By Patricia Bianca S. Taculao
Retiring to the province and farming has always been a common dream among Filipinos. Because in farming, one can live a simple life in the presence of nature while also getting the satisfying feeling of growing their own food.
Yet, starting a farm isn’t as easy as it seems.
Jercyl and Fiona Uy, sisters who run Batangas Sunset Farm in Lian, Batangas, are familiar with this situation since they didn’t have any farming experience before they began running a farm with their father.
Batangas Sunset Farm is a mango and vegetable farm in Lian, Batangas that is also a safe haven for goats who serve as natural mowers for the farm since they are free to graze and eat all the grass that they want in the area.
(Read about Batangas Sunset Farm here.)
It was acquired by the Uy family in February 2019 and has taken the sisters some time to learn the ropes before they got to help out in the farm’s functions.
For aspiring farmers who have little to no exposure in farming, the sisters offer the following tips to encourage them to pursue their agricultural dream:
1. Read. Read. Read.
“Since online materials are easily accessible, it’s convenient for us to find and read farming articles, watch videos, and base it as a resource to experiments on how to grow your crops,” Jercyl and Fiona Uy said.
They advise to read about topics like soil and water management techniques, pests and diseases and its role in the ecosystem, as well as the effects of environmental changes on planting and harvest.
Reading, they added, can help people gauge if farming is their cup of tea because it takes a lot of patience to understand the trade.
2. Don’t be afraid to ask for help.
One thing that helped the sisters learn about farming is by asking their farming staff, farming neighbors, and friends for assistance on how to best tend to a farm.
“They’re always very kind and helpful and they’re very willing to guide you for tips from cultivation to harvest,” they said.
Invest in the proper equipment and products to maximize the land while also getting your money’s worth. One example is buying seeds from registered and reliable suppliers.
4. Consider your budget and other circumstances
“If you’re working on a limited budget like us, choose crops and varieties that you can afford to maintain that match the soil type and location of your farm. There are crops that thrive organically in certains locations so capitalize on that,” the Uy sisters said.
5. Think about your market
Batangas Sunset Farm grows mangoes and vegetables in its vicinity which the family sells at 30 to 40 percent lower than the usual market price. Still, they believe its best to define your market to make sure that the produce won’t go to waste.
“Vegetables are highly perishable. This means there’s a need to secure where the produce will go prior to planting the crops. Otherwise, you’ll be left with no choice but to sell your produce at below rock bottom prices, which is a common problem for us farmers,” they said.
The sisters added that it’s also advisable to turn to the B2C (business to customer) route wherein farmers directly sell its produce to customers. Through this method, the farmer sells at a fair price and the customers buy at very affordable costs.
For more information, visit Batangas Sunset Farm on Facebook.