Not a few people who love farming say they cannot get into some kind of agri project because they don’t have the time. They also claim they don’t have the money to start with. Many of them are employees in private companies as well as in government.
If you are a full-time employee, can you really undertake some kind of farming or gardening as a money-making sideline? Of course, you can if you are really interested and determined. For so many years we have been a full-time employee until our retirement in April 2019. And in all those years we have been operating our small farm and garden as a sideline in the periphery of Metro Manila.
Doing your farming while you are employed has its advantages. For one, you have a regular income to finance your basic family needs and some funds for your farming. No, you don’t need a big amount to start with. You can start small and expand as you discover what works for you. Starting small without borrowing money is most ideal.
CHOOSING YOUR PROJECT – If you are based in Metro Manila, you better become an urban farmer. Doing your farming in a far place will be very expensive in terms of time spent in going to your project and the high cost of diesel. Having your project in the city has big advantages. First, the market is right here in Metro Manila. Because you are near the market, your harvest will be very fresh when they reach your buyers. And so your product can fetch a high price. In the Metro, the best bet is to grow plants rather than farm animals. Your produce could be vegetables or flowers and ornamental plants.
For this particular column, let’s discuss some strategies in choosing plants to grow that will not require long hours of taking care of them, yet they can give you reasonable income. There are so many plants to choose from but for lack of space, let’s discuss just two groups of plants. One is Tillandsia in the bromeliad family, and the other is cactus.
TILLANDSIA – This is just one group of bromeliads and there are so many of them. Some Tillandsias are really very small but others are quite big with spectacular inflorescence. Some produce a lot of pups or babies while others are not as prolific. Tillandsias are considered air plants and they can be grown without soil. They don’t need daily attention. Perfect for the employee with not much free time.
If you will ask me to choose, I will invest in a number of the fast-multiplying varieties like ionantha and others like it. But I will also invest in a few of the new hybrids with very attractive flowers. We intend to sell the much cheaper varieties that may fetch P150 apiece to bargain hunters. But I will invest ln a few expensive ones that may cost much more than a thousand pesos each. Aficionados will then remember us that we have special Tillandsias. And that’s a good business strategy.
CACTI – These are hardy plants that don’t have to be watered every day. They can be cultured under transparent plastic roofing to protect them from too much rain. There are cheap ones and there are collector’s items that will cost a fortune. Visit cacti and succulent shows as well as nurseries carrying different varieties and choose what you would like to propagate for sale.