DOST helps farmer succeed in organic food production
NICASIO F. ENGALLADO, a rice farmer, is an advocate of ecologically sound farming in Tongantongan, Valencia City, Bukidnon. In fact, recently, the Department of Agriculture (DA) gave an award to Engallado for being the National Organic Rice Achiever. Together with his wife Fatima, he started the company called Engallado’s Nature Farm and Natural Food Products in August 1997. The company’s focus is on the production of organic rice and its byproducts.
The farm’s main product is organically grown rice, which is sold commercially to local consumers at a reasonable price. Engallado’s Nature Farm and Natural Food Products likewise embarked on the production of homemade delicacies using its own organically grown rice as the main ingredient.
Soon, the company’s natural food products gained recognition from health conscious consumers. One of their products, barquirice, bagged the best delicacy award during the various food fair contests held in the cities of Malaybalay and Valencia.
Engallado recalls that in the past year of operation, it took them one day to manually process 45 packs (6 pieces per pack) of one product. The various seminars and fora attended by the owners motivated them to compete with makers of other pasalubong products, to make the company’s operations more efficient, and become a significant part of the food processing industry.
To obtain more know-how in their field, the company underwent a series of intensive training sessions on sustainable agriculture held by the Sustainable Agriculture Center of Xavier University (SAC-XU)-Ateneo de Cagayan, Cagayan de Oro City. The Department of Science and Technology (DOST) came into the Engallados’ lives through the Small Enterprise Technology Upgrading Program (SETUP). Through the program, the company received a number of DOST interventions, including the provision of food grade equipment, process improvement, and provision of packaging and labeling programs (product development).
With SETUP’s help, the company was able to produce, aside from barquillos, rice quiron (pulvorice) and rice buttons (cookies), and new products such as cuacoy (steamed rice), sara-sara (roasted rice), meringue, and piaya. The shift from manual to semi-mechanized production pushed the company’s daily production from 45 packs to 150 packs of barquirice; from 96 packs to 200 packs of pulvorice; and from 30 packs to 80 packs of sara-sara. The company’s product sales rose to a high of R1.5 million from R262,430 after the upgrade of its facilities.
The company also provides employment to the Engallados’ relatives as workers, both in the farm and in the production site. Part of the couple’s dream is for people to not just buy their products but to buy organic products for benefits these offer.
With DOST’s technology intervention and the company’s hard work using this technology, the couple’s dream is slowly becoming a reality for Engallado’s Nature Farm and Natural Food Products.
National Organic Rice Achiever Nicasio Engallado shows one of his company’s awardwinning products, barquirice, among other products under the Engallado’s Nature Farm and Natural Food Products brand.