Seed Production Is Profitable
Seed production is one of the profitable businesses nowadays for the simple reason that seed is basic to agriculture and hence, there would always be a need for it. More and more farmers are getting into it, particularly in Mindanao where a number of farmers are earning more from seeds than from commercial rice.
Orlando Fabila of M’lang, Cotabato for instance has shifted from commercial rice production to seed production. It started when he joined the Bureau of Plant Industry’s (BPI) training on seed production, followed by the Ginintuang Makamasa Agriculture program where he learned the appropriate technology.
His first seed harvest was a success. This retired teacher got 100 cavans or 60 kilos of certified seeds from a hectare, and he never had hard time marketing his produce as most farmers in the area plant certified seeds.
“In our area,” says Fabila, “only about 10 percent of the farmers do not use certified seeds.” And this is apparent with the uneven growth of crops.
Just like most seed growers, however, Fabila hardly dries seeds during the wet season, and these results in low germination. The BPI is strict about this matter for in seed production, germination is the primary concern. The good thing is that in spite of such difficulty, he runs his business smoothly. In fact he has increased his farm size to 15 hectares and afforded a new truck as well as construction of a bodega with his income from seeds alone as his harvests are always satisfactory.
Another successful seed producer in Mindanao is Norberto Padura. This 40-year-old Ilocano living in Koronadal, Sultan Kudarat started farming in 2004 with one-half hectare. In his first harvest however, he only got 80-90 cavans per hectare, yet he did not let himself disillusioned by this. So when the Department of Agriculture (DA) was about to conduct a training on seed production, he did not think twice on joining.
Today he harvests 120-130 cavans of certified seeds per hectare from which he earns about r75,000 per cropping. And out of his income, he has procured farm machines such as threshers and power tillers as well as a truck and tricycle, which he both uses to haul produce from farm to his bodega.
Manuel Polaran of Isulan, Sultan Kudarat is also into seed production. This’ 70-year-old farmer who -attributes his success to his hardwork and dedication started farming in 1974 in spite of his limited knowledge on commercial rice production. Like Fabila and Padura, Polaran also attended trainings to learn the tricks of the trade, but his secret lies on land preparation.
He prepares the land thoroughly plowing and harrowing it three times plus a two-month fallow period. Hence, the drop seeds and weeds are controlled. He also plows under the rice straws and lets these decay in the field. In this way, he saves on the cost of fertilizers.
He harvests 120 cavans of seeds per hectare from his 15-hectare ricefield, which mostly are unredeemed lands mortgaged to him.
Couple Virgilio and Araceli Paje of Labayog, Sultan Kudarat have another story to tell. They used the money that was given to them as wedding gift as their starting capital. They started with 2 hectares that was mortgaged to them_ and their first cropping had been a trial and error for they did not have much knowledge on rice farming. When the DA conducted a training on seed production, they enrolled immediately and soon they found themselves moving towards their goal.
After learning the technology, their initial harvest was 120 cavans per hectare. Today, they produce 8.9 tons of seeds per hectare and have increased their farmland to 15 hectares, most of which are unredeemed lands mortgaged to them. They now also have a sizable concrete dryer built in their backyard.
The best thing about their seed production is that -they produce more seeds during the rainy season despite the proliferation of black bugs, which always come out during the wet season. This is because of abundant water supply and having a concrete dryer of course.
Tasil Guiadel of Northern Kabuntalan, Shariff Kabunsuan is also into seed growing. He started with only 2 hectares, which he has expanded over the years. This time he harvests 108 cavans per hectare. What’s good about this 45year-old rice farmer is that his concern is not simply to earn, but to advocate peace among his friends in the Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF), and he does this by encouraging them to venture in seed production.
“I have been convincing my MNLF friends to lay down their arms and farm, but we lack capital,” says Guiadel, adding that his farm is always open to those who are interested to learn seed production.
By Baby P. Ramilo