MEMOIR No.24: Lady With Flawless Skin Is Hands-on Corn Farmer

Bt Corn is a favorite crop because in less than four months, it is turned into cash.
When we met Josephine Roquero in 2011 in Brgy. Ugalingan, Carmen, North Cotabato, we remarked that she looked more like an airline stewardess than a corn farmer. That was because of her flawless complexion. She just smiled but, of course, we thought she was much better off financially as a corn farmer than if she were a stewardess.

Josephine is a commerce graduate who learned to plant corn at a very early age. She related that her mother was the farmer in the family who grew corn while her father was engaged in the buy-and-sell business. She said she must have gotten her love for farming from her mother while her father imparted to her his business acumen. Oh yes, Josephine is both a farmer and a businesswoman.

She got her commerce degree from the Notre Dame of Kidapawan. After graduation, she worked as a casual employee of the Development Bank of the Philippines receiving P2,500 a month. After two years she gave up her employment to go into corn farming. She particularly loves corn as a crop because in less than four months, it is harvested and turned into cash.

Josephine started farming on her own in 1992. That was also the year she got married to Paul Roquero. Because Paul was with the army, he didnโ€™t have time to help in farming. At the time of our interview, however, Paul had retired and was planting rice as his own project.

In the season before our interview in 2011, Josephine planted corn in 10 hectares of her own and another 10 hectares mortgaged to her. As a corn trader, she financed corn farmers cultivating a total of 300 hectares.

In financing other corn farmers, Josephine advanced the inputs that included seeds, fertilizer, herbicide and some cash for harvesting, shelling and drying. She did not charge any interest but she was assured that she would be buying the farmersโ€™ harvest.

At the time of our interview, Josephine had four 10-wheeler trucks and one Forward truck for hauling corn from the farms and delivering the shelled grains to the feed millers and other buyers.

Although her corn trading consumed most of her working hours, she devoted about two to five hours doing the rounds in her corn farm during Saturdays. She considered herself as a hands-on corn farmer.

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