Former OFW plants success in mechanized farming

The Philippine Star
Former OFW plants success in mechanized farming

HAMTIC, Antique, Philippines  – Melbert Gabriel Fadrigo sailed oceans and seas for seven years before deciding to retire and return to his family’s rice and corn farm in this town. With the help of Land Bank of the Philippines (Landbank), Fadrigo availed of the Agricultural Competitiveness Enhancement Fund (ACEF) for the acquisition of his brand new four-wheeled tractor with rotavator.

The youngest among three siblings, Fadrigo learned of the hardships that come with the manual tilling of land at an early age, accompanying his father plant rice and corn seeds in their 12-hectare agricultural land while he was still in high school.

Back then, farming was laborious. Plowing a hectare of their land took two to three days using their trusted carabao. It also cost them more as their improvised tractors required more crude oil to run, more workers to operate, and more time to cultivate their land as compared to modern tractors.

Before turning to full-time farming, Fadrigo first tried his luck as a cook in a cargo ship in 2010. Even then, he knew that his father needed someone who could continue their family’s legacy in farming.

Fadrigo finally decided to take over the management of the family’s farm from his father in 2017. But he knew that he needed to adopt modern technology in order to increase their farm’s productivity.

Then came Landbank which assisted Fadrigo in reaching for his aspiration to mechanize their farming methods. A year after he decided to become a full-time farmer, Fadrigo’s application for the ACEF program was approved by Landbank Antique satellite office, making him the first-ever ACEF availer in the province. This enabled him to procure a P900,000 worth of tractor.

Since Fadrigo acquired the tractor, their productivity and income significantly increased. From spending two to three days for land preparation, they can now complete the job in just two hours for one hectare of land.

Using his tractor, he was also able to earn extra income by servicing neighbouring farms in the localities of Hamtic, San Jose, Sibalom, and Tobias Fornier, which he charges for P3,000 to P6,000 depending on the land size.

And since availing of the ACEF program, he has employed six regular farm workers to man their farm and operate their equipment.

Moving forward, Fadrigo hopes to expand his business to rice trading by acquiring his own solar and mechanical dryers, and warehouse, also with the help of Landbank.

The ACEF lending program is a joint program of the Department of Agriculture and LANDBANK which aims to provide necessary credit to farmers and fishers, their cooperatives and associations, and micro and small enterprises to increase their productivity, and to enhance the competitiveness of agricultural players.

Interested borrowers may contact Landbank’s programs management department  at 8-522-0000 locals 7450, 2992, 2804 or go to the nearest Landbank lending center for more information.


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