Flowers for you! By its different fragrance, forms, colors, variety, beauty, and other classifications, flowers are one of the most gifts of nature. These are being served for gifts, souvenirs, medications and is used for decoration during occasions.
Cordillera region is a well-known supplier of different varieties of flowers apart from vegetables, particularly in the province of Benguet. This recognized us as I-Cordilleran as the main source of flowers and highland crops.
In Bauko, Mountain Province, most farmers are engaged in highland vegetable production. But, in Barangay Sadsadan, Mr. Randy Betayan started to manage cut flowers farm garden since 2015 up to present.
Way back during his college days, Betayan worked in flower farms in Ambiong, La Trinidad as part-time to support his financial needs in school. Also, he grew up in a family with farming as their primary source of income. This is where he got his knowledge and skills.
“Inrugik daytoy tapno maisimpa ti future ko. Siyak gamin ti inaudi nga anak ken mangkakadawa kada parents ko ta addan sarili nga pamilya dagiti kakabsat ko. Inpadas ko met idi nga nagtrabaho ti sabali ngem mas naragragsak ak latta ti kastoy nga trabaho. Ngem uray no adda ti current job ko tadta outside ket agaw-awidak latta ta para ditoy sabong ta kasapulan gamin nga maaywanan nga usto (I started this to build my future since I am the youngest sibling and I lived with my parents too because my eldest siblings have their own family. Also, I tried to enter another job, but I am happier in this kind of work. Although I have my current job, I find ways and time to go home to visit our cut flowers farm because it needs full care and attention), ” Badiwan shared. This inspired him to continually strive to beautify a better tomorrow along with his journey and for his family.
Why cut flowers? Despite the drops of sweat and aches of tiredness, Betayan marked this as his tranquilizer of yesterday’s exhaustion. Based on his observation, growing rados (variety of cut flowers) are more convenient and economical rather than planting highland vegetables. It also covered less area when it comes to the plantation and has lower operating expenses. As a result, it can reach high market demand and income, but it varies during peak seasons such as the celebration of special occasions and other purposes.
In contrast, he didn’t get any compliments from his co-farmers because they are unaware of how can flowers turn lives into colorful and blooming future. As he said, “no ditoy ket han da nga ma-appreciate ta puros vegetable lang gamin ti mula da ditoy, kunadan tupay nga apay makan kanu daytoy ngem syempre nu when it comes to income ket mas dakdakkel latta ti maala ditoy (they did not appreciate flower gardening here because they only plants vegetables and some are questioning if this is edible for food but it is more profitable).”
Further, he didn’t feel any doubts and hesitations because there are no competitors in Mt. Province but trying to compete when it sells to customers outside the province. After his harvest, he directly delivered to his sister, who also manages a flower shop in La Trinidad Vegetable Trading Post (LTVTP). His sister oversees supplying delivery outlets outside the region, particularly in Nueva Ecija, Cagayan, and Dangwa, Manila. She also sells to the different flower shop, funeral and wedding services, and other firms in some part of Baguio City and Benguet.
Indeed, dealing with this kind of firm requires proper care and full attention, considering that cut flowers are susceptible to any insect attack and storm and other factors brought by natural calamities. Thus, there is a need for thorough preparation before strong typhoon comes and is necessary to protect away from an insect pest.
DOST cares. DOST helps. As it stated in the mission of the Department of Science and Technology (DOST), it shall be the direction provider, leader, and coordinator of the country’s scientific and technological efforts, ensuring that these are geared and utilized in areas of maximum economic and social benefits for the people. Hence, one program of the department is to provide loan assistance to Micro Small and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs) through Small Enterprise Technology Upgrading Program (SETUP) to adopt technological innovations, improve products and services, increase productivity, and develop new products or sustain market niches.
Badewan’s family planted bell pepper as their vegetable crop, but due to inadequate equipment and minimal income, Randy Badewan decided to cultivate cut flowers in 2015. For the first three years, his prospect didn’t meet his expectations because of carelessness and lack of upgraded technology that will be used in gardening. At this time, Badewan asked loan assistance to SETUP to acquire innovated equipment to alleviate those factors that brought a low profit.
He then purchased one set of Drip Irrigation Kit, one equipment being used in the garden for irrigation purposes, it distributes nutrients efficiently to the plant’s root and allows to water specific plants intelligently without wasting water by spraying onto sidewalks and uncultivated soil.
As a result, flowers are now grown at its best and it improves the productivity of the firm and quality of products and services. No more hassle, and it leads the seedling to grow green and vigorous. It also marked his sales into high profit and observed high volume production.
“Mayat ta pinalaka na nga talaga ti trabaho ta nu awan daytoy ket everyday nga agpuspusitsit ti danum ken kritikal pay nu agtimpla ti abono ta maapektaran dagijay bulong ket matay ta daytoy ket uray nu adu ti maikabil nga abono ket kaya diay drip irrigation kit nga kontrolen ta agtedted lang idiay daga, isunga haan nga maapektaran diay bulong na (It is very efficient that it makes work easier and faster because without it, flowers must be sprinkled with water every day. It is also very helpful because the drip irrigation controlled the fertilizers being dropped into the flowers’ primary roots because it deters the leaves to become dry).”
During his first harvest using this equipment, he is about to produce high gross income compared on the first three consecutive years that he didn’t able to smell the success of his firm out of his efforts and patience. Though it is loan assistance, he believes that he will be able to return the money as he goes through and he didn’t think of it as a liability because therefore his firms became progressive even for a short period as he observed.
Producing cut flowers and other variance make our life colorful and with aromatic smell. Through the programs and services offered by DOST, this is the reasons why Badiwan earns full desire to continue striving and reaping for blooming prosperity amidst his sweats and tiredness.