the technique of making coco sugar. They should figure out the costings vis a vis the possible sales. Do they have a market right in Placer? Can the people there afford to buy an expensive sugar?
Then they asked what could be good crops that will produce fast return? Well, we told them to take a lo0k at the vegetables that the people in Placer and other towns love to eat. Then figure out how to produce them. There are even very ordinary vegetables that can be a source of steady cash flow although they could not make one a millionaire. Rizalina mentioned that people in Placer love to eat alugbati. Well, we told the couple that alugbati is the easiest plant to grow. Then we told them about an enterprising guy in Iloilo that we interviewed years back. The fellow specialized in producing and selling alugbati shoots, camote tops, saluyot and malunggay leaves. For a start, they could also do that. We advised them not to over-produce. Just grow what the market can absorb.
One thing that they learned for the first time during their visit to our farm is the Korean pearl onion. This is a perennial onion that produces very slender leaves. You just harvest the leaves for your pansit, arroz caldo, soup and other dishes. The leaves are simply about an inch above the potting soil and the plant will grow new set of leaves again. The plant does not die. And if you want to multiply it, you just divide the small clump.
When Rizalina saw the Marang seedlings, she was excited. She said she loves to eat Marang. And so we suggested that she plant Marang between their coconut trees.