THREE years ago, Jay visited me in my farm for some advice on farming. He was born in Manila Chinatown and had first worked in the family’s textile store and later in their hardware store. The business was financially rewarding but in his own words, the daily routine was simply boring.
On January 29, 2015, Jay, now 50, visited us in our office. And what did he report? The piece of advice we gave him, he said, was the best ever advice he had received in his life. He is now growing vegetables on a 2.9-hectare rented farm in Cavite and he is enjoying every minute of it.
One profitable crop he planted is DMax tomato from East-West Seed. From September 8-12, 2014, he planted 14,800 Farm Ready seedlings he bought at P2.04 per seedling from East-West. Exactly two months later on November 8, he picked his first harvest of 33 kilos which earned him P2,315. The large size fetched P30 per kilo. The harvest was sold at the Kadiwa Market in Dasmarinas, Cavite.
Jay harvested every three or four days. The second harvest totaled 205 kilos which brought in P5,730. The harvest increased significantly from there on. On the third harvest, they picked 709 kilos worth P21,000. The big size fetched P30 per kilo.
By the fourth harvest, they picked 794 kilos with the big size fetching P34 per kilo. This harvest brought in more than P25,000. The harvest kept on increasing. By November 20, the harvest had increased to 1,121 kilos with the big size fetching P30 per kilo.
The harvest on Nov. 22 was 1,105 kilos. By this time, the price had gone down a bit –P26 per kilo. Then all of a sudden the price had gone down to P14 per kilo by November 25. By the last and final harvest on January 29, the price had gone down to P10 per kilo. As a whole, however, that particular tomato crop was profitable. Ampalaya has been planted in the same spot before the final harvest was made.
Total harvest from this tomato crop is 20,091 kilos. This means that each plant yielded an average of 1.35 kilos.
By the way, Jay did not buy his own farm because farmland is too expensive now. What he did was to look around for land for rent. He was fortunate to locate a land for rent within the compound of a religious group’s seminary in Cavite at a rental of P20,000 per hectare per year. The term is for four years but it could be renewed. He said that the officials of the seminary are very reasonable to deal with.
It does not mean, however, that farming for Jay has always been smooth sailing. There were birth pains during the first year. At first, he got the wrong farm workers who were all men. The first farm workers’ leader had made the farm house a “virtual motel.” Many of the workers spent the nights in beer houses so they could not work properly during the daytime. This problem has been solved, however, by recruiting two “Manangs” or responsible women to join the work force of ten.
Jay also plants ampalaya, sweet pepper, hot pepper and eggplant. He says he does not have any problem marketing his harvests. Two regular buyers from the Kadiwa Market buy all his harvest. To get a better price, he texts each of the two dealers asking what’s the price on a particular day. The one who quotes the better price gets the deal.