Market your own farm produce
Agri Plain Talk
By ZAC B. SARIAN
December 30, 2009, 3:05pm
One characteristic of successful farmers we have met is that they create a steady market for whatever they produce. That way they are assured of a market for whatever they can produce year round.
The latest of such fellows we have met are the husband and wife team of Felipe and Jessilyn Ramos of Brgy. Sumandig, San Ildefonso, Bulacan. Felipe and his crew of nine workers take charge of growing high-value vegetables while the wife takes care of marketing their harvest at the Balintawak market in Metro Manila. The arrangement has been working perfectly. They now produce and market bumper harvests of Galactica ampalaya, Django finger pepper, Sultan sweet pepper, Diamante Max tomato, Galante sitao and Mayumi upo – all high-yielding hybrids from East-West Seed Company.
Felipe, 40, is an agriculture graduate who served as head of the Product Support Team of a multinational company distributing farm chemicals and corn seeds. Jessilyn, on the other hand, kept herself busy while her husband was employed by buying vegetables from local growers and selling the same to stallholders in Balintawak, an experience that keeps her in good stead now that they are producing their own vegetables.
Felipe observed that many of the vegetable farmers that they were helping while he was with the multinational company really became rich. He figured that maybe they were making more than what he was making as an employee although he received a decent salary.
Thus in 2004, he decided to give up his employment to grow vegetables in their one-hectare property. He planted his first crop of tomato, ampalaya and sitao in October 2004. From that first cropping the couple were able to gross P300,000 in less than six months, which was encouraging enough. They planted some more and and their farming business grew and grew. They had to buy a jeep for Jessilyn to use in delivering their harvest to the market in Metro Manila. With their income from vegetables, they were able to buy three hectares which they all planted to vegetables year round, necessitating the purchase of another jeep for transporting their produce.
Today, in addition to the four hectares that they own, they are renting seven hectares of other people’s farms to grow more vegetables. The good thing about their farming is that they are able to sell their produce direct to the Manila market without any middleman, ensuring them a profitable price.
One technique they have adopted is to plant a succeeding crop on the same field way before the standing crop is harvested. For example, they plant a new crop of ampalaya before the tomatoes start to ripen. When the last tomato harvest is done, the first harvest of ampalaya will follow in just a few more weeks. They have also discovered lately that ampalaya fertilized with Durabloom bio-organic fertilizer produces a lot more fruits with better quality than those fertilized with unprocessed chicken manure they used to apply before. They keep on adopting new techniques for more efficient production. Read more about their success story in the February 2010 issue of Agriculture Magazine.