While we were thinking of a topic for our column in the newspaper, we received a text message from Alex O who said he just read our column in Panorama magazine about smart money making tips in farming. He asked, “How would I start?”

By Zac B. Sarian

To which we texted back, “We can’t give you sensible advice because I don’t know what you can do. I don’t know what skills you have. You did not tell me where you come from. And I don’t know how much budget you have available for your project. You are in the best position to know how to start because you know best your resources and capabilities.”

Alex O texted back. “How about tips on poultry and hog raising?” To which we responded: “It is hard to discuss those things through texting alone because we will have to ask several questions before we can give you a sensible answer.”

At any rate, if you are asking for advice regarding piggery or poultry, you should make sure that you get an environment compliance certificate (ECC) from the Department of Environment and Natural Resources. You could lose your shirt if you just put up your project without the ECC.

He Lost Php1.7 Million

One retiree from the Department of Agriculture confessed to us just recently that he virtually lost his Php1.7 million retirement bonanza.

He used the amount to put up concrete housing for pigs, complete with equipment, for his project in Mindanao. Now, he cannot operate his pig farm because of a big housing project nearby.

Agri-Kapihan

For a start, what Alex O should do is to attend farming events like seminars and farm tours. There are free events that are open to anyone who is interested. One example is the Agri-Aqua Network International (AANI) Agri-Bazaar cum Agri-Kapihan. The event is usually held once a month at the Quezon Memorial Circle in Quezon City. The date could vary so you should read the agri-page of the Bulletin so you will know the exact date. The agri-page comes out every Thursday and Saturday.

During the Agri-Kapihan, hands-on farmers, including hobbyists, share their experiences. You will also meet new friends who can give you some ideas on how to go about starting a farm project. You will be able to find out the many types of farming and you will be able to choose what is best for you given your circumstances.

Start Small

We would like to emphasize here that you should start small. That way, if you make a mistake, it will not be the end of the world for you. Don’t be afraid to make a mistake, however. The mistake could make you wiser. But don’t commit the same mistake over and over.

If you don’t have big capital, there are projects that you can start with a few thousand pesos, or even less than that. You can engage in vegetable production, which has a very short gestation period. For instance, you can start by planting upland kangkong. This can be harvested in just 20 to 25 days from planting the seeds with proper care.

Upland Kangkong

One kilo of upland kangkong seeds costs about Php250 in the market. You can grow that in a few plots, spending on land preparation and a small amount for organic or chemical fertilizer. Depending on how good you are in growing and marketing your product, the harvest from seeds that cost you Php250 could be sold for as much as Php1,500 or even more.

Pechay is another short-gestation vegetable that is saleable in the market. If you are from Pampanga, you can talk to Among Ed, the priest who became governor of the province. He is now in organic farming in Cabalantian, Bacolor. He needs farmer cooperators who can produce the vegetables that a big dealer has asked him to produce. For instance, his buyer has a requirement of 700 kilos of kangkong a day! There are 10 other varieties that Among Ed has been asked to produce.

Pig Cooperative

On second thought, if Alex O is really interested in hog raising, he should get in touch with Gil SP Garcia (0917-553-8843) of Agrichexers in Sta. Maria, Bulacan. They have a cooperative where interested hog raisers can be contract growers. One of our colleagues in the Bulletin is giving up his job so he can be a full time hog raiser as a member and contract grower of the Kooperatibang Pangkabuhayan ng Sta. Maria.

As contract grower, Sandy Silencio, our colleague, will start taking care of 24 piglets under the co-op’s scheme very soon. The co-op will provide the piglets, feeds, and medicines. All the farmer cooperator will do is to provide the housing, feed, and take care of the pigs. The co-op will also buy the fattened pigs and whatever remains after deducting the cost of piglets, feeds, and medicines will be shared like this: 60 percent will go to the farmer while the co-op gets 40 percent. For complete details about the hog contract-growing scheme, read the February 2015 issue of this magazine.

This appeared in Agriculture Monthly’s April 2015 issue.