“My mind is like a machine that never stops working. All farmers must have a blue print of their dreams for them grow and flourish.” – Mr. Ruben M. Ragas, Cabadbaran City, Agusan del Norte.
Gone are those days when farming was exclusively meant for family’s daily consumption. Mr. Ruben M. Ragas, 46, from Cabadbaran City, Agusan del Norte shared how he ventured the profitable marriage of agriculture and entrepreneurship.
Ruben associated his old farming life with tremendous financial difficulty. Tilling his two (2) hectares corn plantation hardly met the basic needs of his family. He found plain farming with less monetary rewards and personally, a not-so satisfying work.
In 2006, the Agricultural Training Institute (ATI) – Caraga conducted the Farming System Development (FSD) Training for small-scale farmers. Ruben was then one of the participants with great desire to uplift his standard of living.
“If I were to trace the inception of my success, it was during the FSD training. The courage to plot my aspirations and improve productivity as farmer emanated from FSD,” Ruben said.
The Municipal Agriculture Office of Cabadbaran paved way to Ruben’s attendance to several trainings and seminars conducted by ATI and other DA- attached agencies. With the knowledge and skills acquired from trainings, Ruben took a paradigm shift in farming.
He then expanded his land area to 3.5 hectares adopting an Integrated Diversified Farming System. Aside from corn farming, he engaged into livestock and poultry raising, vegetable and fruit trees production, fish pond, and many others.
The diversity and abundance of his produce flared interest to enter the market. Ruben employs Price Monitoring Chart as marketing strategy. He keeps lists of vegetable/fruit prices, as closely monitored from the neighbouring cities/provinces. With his supportive wife, Ruben prepares farm plan and budget to estimate the profitability of his agricultural endeavors.
Ruben took advantage of the market opportunities and market demand of his produce. He maintained competitive edge amongst the market competitors in his locality.
“In my farm, you can see the veggies that we sing in Bahay Kubo. What you don’t see is the bahay kubo itself. This is the power of agripreneurship, it takes you to higher standard of living,” Ruben imparted.
Ruben was able to build a concrete and comfortable shelter for his family. As agriprenuer, he meets the expensive demand of education to his four (4) kids and supports the mini lending business of his wife.
At present, Ruben manages the Gulayan sa Paaralan at Saghan Elementary School. With his knowledge and expertise in vegetable production, he was tapped as resource speaker during the 10th National Vegetable Congress held by the Department of Agriculture- RFO 13.
Modestly aside, Ruben is a recipient of several prestigious distinctions. To wit, he recognized as Ulirang Magsasaka-1st Runner-Up during the Gawad Pitak Awards 2014; 2015 Most Outstanding Agrarian Reform Beneficiary for Mindanao and 2013 Regional Gawad Saka Winner on High Value Crop Category.
As Barangay Agricultural Worker (BAW), Ruben shares his knowledge and best practices to his fellow farmers in the locality. In fact, his farm serves as a learning site among vegetable growers in Caraga and other neighbouring regions.
“These accolades are the blue prints I have crafted during the FSD Training. When you decide what to do something then just do it. Entrepreneurship in agriculture is one of the wisest decisions I’ve ever made.” Ruben quoted.