MEET JOHNNY GATUS: The OFW Who Sold Green Papayas

Johnny Gatus carrying his newly harvested green papaya.
Green papaya is not delicate to transport. It is used in cooking Tinola, making pickles and other preparations.

You want to meet one more successful OFW? Sure you do. Right? Okay, here is another one.

A former OFW who worked for five years as a construction worker in Saudi Arabia is proving that he can make more money by growing papaya and other high-value crops in Brgy. Kaingin, San Rafael, Bulacan.

He is Johnny Gatuz, 55, who worked in Saudi Arabia from 1990 to 1995, in the beginning receiving as little as the equivalent of P10,000 a month. He and his wife, Marivic, also a former OFW in Singapore, are doing a good job at farming although they are renting the lands they till. They prefer renting land since there are many farmlands for rent at P20,000 per hectare per year in San Rafael.

Ric Reyes and Johnny Gatus with fruitful Red Royale papaya.

We visited Johnny’s plantation of 1,000 Red Royale papaya from East-West Seed that he planted on January 20, 2017. By May, he started harvesting, not the ripe ones but the green fruits which he sold to his regular customers.

Since then, he  was harvesting 200 to 300 kilos of green papaya every two days which he sold at P8 to P9 per kilo. The better fruits sold  for P9 a kilo so that he actually made more than P1,600 to P2,400 every two days. Harvesting 200 to 300 kilos every two days was perfect for Johnny. It was a simple operation that was very convenient for him to do. No hassle in harvesting and selling his green fruits which are used as vegetable – as ingredient for tinola, atsara and other preparations.

Johnny liked producing green papaya rather than ripe ones. For one, green papaya is not as delicate as ripe papaya to transport. Green papaya is not yet affected by fruitfly. And the papaya trees tend to produce more fruits because the fruits are not allowed to mature.

Johnny also found selling green papaya advantageous. As he harvested the fruits every two days, he had a constant cash flow which he can use in growing other crops like tomato, eggplant, squash and others.

At first, Johnny did not have any experience in growing high-value crops but he was able to learn the improved techniques by attending seminars given by government agriculturists and private companies.

Johnny Gatus, his wife Marivic and Ric Reyes
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