DANNY MATEO who finished elementary school was a jeepney driver after he got married at a young age. When he realized that he could not make do with driving a jeepney to support a family, in 1982 he borrowed 2,500 square meters from his father so he could start planting vegetables.
TURNING POINT – That was the turning point in his life. He planted various vegetables like eggplant, sitao, ampalaya, okra and others, and he really made more money planting these vegetables than from driving a jeepney. Several years later, when the new hybrids were released by East-West Seed, all the more he made much bigger income. He planted his crops not only in his own property that he had eventually purchased but also on rented farmland.
FARMER HERO – In 2017 he was honored as one of the 35 Farmer Heroes of East-West during its 35th anniversary. That’s how successful he had become, yet he had remained humble and hands-on in his operations. In one of our visits, we found him working with his ordinary workers in sorting the okra harvest.
BUSINESS SENSE – Danny, besides being hardworking, has a keen sense for business. He made more money by buying and selling other farmers’ produce like sweet corn and all the other high-value crops. He had achieved his dream of a financially- secure life by combining growing veggies and trading.
PROFESSIONAL CHILDREN – With his good income he was able to send his children to college who are now professionals. These include a teacher, a civil engineer, a medical doctor and an electronic engineer.
SWEETER SITAO – Danny also does his own experiments. He swears that his sitao is sweeter than most varieties in the market. That’s by applying enough potash (0-0-60) just before the plants start bearing flowers. He applies 50 grams per hill. He advises, however, that the fertilizer is buried instead of just broadcasted on the surface because the roots will not be able to absorb the nutrients.