The won­ders of soya

Agriculture - - Contents -

AT FIRST, it was hard and rough sail­ing for Mer Layson, a pho­tog­ra­pher and an ac­tive me­dia prac­ti­tioner, un­til he de­cided to con­quer the open seas by be­com­ing a suc­cess­ful soy­bean pro­ces­sor. Tak­ing into con­sid­er­a­tion the fu­ture of their three grow­ing kids, Layson and his wife Mary Ann—also a me­dia prac­ti­tioner— con­cep­tu­al­ized a busi­ness ven­ture. This was the start of their 3K project in Septem­ber 2013.

“3K” stands for the names of their three chil­dren: Kyla, Kyle, and Kevin. The cou­ple now pro­duces soya milk and soya cof­fee un­der the brand name 3K.

It was a hard and la­bo­ri­ous jour­ney for Layson be­cause he be­longed to a large but poor farmer-fam­ily in Mex­ico, Pam­panga. As a re­sult, he learned to till the soil at an early age. When he was 16, he was forced to con­tinue cul­ti­vat­ing the 3-hectare agri­cul­tural land which was (at that time) owned by the gov­ern­ment, af­ter his fa­ther suf­fered from an ill­ness.

De­spite his dif­fi­cul­ties, Layson bravely con­tin­ued to face the chal­lenges of life with a pos­i­tive outlook and con­stant prayers.

A NEW CA­REER An an­nounce­ment over the ra­dio about a train­ing pro­gram for soy­bean pro­duc­tion and pro­cess­ing to be con­ducted in Nueva Ecija started Layson and his wife on their new ca­reer. He de­cided to at­tend the pro­gram, which was ini­ti­ated by the Philip­pine Cen­ter for Posthar­vest Devel­op­ment and Mech­a­niza­tion (PHilMech) in partnership with the Pam­panga of­fice of the Agri­cul­tural Train­ing In­sti­tute (ATI) of the Depart­ment of Agri­cul­ture (DA). The Golden Beans Pro­duc­ers Co­op­er­a­tive, of which Layson is a mem­ber, also par­tic­i­pated in the train­ing.

Dur­ing the pro­gram, each par­tic­i­pant re­ceived 10 ki­los of soy­beans. Layson tried to process his share into sev­eral prod­ucts like soya milk and pastil­las at home, where his fam­ily wel­comed the prod­ucts. “[On] an­other oc­ca­sion, the Depart­ment of Agri­cul­ture pro­vided 10 kilo­grams of soy­bean seeds. I planted the seeds in my farm in Mex­ico, Pam­panga, as in­ter­crop to corn,” he said.

Then, the rest is his­tory. The cou­ple’s 3K busi­ness ven­ture was launched in 2013 af­ter they started to pro­duce soya milk and soya cof­fee.

At first, the cou­ple tried to con­cen­trate on mak­ing pastil­las, but it be­came too la­bo­ri­ous to pro­duce, so they fo­cused their re­sources on soya milk and soya cof­fee pro­duc­tion, us­ing or­di­nary blenders as equip­ment. They chose to pro­duce the two prod­ucts for their health ben­e­fits, and be­cause they had a source of raw ma­te­ri­als: their own farm, called Layson Farms.

Layson’s farm now or­gan­i­cally pro­duces about 120 sacks of soy­beans per crop­ping, enough to sup­ply the needs of the

cou­ple’s ven­ture.

In the be­gin­ning, they ped­dled their prod­ucts on foot, go­ing around the neigh­bor­hood and the nearby ar­eas of Paco, Manila. Af­ter a while, the cou­ple was able to ac­quire a tri­cy­cle and a sec­ond-hand car to de­liver their prod­ucts to dis­trib­u­tors.

The Laysons now have a brand-new util­ity sports ve­hi­cle which they also use to de­liver soya milk and soya cof­fee to their clients. Layson says he owes his suc­cess to God, to whom he never fails to pray and thank. “I al­ways put God above any­thing else,” he shared.

Layson added that with­out the timely help and as­sis­tance of PhilMech, they would not have the equip­ment they needed to pro­duce soya milk and soya cof­fee. “PhilMech trained me, and even lent the nec­es­sary equip­ment for me to pro­duce soya milk. 3K would not have been pos­si­ble with­out the as­sis­tance of PhilMech.”

He also ex­pressed his grat­i­tude to the gen­eros­ity of the PhilMech of­fi­cials led by Di­rec­tor Rex Bingabing, Dr. Babes Dela Cruz, Dr. Celia Uy Reyes-An­tolin, and Jay Neric.

The 3K ven­ture now pro­duces at least 250 bot­tles of soya milk daily, which they sell at a very rea­son­able price. The soya milk is very de­li­cious to drink, es­pe­cially when re­frig­er­ated.

MANY BEN­E­FITS A re­port showed that soya milk is like a com­plete pro­tein and has the same amount of pro­tein as cow’s milk; it can re­place an­i­mal pro­tein and other sources of di­etary fiber, vi­ta­mins, and min­er­als. But un­like cow’s milk, soya milk has lit­tle sat­u­rated fat and no choles­terol. It also men­tioned that soya milk con­tains no lac­tose, which makes it an al­ter­na­tive for those who are lac­tose-in­tol­er­ant.

The 3K ven­ture has gen­er­ated em­ploy­ment op­por­tu­ni­ties for sev­eral work­ers. En­ter­pris­ing in­di­vid­u­als have also ben­e­fited from the Laysons’ 3K project by sell­ing its two prod­ucts in their re­spec­tive ar­eas.

Fol­low­ing the suc­cess which the Layson fam­ily achieved, Layson has be­come a phi­lan­thropist, con­duct­ing feed­ing pro­grams in dif­fer­ent ar­eas to ben­e­fit the less for­tu­nate. He also con­ducts free liveli­hood op­por­tu­nity sem­i­nars ev­ery Fri­day, dur­ing which en­trepreneur­ship and devel­op­ment pro­grams are shared and dis­cussed.

Those who would like to par­tic­i­pate in the sem­i­nars may get in touch with Mer Layson through mo­bile num­ber 63917.8675197.

Layson at the gate lead­ing to his farm in Mex­ico, Pam­panga.

Mer Layson shows part of his soya plan­ta­tion at his farm in Pam­panga.

Layson proudly shows a bot­tle of the com­pany’s Soya Cof­fee. It is a healthy al­ter­na­tive for those who want to drink cof­fee with­out the caf­feine.

Layson shows a bot­tle of frozen soya milk from one of the sev­eral freez­ers which the com­pany ac­quired fol­low­ing the suc­cess of the fam­ily’s busi­ness ven­ture.

One of the work­ers who ben­e­fit­ted from the 3K ven­ture is shown grind­ing the soya beans which will be pro­cessed into soya milk.

The soya bean grinder which was pro­vided by the Philip­pine Cen­ter for Posthar­vest Devel­op­ment and Mech­a­niza­tion (PhilMech) .

Juvy Panue­los (far left), a 49-year-old am­bu­lant ven­dor from Deparo in Caloocan City, is one of the many clients of Layson who started to pa­tron­ize 3K Soya Cof­fee, say­ing that it im­proved his health and pro­vided him with ex­tra en­ergy that helped him en­dure the scorch­ing heat of the sun while sell­ing kitchen uten­sils in the streets. Left photo shows Panue­los and Layson shar­ing a light mo­ment at 3K out­let in Paco, Manila.

Layson now pro­duces a healthy al­ter­na­tive to cof­fee – the 3K Herbal Blend Soya Cof­fee.

The soya milk be­ing pro­duced by 3K is also avail­able in choco­late fla­vor.

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