Thirty two-year-old Benjie Monsanto of San Fernando, Bukidnon who gave up his job as a barangay bookkeeper in order to go into farming is now a big time pumpkin farmer.
He is planting the Suprema variety on 50 hectares some of which he owns and the others he rents. He produces three crops a year and in each cropping, he could make a net profit of P150,000.
Like many other farmers, Benjie also had his own big mistake. That was when he felt the price of the F1 seeds of Suprema was too high and decided to buy the F2 (second generation) seeds which were offered to him at a very low price.
Buying the cheap Suprema seeds was his big mistake because instead of producing the first class pumpkins, he got a very low yield of inferior fruits. He barely managed to break even from that particular cropping instead of making a big profit.
But he has learned his lesson from that mistake, and today he only plants the first generation seeds even if they cost more. After all, they produce a high yield of quality fruits.
Benjie also encountered other challenges in the early years. He did not have enough money to hire harvesters and to haul the harvest to the access road. He also suffered from very low prices offered by buyers. However, he persevered and his tenacity paid off.
Today, because of Suprema, Benjie has gone a long way economically. Transporting his produce to the market is no longer a problem because he has bought a pick up truck. And he is very proud that he has helped improve the economic status of many of his townmates who work for him. They have bought their own motorcycles and other amenities of a better life.
Benjie and his wife Analie have four children, all boys. They are Benjade Andrian, Keith Joshua, Benjames Harold and Benjie III. They live in Purok 5, Little Baguio, San Fernando, Bukidnon.