Sunday, 29 March 2009

Filipina becomes millionaire by growing veggies

Adora Dolores Rodriguez
Philippine Star
DA Info Service
http://www.philstar.com/Article.aspx?articleId=452980&publicationSubCategoryId=77

MANILA, Philippines - Who would have thought that a fishball vendor would someday become a millionaire?

Following her gut-feel, Desiree “Daisy” Duran, has become one of the most successful vegetable growers in Basuit, San Ildefonso, Bulacan.

Off-season veggies

While she only finished elementary, Daisy had a quiet determination to learn, to become an entrepreneur, and to succeed.

For most of her life, Daisy had been selling fishballs and isaw as well as other grocery items to Basuit residents.

It was eight years ago when Daisy first ventured into planting off-season vegetables. She got the idea after attending a farmers’ training under the “Unlad Buhay sa Nayon Program” of the Bulacan Agricultural State College, the Provincial government of Bulacan and the municipal government of San Ildefonso.

Initially, she experimented with planting grafted tomato in a 1,000-square meter plot. From this she earned a cool P70,000--not bad for a newbie in the industry. Later, she converted a one-hectare family-owned rainfed riceland into an oasis of pinakbet veggies, which include eggplant, ampalaya, upo, and patola. She has also planted hot and sweet pepper, cucumber, and tomato intercropped with Sinta papaya.

Seedlings


In 2003, Daisy ventured into another income-generating project. With the assistance of the Department of Agriculture, the East-West Seed Co. and the local agri offices, she produced seedlings to sell to other vegetable growers in their area who do not have the time or expertise to do so.

In a short span of three years, Daisy – now dubbed Seedling Lady of Bulacan – expanded from a single greenhouse operation into a six-unit complex capable of producing some 200,000 assorted vegetable seedlings monthly. These seedlings are sold at P2.

Fruits

What was once a quiet and quaint community in the outskirts of San Ildefonso, Basuit is now known as the Vegetable Basket of the municipality, thanks to Daisy and other vegetable growers in the area.

Under Daisy’s leadership, the group has formed the Basuit Farmers Multi-Purpose Cooperative to get better prices for their produce. They are also connected with DA’s Direct Market Linkage Program which enables them to sell their produce at bagsakan centers and food terminals minus the middlemen thus giving them a much higher profit.

Profits

Small seeds, when properly nurtured and cared for, turn into big fruits, and in Daisy’s case big big profits. Daisy was able to acquire half a hectare of land, a truck, an owner-type jeep, a motorcycle, and a 4x4 pick-up truck with the earnings from her agricultural endeavors. She is also able to provide quality education to her three children aged 12 – 17 years as well as employment to the women in her community.

Nowadays, Daisy not only sells her seedlings to other vegetable growers but also gives lectures on her tested technology and marketing strategy. She even gets to travel to share her knowledge and success.

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