His profession was nursing, but his calling was different. Lito Arenas went back home,Â after finishing a nursing course, to pursue something closer to his heart â€“ raising mangoes in his hometown in Manaoag, Pangasinan.
That was years ago. Now, he is one of the biggest suppliers of mangoes in the country, which proves that he made the right decision. Litoâ€™s success story is one of Agriculture Secretaryâ€™s Arthur Yapâ€™s favorite anecdotes, which he often shares to aspiring entrepreneurs and students.
His assignments when he was still a young boy include cutting grasses, picking and cleaning mangoes in his fatherâ€™s farm. He is also tasked to tend their fruit stall at the Manaoag public market in the afternoon after his school.
Because of his experience and familiarity with the trade, he chooses to engage in mango farming, trading, and processing instead of pursuing a nursing career. He started with a P2,500 capital, which he used to buy and sell mangoes.
But he was not contented with just trading mangoes, he wants to grow them himself. Going all the way to Batac, Ilocos Norte, he searched for the best mango planting materials for his three-hectare farm in Manaoag.
Initial frustrations were brought by the high cost of fertilizers and other inputs. Not to be set back by here hurdles, he was able to get financial support from creditors with the help of the Department of Agriculture (DA).
He attended several trainings for him to know more about mango growing and the industry itself, as well as to hone his entrepreneurialÂ skills, trainings which later would prove helpful to him. He has made his mango farm productive.
He was also able to put up a processing plant that makes dried mangoes which they deliver to domestic and export markets. Because of the plant, he was able to provide jobs to 200 Manaoag residents. With the help of his wife Ching, he is now also into producing mango seedlings, in partnership with the DAâ€™s Bureau of Plant Industry and UPLBâ€™S Institute of Plant Breeding.