By ZAC B. SARIAN
Sometime in the early 1990s, we visited the farm of Eddie Odsigue in Brgy. Aduas, Teresa, Rizal. It was quite a big farm planted to a wide variety of fruit trees and various short-term cash crops. What was most outstanding that we noticed was that it was so far the biggest farm that we had visited with jackfruit numbering about 2,000 productive trees.
He was making good income from his jackfruit. He related that jackfruit trees don’t bear fruit uniformly. Some may bear just a few fruits but there are others that would bear 20 or more fruits per tree. On the average, each marketable fruit weighed about 10 kilos.
He revealed that each tree yielded an average of eight marketable fruits in one year. At that time, he was selling his fruits at R15 per kilo or R150 pesos per fruit. That was a good price because the peso had not yet depreciated much.
Aside from his jackfruit, Eddie made money from various cash crops that he planted in between the jackfruit and his other trees. These included bananas, gabi, peanut, various vegetables like eggplant, tomato, okra, ampalaya, patani, camote, and others. Every day, he would bring to the Antipolo market whatever he harvested from his farm. That could be worth a thousand pesos or more each day.
Eddie was really making good in his farm when we visited him. He had constructed a big house, had sent his children to college, and he had a swimming pool that was supplied with water from a spring about a kilometer away. He bought the place with a spring and piped in the water to his farm not only for the swimming pool but for watering his plants.
Eddie was a former tailor who sewed uniforms for the Army. He revealed that when Martial Law was declared in 1972, some of the Presidential Security Guards who had become his friends invited him to go to Teresa where they could settle and claim some public land. That’s what they did and got what they had wanted.
The soldiers had their own farm land and Eddie had his. It was difficult to develop the property because there was no water that was readily available. The soldiers also did their own farming. They planted various crops which perished during summer due to drought or due to fire. Their plants got burned. Eventually, the soldiers gave up.
In the case of Eddie, he persisted. He took pains in obtaining water to water his plants during the dry months. He soon found out that when the young trees have survived the hot summer, they will not perish. When the rains came in May, they got well established.
In 1978, exactly six years from the time Eddie occupied his lot in Teresa, he decided to give up being a tailor and become a full-time farmer. His persistence paid off and he became well off through farming.
Eddie who had no previous experience in growing crops beat the soldiers in the game called farming. So can you if you really want to.