Farmer Diosdado beats the odds with improved pumpkin seeds
Diosdado Agustin Dela Cruz considers himself a risk-taker. “I would still grow pumpkins even during rainy seasons,” the 46-year-old pumpkin farmer shared.
The married father of two owns a 3.5 hectare farm in Kasibu, a municipality in the Nueva Vizcaya province of the Philippines. Dela Cruz shared that he grew up in poverty, so he knows how to persevere and to take risks.
Despite the many risks related to growing pumpkins--poor germination, insects, difficult topography, and the lack of available laborers during harvesting-- Dela Cruz wagers on farming to continue their family’s tradition and his parents’ legacy. “I inherited farming from my parents, from whom I learned the value of the land and how to utilize it to make a living for my family. I am devoted to farming as my work and source of income,” he said.
Dela Cruz’s risk-taking ways have paid off. He has been beating the odds regularly and has now grown tremendously--going from an average monthly income of 10,000 pesos (200 USD) to 30,000 (600 USD) or 50,000 (1,000 USD), depending on the market.
He attributes his success to investing in good seeds. “If you start with poor seeds, they won’t even germinate, and you waste your time and effort,” he said. Dela Cruz became acquainted with the good quality seeds of East-West Seed twenty years ago. “In the 90s, the Department of Agriculture had a seed dispersal program in our town and they gave us a small can of Suprema seeds that came from East-West Seed, and that’s how I learned of the company,” he said.
That chance encounter led him to grow more and more Suprema pumpkins. “The plant was healthy and performed very well in my hilly field. The Supremas are really what consumers want when they buy pumpkins in the market.”
Wagering on farming over the years has also made Dela Cruz a better farmer. He gained new skills and knowledge by learning new farming techniques.
“I learned to make use of technologies like seedling trays, plastic mulch, trellising, and better irrigation techniques especially in the hot summer time,” Dela Cruz said.
With his unwavering perseverance and determination to take risks, there is no doubt that Dela Cruz will continue to win big in farming.