Rice, gin­ger farm­ers in Aurora as­sured of a mar­ket

RICE AND GIN­GER FARM­ERS in Aurora will no longer have to worry about the mar­ket­ing of their har­vests. This is be­cause Alalay sa Kaun­laran Inc. or ASKI, a non-gov­ern­ment or­ga­ni­za­tion based in Nueva Ecija, through the ASKI Multi-pur­pose Co­op­er­a­tive (AMPC),

Agriculture - - News - BY ERWIN S. EMBUSCADO

Janet Sup­net, 35, from Brgy. North Pobla­cion, Di­pac­u­lao, Aurora is one of the ben­e­fi­cia­ries of the ASKI value chain pro­gram for agri­cul­ture. Aside from pro­vid­ing for her fi­nan­cial needs for her farming and ir­ri­ga­tion fa­cil­i­ties, Sup­net was also linked to AMPC and sold her har­vest.

She and her hus­band El­fre­itz own a four-hectare rice farm and har­vest around 90-100 bags per hectare. 70 per­cent of their har­vests are sold ei­ther at AMPC or a lo­cal mar­ket in Aurora. They are earn­ing ap­prox­i­mately R280,000 ev­ery har­vest sea­son.

“Be­ing a farmer for 10 years now, hav­ing AMPC as a direct buyer for our pro­duce is ben­e­fi­cial…be­cause of an as­sured mar­ket. [The AMPC] also fol­lows the [pre­vail­ing mar­ket mar­ket price for buy­ing our pro­duce],” Sup­net said.

Like many farm­ers in the coun­try, she and her fel­low rice farm­ers in her home­town were also con­fronted by dif­fer­ent farming chal­lenges like an in­sect in­fes­ta­tion, fre­quent ty­phoons, and a lack of ir­ri­ga­tion fa­cil­i­ties, es­pe­cially dur­ing the sum­mer sea­son.

To ad­dress their wa­ter sup­ply prob­lem, Sup­net and other mem­bers in her com­mu­nity were able to use the mo­bile wa­ter pump given by ASKI through Op­por­tu­nity In­ter­na­tion­alDeutsch­land. This is one of the many ben­e­fits they get from be­ing loyal clients of the ASKI mi­cro­fi­nance pro­gram. The ir­ri­ga­tion sys­tem helped them in wa­ter­ing their rice farms, which helped them get good prof­its and to plant three times a year. Be­cause of their suc­cess in farming, the Sup­nets are now sup­port­ing 40 hectares of rice farms in Di­pac­u­lao in terms of farm in­puts and other needs dur­ing land prepa­ra­tion. They were also able to in­vest in farm ma­chines like a hand trac­tor and thresher, and bought ve­hi­cles like tri­cy­cles and an owner-type jeep.

Aside from farming, the couple plans to en­gage in the buy­ing and sell­ing of co­conut, and to pur­chase a de­liv­ery truck.

Like Sup­net, Max­imino Maslag, 60, and a farmer-at-heart of Brgy. Ka­day­a­can, Maria Aurora, Aurora is also a ben­e­fi­ciary of the value chain pro­gram of ASKI. He is into gin­ger pro­duc­tion.

“I started plant­ing gin­ger when I was 20 years old. Now, I am 60 years old so it’s been 40 years since I started plant­ing na­tive gin­ger. When we are har­vest­ing, we did not have buy­ers. We [sold] it to the mar­ket and any­where else ev­ery week,” Max­imino said.

In tra­di­tional farming, Maslag used to wait a year be­fore har­vest­ing gin­ger. This is why he was glad when he learned that AMPC part­nered with Sun­ny­bing In­ter­na­tional Trad­ing Cor­po­ra­tion (SITC), a Ja­panese ex­porter of gin­ger. With the part­ner­ship, farm­ers in his vil­lage can sell their har­vests in three to four months, process it, and sup­ply it to sushi restau­rants in Ja­pan.

