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Mang Rene: A farmer who earns like a manager

WEB CARAGA SARA 001A three (3) hectare farm that earns around P40,000.00 a month? Are you kidding!

As far as Rene Canieso Pido, 54, is concerned, everything is possible, because that’s what he made from the farm he was cultivating in Barangay Malandag, Malungon in Sarangani Province. Through the land, awarded to him under the Comprehensive Agrarian Reform Program (CARP), Manong Rene as his peers called him, was able to provide his wife, Moonyeen, 54 and son, Kervin, 22 all their basic needs.

Although Manong Rene’s earnings were close to an office manager’s salary, his farming life didn’t set off without difficulty.

Way back in 1980’s, he helped his father cultivate a three (3) hectare agricultural land owned by his uncle, Celso Duran. The area was leased by his father and planted with corn. They had a production sharing of 75-25 in favor of his father, however, all farm expenses were shouldered by him.

Manong Rene recalled that their income at that time was not enough because they only relied on corn production. His father wanted to try his hand on intercropping, the practice of growing two or more crops at the same time, but they could not do so for it was not specified in the lease contract. To do so might lead to their eviction from the land.

Unfortunately, in 1981 his father died. Being the eldest in the family of nine (9), Manong Rene, at the age of 23, had no choice but to take his father’s place as the head of the family to help his mother fend his siblings. He needed to concentrate on working in the farm and was forced to quit his mechanical engineering course.

“During that time, it was very hard for us, the farmers, to produce more than enough because our only source of irrigation was commonly called as earth canal. Although the canal contributed to a sufficient yield, it collapsed whenever there was a heavy rain and farms all over were flooded,” he said.

In 1989, his uncle’s property was put through P.D. 27, also known as the “Operation Land Transfer,” which was eventually awarded to him as farmer-beneficiary.

Since then, a turn-around in his income was noticed compared to his earnings as tenant. He said his profits increased because he could plant any crops and even practice various farming methods, like intercropping. Besides, there was no one to share the farm earnings anymore.

Through intercropping, Manong Rene planted 200 coconut trees in that year in the one hectare portion of his acquired property. He intercropped it with corn considering that coconuts bear fruit after 7 to 10 years. While waiting for the full bearing of coconut, Manong Rene enjoyed the good harvest of corn.

In 2000, Barangay Malandag was declared agrarian reform community (ARC), for which it became entitled to receive various support services from the government. The rehabilitation of their irrigation project, funded under Agrarian Reform Infrastructure Support Project (ARISP), was one of the most significant projects they received from the DAR.

“We were so fortunate to have the irrigation rehabilitated. Because of this facility, more farms were irrigated, which maximize the agricultural production in our community. And flooding has been greatly minimized,” Manong Rene said.

At present Manong Rene’s coconut trees generate around P12,000 each month. Out of his 200 coconut trees, 50 of them were indulged to “Tuba” production, which earns P6,000 monthly. The rest was for fresh buko, P5,000 and copra, P1,000.

“Three years ago, I devoted one-hectare of my farm to banana trees. The 2,200 “lakatan” trees that I planted is now earning P10,000 per month,” Manong Rene said.

On the other hand, around half hectare of the property was devoted to corn. Manong Rene said his income out of this crop was not that much because he has to share them with his farm workers. “I only earn around P3,000, but what matters is that I’m able to help other farmers financially,” he shared.

Manong Rene made it a point to attend various trainings on agricultural productivity and livelihood programs conducted by government agencies to widen his farming knowledge.

“Among the seminars and trainings I attended, I believed that livestock production had a big help in boosting my farm earnings,” Manong Rene said as he shared that he earnsP15,000 monthly for raising high-breed cows for dairy production. At present, he has 6 heads of cows, 1 male and 5 female, which produce 16 liters of milk daily, and are sold at around P500 in a day.

Just recently, Manong Rene started to raise goats initially for personal consumption and out of a hobby. However, with 11 heads of nannies, nine (9) of them are pregnant, he is certain that it will bring additional income to his family.

He shared that what was good in raising cows and goats was that, feeding cost was less because they only eat grasses such as napier grass, guinea grass, and ipil-ipil grass, among others, which are all available inside his farm as he purposely planted them.

Eight families – four (4) families in his coconut area, one (1) for the lakatan area, two (2) for watchers for his cows and goats, and one (1) for the corn area – also greatly benefit from his success.

“I wanted to be an inspiration to all the farmers in Malandag, especially to those farmers who abandoned their lands, particularly the farmer-beneficiaries who sold their areas even when it is against the law,” Manong Rene said.

“It is impossible for farmers to remain poor. All you need are perseverance, sincerity and passion for you to succeed. As Vince Lombardi Jr. said, the difference between a successful person and others is not a lack of strength, nor a lack of knowledge, but rather a lack of will,” added by the farmer who earns like a manager. (Sarah Jane Sinsuat)

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