Farmer–agripreneur leads a vegetable–based cooperative in San Ildefonso, Bulacan

Duran's Flower Farm

Desiree “Daisy” Duran, a 48-year old lady farmer–agripreneur from Basuit, San Ildefonso, Bulacan, is the owner of the Duran Farm Agribusiness and Training Center Association, Inc. (DFATCAI), formerly known as Duran Farm. She is a fishball vendor turned agripreneur.

Her name––Desiree––has a very significant role in the success of Duran Farm and in her being a very successful farmer–agripreneur, maybe because the farm’s core values have the acronym “DESIRE” which stands for Determined, Empowered, Systematic, Innovative, Reasonable, and Environment friendly.

Daisy became a very successful farmer–agripreneur with the application of D.E.S.I.R.E. in her newfound and chosen farming career. In fact, she gained the accolade of “Seedling Queen of Bulacan.”

Her success in farming was achieved through the assistance of the Department of Agriculture (DA), a State College, a private company, and the Local Government Units (LGUs).

As a successful farmer–agripreneur, she has assisted other farmers and initiated the organization of a cooperative in their place to get better profit from their vegetable products.

Duran’s Flower Farm

Daisy’s success story

Daisy confessed that she just finished elementary school. Her desire to be well-off in life led her to sell fish balls and cold drinks in front of their home in Basuit, for 12 years of her married life.

In 2001, she gained her first hand knowledge in vegetable production after her participation in the “Training on Off-season Vegetable Production” sponsored by the Bulacan Agricultural State College (BASC), in cooperation with the Department of Agriculture Regional Field Unit III (DA–RFU-III), Offices of the Provincial Agriculturist of Bulacan and Municipal Agriculturist of San Ildefonso.

She started in vegetable production out of a loan from the DA in the form of tomato seeds, seedling trays, and plastic mulch, amounting to P10,000.00. She planted tomatoes in her 1,000 square meters (sqm) area in their backyard. Her first cropping gave her a P70,000.00 gross income. She decided to give up her fishball business and totally concentrated on vegetable production.

In 2003, she started producing seedlings for sale to other farmers who do not have the luxury of time to produce their own seedlings. She initially germinated 25 grams of Diamante tomato seeds worth P720.00 that produced 5,000 seedlings. “I am happy and grateful that my townmate, Max Francisco, bought all my seedlings for P10,000.00. Because of the high return on investment, I continued in producing tomato seedlings and I also produced seedlings of eggplant, hot and sweet pepper, ampalaya, upo, patola, including Sinta papaya,” Daisy said in Tagalog. “As my showcases, I constructed model low-cost seedling nurseries and modern greenhouses for seedling production,” she added.

Later, she built seedling kiosks in her farm and along the national highway to serve as

outlets of her seedlings. Then she managed to convert a one-hectare rainfed rice land into vegetable plantation where she planted eggplant, ampalaya, squash, hot and sweet pepper, cucumber tomato, and patola. She intercropped her vegetable plantation with Sinta papaya.

“Because of good income from my agribusiness, I was able to buy a truck, an owner–type jeepney, a motorcycle and a 4×4 pick–up,” Daisy said.

Aerial view of Duran Farm.

Vegetable basket of Bulacan

After 19 years, Daisy has transformed her farm into “The Vegetable Paradise of Bulacan” and an “Agritourism Destination in Central Luzon.” Inspired by this, more farmers followed her lead and consequently, the town of San Ildefonso has become the “Vegetable Basket of Bulacan.”

Duran Farm was renamed into Duran Farm Agribusiness and Training Center Association, Inc. (DFATCAI). It promotes sustainable agriculture through organic vegetable production.

DFATCAI is a Technical Education and Skills Development Authority’s (TESDA’s) accredited agriculture training institute and the Department of Tourism’s certified farm tourism destination. It conducts seminar-workshops on urban agriculture, backyard vegetable gardening, raising of organic hogs and chicken, and vermicomposting, among others.

Vegetable–based cooperative

“I initiated the organization of the San Ildefonso Vegetable Multipurpose Cooperative to get a better bargain for our products. As the coordinator, I strived very hard to collaborate with the DA’s direct market linkage program, which allowed us to sell our produce at the bagsakan center and food terminal without the intervention of middlemen, which increased our profits,” says Duran.

According to Daisy, “the daily routine of the coop members include––At 5:00 am, coop members start harvesting their crops. Then they will deliver those in the sorting area. Sorting and packing must have been done by 7:00 am. From 7:30 to 8:00 am, loading is done to around 100 trucks with 5 tons of vegetables per truck. The process involves more than 1,000 farmers from the 3,000 hectares of vegetable farms in our place.”

Duran Farm’s development

Out of their 3.6-hectare landholding, Daisy maintains a 5,000 sqm-lot for vegetable

production; another 5,000 sqm for fishpond surrounded with fruit bearing trees; 2,000 sqm for poultry and livestock––native and free-range chicken, ducks, pigs; 600 sqm for sources of water––water impounding area, shallow tube well and windmill; two hectares for palay seed production––harvesting twice a year; and 3,400 sqm for the buildings––training center and dormitories.

It has four dormitory houses that can accommodate 48 persons. Each house is named after the Philippine folk song “Bahay Kubo” –– House 1– Bahay, House 2–Kubo, House 3–Kahit and House 4–Munti.

The farm also has a rest house and a Pasalubong shop that serves as outlet of DFATCAI products.

Daisy Duran in front of her booth at an expo.

Awards and recognition

“Among the many awards and recognition received by Duran, the most prestigious and memorable was the “Unsung Women Heroes Award” given by Soroptimist International of the Philippines Region (A Foundation), Inc. in 2009,” Daisy says.

On top of all these, “my greatest accomplishments in life, which are more than the awards themselves, were providing quality education to my three children, and a decent livelihood to our women in the locality,” she adds.

The elementary graduate and a fishball vendor turned agripreneur has this to say: “You just have to see the potential of what is already around you and start making things happen for yourself.”

With that in mind, no wonder why Daisy Duran became a very successful vegetable farmer–agripreneur.

Photos courtesy of DFATCAI

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