By Zac B. Sarian

Instead of buying a farm, some people would rather rent one for their own very good reasons. Just like the late Teddy de Dios whom we often met at the Agri-Kapihan in the late 1980s. He was a scion of a well-to-do operator of a bus company and studied in a well known private university.

Although he did not study agriculture in college, he had a passion for agribusiness, particularly piggery and poultry. At the time of our meetings, he was operating a piggery and a broiler farm in rented farms in Antipolo City.

His favorite farms to rent were those that were closed down for various reasons. It could be that the feeds had become so expensive that it was no longer feasible for the owner to continue operating. It could also be that the founder had passed away and no one in the family was interested in continuing the business. The farm owner could have been the victim of his thieving managers so he had to close down. Or a labor problem could have prompted him to shut down the farm.

Anyway, there were many reasons for abandoning or closing down farms and Teddy was always on the look out for them. He had very good reasons for renting a farm that was abandoned. He pointed out that it needed much less capital to rehabilitate abandoned housing for swine or poultry than to build a new one. And he could start operating within a short period.

Also, old farms usually already have water source, electricity, fence, living quarters for farm workers and the like. Teddy also loved to rent abandoned livestock farms near Metro Manila because the market for his produce was near and so the cost of transporting the animals to the market is more affordable. Also it took him much less time to reach his farm project from where he lived in Quezon City.

Another advantage of renting a farm is that one does not have to pay for the land taxes. Another is that when the rented place has become seriously infected with diseases, the renter could always look for another place to rent elsewhere.

Bobby Guevara was another fellow who frequented the Agri- Kapihan at the old Manila Seedling Bank in Quezon City. He is a scion of a well-to-do family who had farms in eastern Rizal but he opted to rent the vacant space at the Ateneo University where he planted sweet corn. As far as we know, it was Bobby who popularized what is now called Japanese sweet corn, which is not really Japanese because the variety was developed in Taiwan.

Bobby loved the rented place because it was so strategic for marketing his harvests. Students, as well as everybody else, loved Bobby’s sweet corn. He used to quip that his sweet corn was the sweetest because he used the water from the canal from an adjacent girls’ school’. The urine of the Maryknollers, he said, made his Japanese corn supersweet. Of course, that was just a joke.

This appeared in Agriculture Monthly’s July 2018 issue.