An income of more than half a million annually for an agrarian reform beneficiary is a feat.
Quirino Martil was born in Barangay Culit, Nasipit, Agusan del Norte. His parents were from Cebu who migrated to the town in 1948 and became farmer-tenants of the landed Lamanilao family.
Raised in a rural community, Quirino’s life started in soil tilling and appeared to be destined as a farmer. When he married in 1968, Quirino purchased the land cultivation rights of a Lamanilao tenant named Gomez. Gomez introduced Quirino to the landlord as his replacement and readily acknowledged. This was the beginning of a tenant-landlord relationship with Quirino as a full-fledged Lamanilao tenant.
The new tenant-farmer planted corn for a start. He failed in the first try and two subsequent attempts. Quirino almost lost all his savings. He did not seek the help of anyone but persevered to make the land productive by himself.
In 1973, Quirino was awarded with a 2.8-hectare under DAR PD27 farmer-beneficiaries. Quirino was not convinced that the program could help and make him productive. He doubled and even tripled his efforts for the sake of a growing family. He planted corn during dry season and rice during rainy season.
In 1976, he bought a space at the Nasipit Public Market to sell meat to augment his income. He sold his carabao as capital to start his new business. Eventually, Quirino became a market meat vendor on Sundays and a full-time farmer from Mondays to Saturdays.
Because of Quirino’s hard work, he was able to send his children to school. His two sons earned their college degrees in Cebu City and another became a seaman on a foreign vessel. His eldest son finished nautical engineering and became a ship captain.
When the government awarded to him the land he was cultivating, Quirino was motivated to make his land more productive. He applied for diversified farming and planted his land with mangoes and high-value crops. The Department of Agriculture noticed Quirino’s creativeness and rewarded his effort with the “Most Outstanding Farmer in Agusan del Norte” award.
Quirino built a concrete house near his farm, which he estimates the cost to have reached more than a million pesos.
Exuding confidence of his success, /Quirino remained humble by saying, “I am grateful for what the Department of Agrarian Reform has done to me and my family. Its programs have transformed me from a mere dependent to a productive and empowered farmer.”