By Zac B. Sarian

Some farm owners are busy with other money-making activities so they don’t have the time to manage their own farms. So what to do? Do what Sergio Calma, 61, of Talavera, Nueva Ecija has been doing. He owns six hectares of rice land in different places, but because he and his wife are busy attending to their stall at the public market, Sergio got a joint venture (JV) partner to grow rice for him.

We visited last Sept. 13, 2019 his two-hectare rice farm in Brgy. San Ricardo, Talavera, and he was really happy because his US-88 hybrid rice crop managed by his JV partner was heavy with ripening grains that he expected to harvest a few days after our visit. And he was very pleased with his farmer partner, who managed the rice crop from planting until harvest time.

Calma said he did not spend for the seeds because they were given by the government as an incentive to grow hybrid varieties. He observes that US-88 is a very robust variety. The seedlings that were planted when they were 25 days old were tall and sturdy. The seedlings were manually transplanted at two seedlings per hill.

Sergio Calma (right) with Zac B. Sarian. Behind them is Sergio’s hybrid rice crop that was estimated to yield about seven tons or 140 cavans per hectare. The crop was ready for harvest a few days after the visit on Sept. 13, 2019.

Calma said he fertilizes his rice plants only once, applying only five bags of complete fertilizer (14-14-14) at planting time. Yet the rice plants were heavy with ripening grains. There was also no need to spray pesticides because there was neither insect infestation nor disease occurrence.

What are the terms of their partnership? The farmer, Calma said, gets 10 percent of the harvest. Harvesting is by machine, which is paid nine cavans per 100 cavans harvested. The palay is bagged in the field, which has to be brought to the roadside. Hauling the palay costs Calma R18 per sack. With the right variety and proper management, rice farming can be rewarding, according to Calma.

Now you see, if you own a rice farm and you don’t have the time to do your own farming, you can engage a farmer to manage the farm for you like what Sergio Calma is doing.

This appeared in Agriculture Monthly’s November 2019 issue.