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Pick-and-pay garden up

March 19, 2010

Agri Plain Talk


December 11, 2009, 3:26pm

Looking for a niche market in farming is a tried and tested strategy. It is a winning strategy not only in agriculture but also in other business endeavors.

And that’s exactly what Cecile Canson had in mind when she started a few months back what would eventually become a pick-and-pay garden of culinary herbs and a lot of favorite vegetables. The Bureau of Plant Industry is assisting her in making the place a model farm.

Cecile is an MBA degree holder who used to work with the Central Bank. Now she is a full-time farmer, who together with her husband, retired Deputy Director General Jewel Canson of the PNP, run the St. Martha Farms in Brgy. Pantay, Teresa, Rizal.

The herbs and vegetable project is just a minor operation on the farm.

The big one is the 70,000 poultry breeder operation for an integrator.

Here, they produce hatching eggs for a poultry firm that distributes broiler chicks for contract growing to participating farmers. Another is a recent but most promising Pangasius hatchery and grow-out operation.

Right now, Cecile has a collection of culinary herbs grown in a greenhouse. These include different varieties of mints, several varieties also of basil, dill, arugula, tarragon and several others. Grown in another greenhouse are cauliflower, mustard, pechay, cabbage, and others.

Outside, she grows eggplant, pepper, tomato, sitao, okra, upo, patola, ampalaya, and other favorites.

One of her come-ons is that she grows her crops organically. After all, she has all the manure for organic farming.

The St. Martha Farm is ripe for agri-tourism. In fact, one group is scheduling a farm tour of the place and another exotic fruit nursery sometime next year. The visitors will see the towering mahogany trees the Canson couple have planted near the gate of their farm. Besides the trees and the garden, Gen. Canson could give a lecture on the prospects of Pangasius culture. He says the fish can be raised profitably even in a backyard fishpond. Of course, it could even be more profitable in a large-scale operation.

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