​Making millionaires one seed at a time

It’s a common thought that farmers are the 2nd poorest members of the society next to fishermen. 

It’s also a common thought that they have it the hardest when it comes to livelihood with capitalists snaking their way from farm to farm.

What if we told you that is not the case anymore? What if we told you a private entity is the one making this happen?

What if we told you some of these farmers are already millionaires?

Such is the case for tatay Johnny Gatuz, 55, a farmer’s child, who once strayed away from the family business for greener pastures after realizing only a bleak future for him if he stayed.

He then ventured forth towards another country to look for a better tomorrow. This landed him a job in Saudi Arabia. While there, he realized that being an OFW is not easy coupled by the fact that he was not earning significantly, he flew back, settled down and discovered his going back to farming anew.

It all started out with just renting out half a hectare of land, borrowed capital and a handful of seeds. “I didn’t know how to do it properly. Half my crops would die since I didn’t know how to tend to them, I didn’t know the techniques.” Tatay Johnny recounted.

“For five years I attended seminars, trainings, and event pesticide events to learn more. From that ppint, I understood that it has just as mucj to do from where I source my seeds, to the condition of my soil, and how to care for each kind of crop,” continued Tatay Johnny.

“I had about a hectare and a half of land by then when I first started using East West Seeds, I doubled my yields in a next 6 momths right after discovering that their seeds are traditionally bred to be resilient to certain kinds of diseases. After ko that, it was only a matter of skills and determination that I learned how to quadruple crops just by adjusting how I care for them,” finished Tatay Johnny as he stood up to pick crops to show them off to us. “These kinds of yields, we have a “suki” (regular customer) that wants to exclusively sell my crops because it’s greener, or redder, or more plump just by the techniques I employ to grow them.”

It was even harder of Nanay Rowena when she first started out farming coming from a line of farmers. She had no idea what to do without land, without capital, without much behind their backs.

“We used to always cry because the seasoned farmers would laugh at our crops, they would insult our yields” recounts Nanay Rowena. “They don’t believe we can do better.”

Setting a dream for her and her husband, she promised him “dibale, magiging atin mga lupang yan,” (don’t worry, we’ll own those lands in the future,) as they ventured into farming.

Starting with P50,000 which they borrowed left and right from neighbors and relatives, they rented out half a hectare of farmland and planted sitaw and ampalaya seeds.

Nanay Rowena and husband Jun Are now proud owners of 7 hectares of the same lands that used to laugh at them. Additionally, they made a million two years ago with just a hectare of land with corn seeds from East West Seed that proved resilient under Typhoon Nona way back that destroyed crops from other farms.

“We were the only ones with corn in the area back then. It took 48 hours of non-stop harvesting and counting with truck after truck of buying our crops,” shares Nanay Rowena. “We didn’t sleep as every truck that went past pays me P150,000. Afterwards, we were surpised that a million pesos in cash lays before us. All our efforts paid off.”

“It is with farmers like Tatay Johnny and Nanay Rowena that East West Seed continues to do what we do to help out all our farmers in providing a partnership and cooperation that build more lives and homes. That is why, on our 35th year, we chose to look for and celebrate the same farmers who have been trusting us to grow their crops,” proudly announces Mary Ann Sayoc, East-West Seed General Manager.

East-West Seed hopes to inspire more people to take up farming and to tell everyone that farming is a profitable means of income. “We do this by making farming easy and accessible and providing all our farmers the right kind of seeds and teach modern techniques,” Sayoc continues.

East-West Seed is  one of the 10 largest vegetable seed companies in the world that has 15 R&D establishments and 10 sees processing facilities in 7 countries.

What do you think you can do with a seed? Let us know at the comments section.

Mabuhay, Manila.

Drew Uy

I do words, food, coffee, and photos. Hit me up on Twitter @ginuhit

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