(Nomer Miranda, an ex-OFW in Saudi Arabia, finds calamansi growing and fruit production a better job than working abroad. He has ten hectares of plantation in Cabanatuan City. Photo by Elmo Roque)
CABANATUAN CITY – Realizing that working in Saudi Arabia was no longer as lucrative as before, Nomer Miranda, 50, decided to return home to this city of his birth in 2004.
With his little savings, he decided to cast his lot in growing and producing calamansi fruits. He bought a hectare of land in Barangay Bagong Sikat, a few kilometers from his home place.
Mastering the technique in growing and tending the plants, thru attending lecture- seminars and asking expert advice from those he found to be successful in the venture, his first harvest proved to be bountiful and the ex-farm price very attractive enough.
Today, he has 10 hectares of calamansi plantation in the same barangay. During peak season, which is from December to March, he sells his calamansi fruits at P1,000 to P1,500 per bag of 30 kg each bag.
He harvests from 700 to 800 bags per hectare. With just a harvest of 700 bags and selling it at P1,000 bags, he makes a princely sum of P700,000.
Multiply that to 10 hectares, and the whopping sum is his gross sales.
Miranda is one of the more successful calamansi producers in Bagong Sikat, the acknowledged “calamansi country” in this part of the city.
“Angkop po kasi ang lupa sa lugar na ito. Sandy-loam. (The land here is apt for growing calamansi trees and producing good fruits. It is sandy- loam),” Miranda said.
The place is near the mighty Pampanga River that snaked through this city from the northern most part of Nueva Ecija that empties through Bulacan, Pampanga and into the Manila Bay. No wonder, the land texture in the area is apt for citrus growing.
Miranda employs just a few workers to tend his plants. But during picking of the fruits time, he hires about 60 workers.
Planted at a distance of 3 x 3 meters, he uses as input 30 bags of urea and complete fertilizer per hectare. One problem, though, that he and his workers are guarding against is the scabbing of the fruits (or the presence of freckles) which downgrades the quality of the fruits.
Miranda said he markets his calamansi fruits in one of the public markets here. They are bought wholesale by those who are engaged in making calamansi juice, puree or powdered calamansi, he said.
He added that during off season, which starts in May, the harvested fruits slide down to P200 to P500 per bag.
Nevertheless, he said, this venture is “very good”.
“It is much, much better than seeking employment abroad,” Miranda said.