(Mem­oirs of an Agri Jour­nal­ist)

Agriculture - - Market Know-How -

DIF­FER­ENT AGRI PEO­PLE have their own bright ideas in get­ting into farm­ing. We re­mem­ber Al­fredo Rivera whom we in­ter­viewed in his farm in Cali­nan, Davao City in 1997. At that time, he had planted a 20-hectare raw land that he bought in 1993. In the Philip­pines, a 20-hectare or­chard is al­ready con­sid­ered big when un­der­taken by one in­di­vid­ual. Mr. Rivera had planted 1,200 trees of Ma­gal­lanes pomelo which he in­ter­cropped with 2,000 cala­mansi trees. He also had planted 1,000 grafted durian, 3,000 lan­zones, 1,000 man­gos­teen, and 200 Ma­har­lika rambu­tan. Aside from fruit trees, he had planted 10,000 Aca­cia mangium and other for­est trees that serve as wind­break for some of his fruit trees.

Fred was very con­fi­dent in his or­chard project be­cause he al­ready knew the ins and outs of mar­ket­ing fruits. How? Well, through hands-on ex­pe­ri­ence.

Fred is an agri­cul­tur­ist who ear­lier worked for a banana com­pany. Then in 1980, he de­cided to go into the trad­ing of pomelo, rambu­tan, and lan­zones. He bought the har­vests of grow­ers in Davao City and sold the same to traders in Davao City, Manila, and Iloilo, where he came from.

He ex­plained that the trad­ing ex­pe­ri­ence gave him the op­por­tu­nity to know the re­li­able buyers and also learned the ins and outs of mar­ket­ing fruits.

That mar­ket knowl­edge prompted him to rent some ne­glected or­chards for pro­duc­tion of fruits, which he would in turn, sup­ply to his network of buyers. Although he has had some bad ex­pe­ri­ence in rent­ing fruit farms be­cause of calami­ties like brush fires that de­stroyed en­tire crops, the idea was still very vi­able, ac­cord­ing to him.

Rivera pointed out that many landown­ers who planted pome­los, rambu­tan, lan­zones, and the like in their farms didn’t have the time and know-how to make their trees pro­duc­tive. Thus, it would be bet­ter for them to rent them out to peo­ple like Fred who knew how to take care of the trees.

One of the or­chards he rented was a farm with 500 pomelo trees. He paid the owner R60,000 a year and then spent about R200 per tree per year to main­tain and make them fruit­ful. This re­quired some cap­i­tal, but in the end, it was still prof­itable, ac­cord­ing to him.

Rivera’s ex­pe­ri­ence in trad­ing and rent­ing other peo­ple’s farm gave him the con­fi­dence to go full time in a rel­a­tively big or­chard op­er­a­tion on his own.

Well, the strat­egy worked for him. Maybe oth­ers can do some­thing sim­i­lar.— ZAC B. SARIAN

Fred Rivera planted 1,000 Ma­gal­lanes pomelo and many other fruit trees af­ter gain­ing ex­pe­ri­ence in the trad­ing of fruits.

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