The Fuentes couple were landless when they got married in 1994 but now they have at least 24 hectares of corn land of their own and many more that have been mortgaged to them. They are planting the latest hybrid corn varieties such as those distributed by Bioseed Research Company based in General Santos City. And that is why they get high yields and a good price, too, for their corn harvests.
Fernando remembers that when he and Josephine were just newly married, he used to sell cut-up vegetables from house to house just so they could have an income. Fernando would buy fresh vegetables from the market, slice them and pack together different vegetables that could be used in one cooking.
They were quite lucky because they had good harvest from their hybrid corn. From the one hectare they rented, they were able to gross P18,000 from their first crop. And because they themselves worked on the farm, they only had cash expenses of about P6,000. They had a net profit of P12,000, and that’s what they used to get hold of more farms which were initially mortgaged to them. Eventually, they would be able to buy the land mortgaged to them with the proceeds from their corn harvests.
These days, when there is good weather, corn farmers like the Fuentes couple could make a net profit of more than P40,000 per hectare. And because they know how to handle their finances, they have been able to increase their land holdings and, of course, their incomes from farming.
There are developments that have helped the corn farmers like the Fuentes couple. One is the introduction of herbicides. With herbicide, the farmer can wipe out the weeds so they can dibble their seeds without plowing the field. Even the rolling and sloping fields could be planted to corn the zero-tillage way.
Another is the coming of the hybrid corn seeds. With the hybrids that are genetically engineered, the yield is not only high but the farmers also save on cost of spraying against corn borer. The Bioseed Healer 101, for instance, is not attacked by corn borers which are about the most destructive pest of corn in the Philippines.