Undergraduate Finds Luck In Seed Growing
Although he did not finish college, Eduardo Q. Valdez, 48 of Brgy. Faigal, Guimba, Nueva Ecija is now one of the successful seed growers in his town.

In1983, when Eduardo married his wife Imelda, his parents gave him a two-hectare farm land as a wedding gift. However, he was faced with problems like lack of capital, high interest rates among loan providers and high cost of fertilizer and other farm inputs in managing the land.

This was the reason why he tried to work as laborer in other farms and earned profit on a percentage basis to sustain the expenses in his farm. He also worked as harvesters in nearby towns whenever harvest time comes in order to get additional income.

Because of accepting odd jobs, he was able to save money and stood on his own.

He is now managing a 20-hectare farm planted with registered seeds. His average yield is 120 to 150 bags per hectare. While he is devoting this area in palay production, he only owns 6 hectares. This is because many land owners in his town have mortgaged their farm to him.

Later on, his income from farming enabled him to acquire properties and equipment like threshers, hand tractors, seed cleaner, service vehicles, a lot for his two-storey residential and commercial building, put up a multi-purpose drying pavements and a warehouse with 1,800 bags capacity. More importantly, this venture also helped him send his children to school.

One of the many problems of small farmers today is where to get funds to support their farming activities. Microfinance has proven its worth as a strong alliance of small and medium entrepreneurs and farmers including Edgardo in their business endeavor.

In 2003, Imelda sought financial assistance from Alalay Sa Kaunlaran, Inc. (ASKI) to start a beauty product dealership.

As a new client, Imelda was initially given P5,000 and she used this amount in selling beauty products. Because of her good record, her partnership with ASKI continued and they qualified to avail of ASKI's other programs including the agricultural loan program.

Today, Eduardo and Imelda requested from ASKI a P200,000 loan as additional capital in their farming activities.

"Until now, farmers who avail of loans to individual creditors were given high interest rates. This is why when ASKI came, it was a big help to many farmers in our area because of the small interest it offers. We can now feel the fruits of our hard earned labor," says Eduardo.

He also said: "I am thankful to institutions like ASKI because of their sincerity in helping the farmers. If not for them, farmers will not rise above poverty."

Right now, he is selling his registered seeds at P1,000 and P1,200 per bag to the farmers and the government, respectively at 40 kilos per bag. The government shares a certain amount to the farmers in purchasing certified seeds as part of its seed subsidy program. Eduardo's average sales during the peak of planting season ranges from P70,000 to P100,000 each day.

Among these varieties include PSBRc18, NSIc222, NSIc160, NSIc216, NSIc152 and many others. These varieties were approved by the Philippine Rice Research Institute (PhilRice) and passed a seed inspector’s approval in their area before selling.
Eduardo attributed his success to hard work and perseverance coupled with knowledge as to what kind of seeds to plant and continuing search for the latest breakthroughs that could help him in his venture.

At present, he employs nine laborers to help him in his farm activities.

Eduardo is currently employed as technician at the Municipal Agriculture Office of Guimba. According to him, being successful does not only mean getting a good yield. Farmers must also think of where they will spend their money and get away from the one day millionaire mindset.
"I am thankful to institutions like ASKI because of their sincerity in helping the farmers. If not for them, farmers will not rise above poverty"
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