“Use My Money, I Will Use Your Farm”

(Memoirs of an Agri Journalist)

In July 2006, we attended a sweet corn harvest festival in Cuerva, Calauan, Laguna. That’s where we learned of an unusual way of getting hold of a farm where one can grow his or her favotite crops without actually buying it. It could be considered as renting, but it is not the standard way of renting where you pay a specific amount for the use of the farm for say, one year.

Sweet Grande produces big ears that are sweet and juicy.

In the case of the sweet corn grower, the arrangment between the land owner and Mrs. Gloria Salvador went this way. Mrs. Salvador gave P200,000 to the land owner for him to use for whatever investment he would like to undertake. He could lend the money for interest income. Or he can buy shares of stocks in the stock market and wait for dividends as well as increase in value of the stocks.

On the other hand, the land owner turned over to Mrs. Salvador two hectares for her to grow whatever crop or crops she would like to grow for five years. After five years, the land owner will return the P200,000 of Mrs. Salvador who will in turn give back the two hectares to the owner.

We thought it was a win-win situation for both parties. We really didn’t know what the land owner did with the P200,000. But Mrs. Salvador together with her daughter and son-in-law made a very good profit from their sweet corn crop that we witnessed at the harvest festival. They planted the Sweet Grande, a new hybrid developed by East-West Seed which was outstanding in anumber of ways. The variety produced big ears that are sweet and the plants are resistant to stresses like drought and flooding.

We did not know how they fared in the previous years’ crops but what we were sure was that they made a lot of money from their Sweet Grande. Before the harvest festival, Mrs. Salvador said they harvested 4,400 ears from portion of their plantation. Out of that, 3500 were Class A while only 900 were Class B. The Class A fetched P6 per ear while the Class B was P4 each. Mrs. Salvador did not have any problem marketing their sweet corn because a buyer had contracted to buy all their harvest.

Normally, according to experts of East-West, some 30,000 marketable ears are harvested from one hectare. The cost of production in the case of Mrs. Salvador in 2006 was P32,000 per hectare. Granting that the average price for the 30,000 ears was P5 apiece, that’s already P150,000 per hectare. So there was a big margin for Mrs. Salvador and her children. (Memoirs of an Agri Journalist, Zac B. Sarian)

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