By Zac B. Sarian
There are numberless opportunities in making an honest income through farming. There are limitless possibilities for those who are smart enough to spot income-producing projects.
One that has become a good moneymaker for enterprising people—for big as well as small operators—is producing vegetable seedlings that are ready for planting by whoever wants to grow crops but is not experienced to produce seedlings of high-value varieties.
The pioneer in the commercial production of vegetable seedlings for sale is East-West Seed, now one of the Top 10 vegetable seed companies in the world. It introduced in a large way the production of seedlings for sale with what it calls “Farm Ready Seedlings.” These are grown in plastic trays that are very convenient for buyers to handle.
Among the vegetables that East-West produces by the millions each year include different varieties of sweet and hot peppers, tomato, eggplant, cucumber, ampalaya (including grafted ones), cucumber, and pumpkin. Aside from vegetables, the company also germinates seedlings of highvalue crops like different hybrid papayas, watermelon, and melons.
Not long after, enterprising individuals followed suit. A lady in San Ildefonso, Bulacan is now a big grower of seedlings for sale. Other entrepreneurs doing the same can be found in Pampanga, Northern Luzon, and even in the Visayas and Mindanao.
Now, AANI (Agri-Aqua Network, Inc.), which has an urban farm at the Kingsville Court Subdivision (No. Earl St.) along Sumulong Highway in Antipolo is doing something different. It is not producing seedlings for sale. Instead, it is producing vegetables in black plastic nursery bags that are already fruiting or about to bear fruit. The target buyers are subdivision residents who have some space in their yards to accommodate a number of potted vegetables that could provide them with fresh and healthful organically grown veggies.
These are grown in purely organic potting medium that consists of vermicompost, carbonized rice hull, and a little garden soil. No pesticides are used to protect the plants because there seems to be no need for it. When plants are strong and vigorous, they are able to resist stress and pests don’t seem to be active.
Tita Rubia, who is overseeing the workers, was very proud to show us the beautiful vegetables that were about to produce fruits as well as those that were already in fruit. Plants of the Diamante Max tomato variety from East-West have started to bear fruit and many of them are bearing clusters of young fruits.
Another interesting vegetable is the okra, which started fruiting barely over a month from planting. The technique in prolonging the productive life of okra plants is to remove the non-functional leaves down below. This will also make for better ventilation that can discourage fungal growth and pest infestation. Later, when the plant has attained its maximum height, it is topcut and fertilized with organic fertilizer applied in the soil as well as spraying with organic foliar fertilizer. This will produce new growth that will continue to produce fruits.
Plants of the Pangsigang peppers (Django) have also started bearing fruits. A similar treatment to the one recommended for okra will work wonders. The plants have to be regularly fertilized and the non-functional leaves below pruned.
Now, here is another project for you that could be a profitable venture.
This appeared in Agriculture Monthly’s May 2018 issue.