Born and raised in the rural area of Barangay Cabangkalan, Sta. Fe, Leyte and getting to grips with manual and conventional rice production was initially a “toxic job” for 51-year old Lorenzo C. Caca, Jr.
He used to hate the life his parents had brought them up as young kids.
Planting rice was no fun and life in the farm was difficult, especially since their one-hectare farm only produced 30 cavans. His father was a practitioner of conventional farming technology that “was a waste of time, money and effort”, recalls Lorenzo.
But he was not discouraged. Instead of leaving the farm, his sense of optimism provided hope that someday there would be change. He held on to his firm belief that someday he would learn better technology to improve his harvest with lesser efforts.
“As a child, I saw my father’s contentment even with just a 30-bag harvest from our one-hectare rice area,” Lorenzo muses. “I just came to realize that what we’ve been doing couldn’t provide any decent income to the family due to our very low harvests,” he disclosed.
One of every farmer’s biggest problems in rice production, is capital. Thus, when the Leyte government launched the MIC Rice (More Income in the Countryside thru Rural Infrastructure and Community Empowerment project, Lorenzo repeatedly borrowed money to defray the production cost for over four cropping seasons.
“This had helped me a lot in expanding my production area to ten hectares. These areas are family-owned, some are from my parents and the rest are on lease. These are situated in Brgys. Cabangkalan, Pilit and San Isidro all in the municipality of Sta. Fe,” he said.
Lorenzo, a father of two, is quite popular among fellow farmers in Leyte particularly in his hometown and nearby municipalities of Alangalang, Palo, Dagami, Burauen, Pastrana, Baybay and other towns in the first and second congressional districts.
Lorenzo has become a hybrid rice farmer producing more than 200 bags per hectare. He also diversified to other farm crops such as high-value vegetables and bananas, besides raising carabaos and swine.
He also became a licensed fertilizer and pesticide distributor, venturing into agri-supply business primarily to have ready access to agricultural inputs.
This self-made farmer owns Eleven Jay Fox Agri Supply in Sta. Fe. To cap his achievements in rice farming, he was adjudged as Most Outstanding Regional Hybrid Rice Farmer during the 2017 Gawad Saka Search conducted by the Department of Agriculture Regional Office 8 (Francis C. Rosaroso, RAFIS Chief)