You don’t have to own your farm in order to become a successful farmer. You could always rent some land for your own kind of farming.
That’s the belief of Feliciano “Ka Sano” Linatoc of Sta. Teresita, Sto. Tomas, Batangas. He is considered the champion vegetable grower in his hometown, if not in the whole province, growing high-value vegetables. He has a few hectares of his own but he would rather rent land than buy it. After all, he said, there are lots of farmlands for rent in Batangas.
The truth is, he said, one landowner was recently offering 43 hectares for him to rent. As of now, however, he has enough rented farms to keep him busy. Even if he would love to, he says he cannot do it because he does not have enough workers for such a big area. He already has over a hundred farmhands working for him in his rented farms.
One farm he rented that is giving him a lot of income is a 9-hectare property in Brgy. San Pablo which he leased for P90,000 for one year. Last November 22 and 23, he harvested five tons of Galactica ampalaya worth P150,000. That was more than enough to pay for the one-year rent.
He harvests his ampalaya every four days. He does not have any problem disposing his harvest because a lady assembler in Tanauan City takes care of everything.
Ka Sano used to grow rice and corn in his own farm. However, 15 years ago, he turned to vegetable production and found out that vegetables are much more profitable than rice. Vegetables have a much shorter gestation than rice. And although vegetables require much more attention, the extra effort is compensated many times over.
Usually, he produces vegetables in partnership with his children, children-in-law and sometimes friends outside the family. The partners chip in capital while he does the management of the project. Sometimes, he also puts in his share of cash. The ampalaya project in Brgy. San Pablo is in partnership with a former vice mayor of the town as well as Ka Sano’s relatives. The sharing of the profits depends on the cash and efforts rendered by the partners.
When we interviewed him last November 22, they were on their fourth harvest of the ampalaya. They expected to harvest a lot more because normally, one can harvest from one cropping 20 to 25 times. The harvesting time is perfect because it is within the Christmas season when the price is usually high. The price at the time of our interview was P35 per kilo, wholesale to the assembler.
Tomato is one other profitable crop, especially if the timing of the harvest is perfect. A previous project where they planted tomatoes on four hectares was a most profitable one. The tomato seedlings were planted in June 2012 and harvesting started in August. Menardo Linatoc, one of Ka Sano’s sons, said that they had a bumper harvest and also got a very good price.
From the four hectares, Menardo said, they must have harvested no less than 4,000 crates of 20 kilos per crate. They were able to sell the harvests at P700 per crate. That’s a gross of P2.8 million from the four hectares in a matter of less than four months.
The Django “pangsigang” pepper from East-West has been most profitable also for Ka Sano and his partners. They planted only one hectare to this hot pepper last August but they had a bumper harvest. From that planting, they harvested 18 times. The planting time was perfect because when they started harvesting, the price was P200 per kilo.
One time they harvested 400 kilos from that one hectare. It was sold for a cool P80,000.
Ka Sano and his sons have also planted snapbeans in another rented land. The plants were still young when we wrote this piece but they were expected to give some harvest before Christmas. Possibly another money maker.
Ka Sano provides livelihood to a lot of workers. More than a hundred people earn money doing various chores in the rented farms, including planting, fertilizing, spraying, harvesting and the like.
Ka Sano owns a big tractor which he uses to prepare the land for planting. The reconditioned tractor which he bought for about P700,000 can plow five hectares in one day.