“I planted about 1,000 Hawai­ian gin­ger seedlings. It’s near­ing four months so I am just wait­ing for the in­struc­tion of the buyer to har­vest

my gin­ger. That’s what I like [about] this project: there is a sure buyer, so in­come is guar­an­teed. Be­fore, we planted a lot of na­tive gin­ger but it is usu­ally sold in cheap price. We do not earn from gin­ger be­cause they usu­ally buy it [at] R10- 20 per kilo,” Maslag added.

Satoshi Tateno, pres­i­dent and CEO of SITC, said that he is bring­ing ex­perts to the fields to en­sure that farm­ers will grow and process gin­ger prop­erly in­clud­ing tech­nol­ogy for pro­cess­ing of gin­ger.

“How to suc­ceed in terms of tech­ni­cal de­vel­op­ment is very im­por­tant. We have al­ready [shown] the tech­nol­ogy and we will keep on teach­ing all the farm­ers. We are also de­vel­op­ing our own tech­ni­cian to sup­port each farmer in ev­ery area. That’s…good sup­port, and one of the ways to pro­mote tech­ni­cal de­vel­op­ment. I am bring­ing the tech­nol­ogy on how to grow and the mar­ket­ing (fixed mar­ket) as­pect. I need a steady sup­ply. When we share our things…maybe we shall suc­ceed,” Tateno said.

Tateno is also sure that the busi­ness will flour­ish in the next five or ten years be­cause of the big mar­ket de­mand. Thus, he is look­ing for more po­ten­tial gin­ger farm­ers in the coun­try­side and offering to aug­ment their in­come.

Mean­while, Jasper San­tos, gen­eral man­ager of AMPC, said that the part­ner­ship will give an ad­di­tional in­come source to the gin­ger farm­ers. This is also guar­an­teed be­cause of the farmer’s ca­pac­ity to pro­duce gin­ger and their long ex­pe­ri­ence in farming.

“We have high expectations [for] our farm­ers to in­crease their gin­ger pro­duc­tion as we pro­vide them [with mar­ket­ing] and other sup­port. AMPC’s ma­jor role in the project is to en­sure the pro­duc­tion of gin­ger be­cause we en­tered an agree­ment with Sun­ny­bing. We act as con­sol­ida­tor. We are deal­ing with Sun­ny­bing with re­gard to mar­ket­ing while we han­dle the col­lec­tion [of] and pay­ment [for] the pro­duce of the farm­ers on time so that us­ing their in­come, they can start plant­ing again af­ter their har­vest,” said San­tos.

AMPC also plans to ex­pand the pro­duc­tion in other ar­eas to ben­e­fit more farm­ers. “We also like to ex­tend our sup­port for gin­ger pro­duc­tion to non-clients or to other farm­ers in Casig­u­ran and Maria Aurora and even­tu­ally, to farm­ers from Car­ranglan, Nueva Ecija and Nueva Viz­caya, be­cause [there is a big mar­ket for] gin­ger,” San­tos con­cluded.

Janet Sup­net en­joys the ben­e­fits of be­ing an ASKI client. She owns a 4-hectare rice farm in Di­pac­u­lao, Aurora. Through her farming ven­ture, cou­pled with sheer hard work, Janet was able to build her own house.

The gin­ger is pro­cessed into “at­sara” and sup­plied to sushi restau­rants in Ja­pan.

Danilo Cariño, a tech­ni­cian of Sun­ny­bing In­ter­na­tional Trad­ing Cor­po­ra­tion, in­spects the gin­ger har­vested by farm­ers in Aurora.

Josephine Colle from San Ilde­fonso, Casig­u­ran, Aurora shows her har­vested gin­ger.

Maximo Maslag is one of the many farm­ers in Aurora who joined the ASKI value chain pro­gram for gin­ger.

Satoshi Tateno, pres­i­dent and CEO of Sun­ny­bing In­ter­na­tional Trad­ing Cor­po­ra­tion, be­lieves that there is a fu­ture for the lo­cal gin­ger in­dus­try and gin­ger farm­ers; they pro­vide the for­mer with tech­ni­cal know-how and as­sure them of a stable mar­ket for...

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