Money Makers AT THE EPHRATHAH FARMS
EDDIE CAÑUTO is an engineer turned tourist farm operator who knows how to spot a project that pays well. Formerly in the lucrative construction business in Manila, he gave up his business in 2005 and founded Ephrathah Farms in Badiangan, Iloilo, which boasts of many money-making projects. One of his newer projects is taking care of more than a thousand black Rhode Island layers that produce brown eggs.
He loves the brown egg-laying chicken because its eggs sell more than double the quantity of those from ordinary white leghorn eggs. He sells each at R12.50 in Iloilo. And from his flock of over a thousand layers, he collects 700 to 800 eggs daily.
The fowls roam in a net enclosure where they can pick small creatures from the ground as part of their daily meal. In the morning and in the late afternoon, they are fed with antibioticfree commercial feed. In between, they are fed grasses and chopped banana trunk as their ‘snack’. That lowers the cost of feeding.
His son Jonathan is a marketing genius who can sell all the eggs at a premium price together with the many other products that they produce in their 16-hectare diversified farm that has become a tourist destination. Eddie’s new plan is to produce a broiler type of colored chicken which he believes could also become a bestseller in Iloilo. RED LADY IS KING – Eddie admits that his first four years in farming were a disaster. He planted the wrong crops and he also did not know much about improved technologies. His big break came in 2009 when he met Arsenio “Toto” Barcelona of Harbest Agribusiness who suggested to him to try planting Red Lady papaya. Toto provided him with a technoguide which Eddie followed to the letter—then he became successful for the first time in his farming.
From 2009 to this day, Red Lady remains as a top earner for Ephrathah Farms. SM City in Iloilo is practically buying all the papaya produced by Eddie at a premium price of PhP 35 per kilo. Eddie is lucky because his papaya trees have never been infected by the ring spot virus.
As of this writing (May 17), Ephrathah Farms has 1,000 fruiting papaya trees that produced 1.6 tons in April which is below the requirements of SM supermarket. During peak months, the farm could produce up to three tons a month, according to Jonathan, who takes care of the processing and marketing. The current inventory includes 600 2-month-old Red Lady plants, 800 2-week old plants, and for June, 1,100 seedlings were being readied for planting.
Eddie is really upbeat about papaya production. That is why he has rented two hectares for five years near his own property. The two hectares are perfect for growing papaya and with the additional area, production will be significantly boosted. LETTUCE – Romaine and Green Ice are two money makers at Ephrathah. Last April, 2.1 tons were supplied to the supermarket at R130 per kilo. The lettuces are grown in both open sun and under nets. Being prepared as of this writing is an improved facility for hydroponics production. They have adopted a technology from Vietnam which is superior to the current system available in the Philippines. UNIQUE LITTLE PACKS – What fascinated us during our visit to Ephrathah are the small packs of high-value crops that Jonathan has been supplying to his buyers. One
Eddie Cañuto and his black Rhode Island layers.