Or­ganic pork at Ur­ban Agri trade show

Agriculture - - Contents -

AN EN­TER­PRIS­ING OR­GANIC FARM­ING EN­TRE­PRE­NEUR is now pro­duc­ing pro­cessed or­ganic pork prod­ucts. Called Pork­ganic, the pro­cessed pork prod­ucts were show­cased at the re­cent Ur­ban Agri­cul­ture trade show in Que­zon City.

The pro­cessed or­ganic pork prod­ucts in­clude tapa, to­cino, and long­gan­isa. Of course, there are fresh or­ganic cuts like pork chops, liempo, pigue, pork legs for crispy pata, head and neck for sisig, and many oth­ers. For a start, these are now de­liv­ered to clients in Metro Manila and some dis­trib­u­tors in prov­inces around the big city.

Com­mer­cial pro­duc­tion of or­ganic pork is the lat­est idea of Ron­ald Costales, the fel­low who gave up a high-pay­ing job at an IT com­pany to be­come an or­ganic farmer, start­ing with a mod­est farm in 2005 in Ma­jay­jay, La­guna. He has since be­come the most pop­u­lar com­mer­cial or­ganic farmer in the coun­try who has re­ceived var­i­ous awards for ex­cel­lence in or­ganic agri­cul­ture. What is re­mark­able about him as an en­tre­pre­neur is that he keeps on of­fer­ing new prod­ucts and ser­vices.

At the start, he spe­cial­ized in salad veg­eta­bles which he sup­plied in big vol­umes to up­scale restau­rants in Metro Manila. Even­tu­ally, he found out that his cus­tomers didn’t only need or­ganic veg­eta­bles, they also wanted to have, on their menu, or­ganic eggs, chicken, beef, and pork.

To raise or­ganic pigs, he for­mu­lated his own fer­mented feeds us­ing rice bran, mo­lasses for fer­ment­ing and a lot of nu­tri­tious for­age crops like Su­per Napier, Madre de Agua, and Indigofera. With the fer­mented feeds which are all nat­u­ral, the pigs grow fast at less cost than when or­di­nary com­mer­cial feeds are used.

In the be­gin­ning, he used to sell only fresh cuts of pork to his clients, which in­cluded a well-known store

of healthy food. He also sup­plied or­ganic le­chon. When he ob­served that there was a ready mar­ket for healthy or­ganic pork (or­ganic), he put up a mod­est pig­gery that could meet the de­mand at that time. Then he re­al­ized that there was ex­cel­lent po­ten­tial in adding value to his pork.

That is why he has come up with pro­cessed ready-to-cook pork. A fa­vorite is the or­ganic pork tapa. There’s much value added when the meat is pro­cessed. A choice cut of fresh pork usu­ally sells for about R300 a kilo. But when made into tapa (via a min­i­mal pro­cess­ing cost, its value eas­ily dou­bles. At present, a 250-gram pack of tapa sells for R150, which trans­lates to R600 per kilo. Costales also makes or­ganic to­cino and long­gan­isa. Just the same, there is sig­nif­i­cant value added.

A few months back, Costales was just slaugh­ter­ing two or three fat­ten­ers a week. Today, they are butcher­ing an av­er­age of 40 head a week. And the num­ber is ex­pected to in­crease soon be­cause he has just started sign­ing up dis­trib­u­tors in prov­inces near Manila like Bu­la­can and Pam­panga and will soon set up a distri­bu­tion cen­ter in Que­zon City.

He is very con­fi­dent that or­ganic pork will also sell in the prov­inces where there are well-to-do peo­ple. And the dis­trib­u­tors will work hard in sell­ing these be­cause they re­ceive a lot of in­cen­tives, ac­cord­ing to Ron­ald.

Ron­ald is not wor­ried that he will run out of a sup­ply of or­ganic pigs. He is ex­pand­ing his own pig farm. And un­der a project fi­nan­cially sup­ported by the Depart­ment of So­cial Wel­fare and Devel­op­ment (DSWD), 40 fam­i­lies have been trained by Costales to grow or­ganic pigs, and he is buy­ing all their pro­duc­tion at a price higher than the pre­vail­ing price in the mar­ket.

“Pork­ganic” is a bright idea, if you ask us.— ZAC B. SARIAN

Costales with ro­bust Indigofera, a nu­tri­tious for­age for pigs and other an­i­mals.

Fat­ten­ers feast­ing on or­ganic vegetable scraps at Costales Na­ture Farms.

The Costales booth at the Ur­ban Agri trade show.

The com­pany’s sig­nage at the Ur­ban Agri trade show.

Cook­ing or­ganic pork tapa.

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