DOST helps farmer succeed in or­ganic food pro­duc­tion

Agriculture - - Contents - BY RITCHIE MAE L. GUNO

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.

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