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Ex-DH Finds Money in Farming

Many Filipinos working abroad realize when they go home that the success they have been looking for is just right here.

One of them is forty-three-year-old Margie Allado of Brgy. Pias Norte, Currimao, Ilocos Norte. She worked in Hong Kong for two years as a domestic helper. She found out soon after coming back that the money she was looking for is in the farm.

She used the P10,000 that she saved from her salary in Hong Kong to put up a rice and feeds retail store beside her house, which is along the highway. She started with five bags of rice and then gradually increased to 20 bags. Because the store was doing well, her husband got a salary loan from the local electric cooperative where he was working so that she could increase her volume of trade.

Not long after the store was established, she started to cultivate 3,600 sq m of rainfed farm, 2,500 sq m of which was mortgaged to her when she arrived. She does not know the rice variety she planted, but she said that she probably got good seeds from the previous harvest of her neighbor.

This was probably true because her husband’s uncle even offered his land
for her to rent and cultivate. “Our yield increased somehow and we were cultivating [more lands],” she said.

PALAYAMANAN PARTICIPANT

Margie recalls that when her sister-inlaw, Cita Allado who is also a neighbor, was starting the Palayamanan project in Currimao, she thought she did not have enough time for activities like that. But she still joined in the Palayamanan project because she realized she could learn new technologies from it.

Among the new rice production technologies she learned and eventually adopted are seed selection, seedling production, transplanting techniques, and fertilization.

Two of the things she learned about vegetable production were the use of plastic trays for seedling production and distance of planting. She learned the distance of planting of the following vegetables between hill: patola, 1 m; ampalaya, 1 m; squash, 1.5 m; upo (white gourd), 1 m; eggplant, 0.5 m x 1 m.

When the third technical cooperation project (TCP 3) of PhilRice and Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) in Currimao started last year, Margie was selected as a techno-demo farmer.

She planted 100 hills of tomato and 30 hills of patola (sponge gourd). Although she was not able to plant more tomato as the seeds did not germinate well, she got a high income as her crop produced fruits when the supply was still low.

Margie transplanted tomato on October 17, and started to harvest in mid-November. Although her harvest was only one-half kilo at the start, the price was high. In fact, the price of tomato was still high until December. She said she was able to sell more than P6,000.
However, she earned only a little over P1,000 from the patola, which were sold at P40 a kilo, because the good fruits were short-lived.

Marketing is not a problem for Margie as she simply displays her harvest at her retail store. When we interviewed her recently, her ampalaya, tomato, and eggplant harvests displayed in the store and the neighbors came to buy.

At the time of the interview, she had 18 hills of patola , five ten-meter rows of strings beans, 50 hills of Bonito ampalaya, 10 hills – which must have already produced 100 fruits – multiplier onion (500 sq. m.), and peanut (500 sq. m.). Margie said Bonito bears fruits for three months if it is given enough care.

In this year’s wet season, her 1.4-hectare techno-demo farm is planted with recommended rice varieties such as PSB Rc82, PSB Rc28, PJ 18, NSIC Rc122, NSIC Rc128, NSIC Rc130, and NSCI Rc144.

Among the rice technologies that she learned through TCP 3 is the application of the correct amount of fertilizer. Before, she was applying 15 bags of inorganic fertilizer to a hectare. Through the project, she learned that this is too much, so she reduced it to four to five bags of complete fertilizer (14-14-14) and two bags of urea (46-0-0).

She also used to transplant at random and each of her hill had so many seedlings. Now, she practices straight row planting at I-5 cm x 20 cm with two to three seedlings per hill.

The project has really helped a lot of farmers, including those from neighboring barangays who are not directly involved, Margie said. But in the end, success still lies on the hands of the farmer for he would surely progress “if he is industrious and follows the technologies that are taught to him,” she added.

After all, the farmer should learn how to maximize his limited resources, and should have more determination and diligence to succeed and to earn money without leaving the country.