Finding Gold on Black Pepper

Barangay Comagascas is a 20-minute drive barangay from BACODEL (Bayabas/Comagascas/ /Del Pilar) ARC located in the municipality of Cabadbaran, Agusan del Norte. Almost all of the agricultural land area in this ARC was owned by Maraput Agri-Development Inc. (MADI) owned by Don Matias Tirador. Some would even call the place as “Hacienda Tirador.”
 
Eleno Pachejo Armentia, a high school graduate, married to Cresencencia Iglesia, is a native of Iloilo. The couple is blessed with two sons. The eldest, Criselen, is an Industrial Engineer graduated from a prestigious university in Cebu City. He is now working in Cebu City and the second, Eleno Jr., is an Electrical Engineer a graduate from the University of Cebu City, now an OFW working in Qatar.
 
Forty years ago, Eleno Pachejo Armentia was an administrator and property custodian of the Tirador’s. He was formerly a security guard of the Tirador Lumber Corporation located in Esperanza, Agusan del Sur owned and was managed by Don Matias Tirador. In 1973, the logging company shut down its operation. The employer then transferred him to administer and act as a property custodian of Maraput Agricultural Development Inc. (MADI) located in Brgy. Comagascas, Cabadbaran, also owned by the Tirador. Because of the transfer of his work assignment, he decided to establish his residence in this said barangay. In 1990, the Landowner informed him again that the Development Bank of the Philippines has foreclosed the property.
 
The golden opportunity knocked on his door on the same year, when the Department of Agrarian Reform, informed all the workers that the Tirador land where they were working turned over to DAR’s CARP for acquisition under GFI scheme. He could hardly believe that the land they were tilling for years and owned by a very influential family in town would be distributed to the workers. With mixed emotions, he diligently continued tilling the land. Farming was the main source of income that time. He received his 3-hectare CLOA in 1994.
 
Things turned for the better when Eleno attended a seminar about planting High Yielding Variety Crops specifically on black pepper production and coffee production. Inspired and determined, he went to Bataan, Luzon and in an Agricultural School in Iloilo all by himself to learn more about black pepper and coffee farming. Motivated from what he learned from the exposure trips and from the seminars, he applied integrated Farming Technology in his 3-hectare cocoland. Diligently, he did some research works, attended more seminars, and conducted several experiments that enhanced his learning about Integrated Farming.  
 
Well known of his expertise in coffee and black pepper farming technology, he was hired by JC ADI, owned by the Soriano’s in Sta. Ana, Tubay as farm consultant. He is also the consultant of Pest Control Measures to the farmers engaging in coffee production in adjacent barangays and towns in the province. He is now a supplier of black pepper in some of the provinces of CARAGA Region and in Cebu City. He is also a supplier of coffee seedlings and has expanded his market to the adjacent provinces like Surigao Del Norte and Agusan del Sur.