Let’s get in touch.
We’d love to hear from you.
As we approach the July 25 Agri-Negosyo Summit, we get to encounter more institutions and hear more inspiring stories in the agri sector. They remind us how valuable the sector is. If we include the upstream agri inputs manufacturing, the downstream agro-processing, and trading, agriculture would account for 40 percent of the country’s Gross Domestic Product and 60 percent of employment. Notable also is the fact that majority lives in and around these agricultural fields, so the potential is so huge in improving the lives of many if we are able to advance this sector. This is what can bring about true inclusive growth in the country.
We featured in our earlier columns how certain private institutions/NGOs are able to mobilize the farmers such as the Kalasag farmers who supply some vegetable requirements of the biggest fast-food chain in the country. Our Selecta ice cream joint venture has also started to develop groups of farmers in Mindanao to supply the ube requirements for our ice cream.
Another institution that has a program to help develop the country’s agricultural sector is the New Zealand government. New Zealand Amb. Reuben Levermore, one of the youngest if not the youngest ambassador assigned in the country has been passionate in talking about their country’s program to help the Philippines in the Agriculture field. Amb. Reuben mentioned to me the New Zealand-ASEAN Programme as their way to help in four critical areas in the region: Agricultural development; Disaster Relief and Preparedness; Education and Scholarship and Youth Leadership.
New Zealand has been known as a country rich in natural resources and a developed agriculture sector that accounts for about two-thirds of its exports. Beef and dairy cattle are important components of its agriculture sector, and their country is the 8th largest milk producer. Livestock is predominantly grass-fed and they are advanced in the milking processes. They are doing a lot of assistance in sharing their dairy production system. They fly-in experts, help supply breeds and give young entrepreneurs the needed training and exposure trips in their farms so that they can share how they do things to increase the yield and efficiencies of their milk production.
We learned from Amb. Reuben their decision to partner with Go Negosyo in mounting our Agri Negosyo Summit and to participate in the forum discussions to allow them to share how they can help in this sector.
He also introduced us to an inspiring Filipino who became successful in the dairy cattle industry in the NZ. His name is Neil Molina, who humbly started as an entry-level farm-worker eight years ago, but now owns 400 milking cows.
Neil Molina was born and raised in a farm in Catanduanes. His father is also into agribusiness, that’s why his interest on agriculture is natural for him. He was a Veterinary Medicine graduate of UP Los Baños. He started to get involved in a dairy farm here in the country when his father put up a 25-cow farm. But while helping in his father’s farm, he realized that there are more systems and technologies to learn. So he eventually applied to work in a farm in New Zealand.
He started as a dairy farm worker, the entry position in farms, where he did all-around work. He was the only employee of the farm since everything was mechanized. But after a year, he was asked to help manage a local farm in Batangas, to apply the systems he learned in NZ. He was able to change the cattle raising and milking system used in Batangas. But then again, faced with the reality of starting a new family life, he realized his farm salary was not enough. For the second time, he applied and returned to New Zealand and given his experience, he was hired quickly.
His new boss was more than an employer, but a mentor who taught him how he can move up in life, by starting to build up his savings and putting part of that in buying and accumulating milking cows that will be part of the farm where he worked. At first, he started to buy 1 year old cows and when he has collected 60 cows, he loaned from a bank in order to buy more. Today, Neil has about 400 cows.
In effect, he was taught the value of compounding interest, how his savings can accumulate and generate more income. Now he was not only working for money but he started to make his money work for him.
More recently, he was able to raise some capital to be a 30 percent partner in a bigger cattle farm. His former boss is now his partner.
It was so inspiring to listen to Neil’s story. Neil is no longer a farm worker but also a farm owner. He said that his background in veterinary medicine and farming has helped him a lot. He also said that nothing beats hard work and being hands-on, if we want to be successful. He said his passion in cattle raising and the positive mindset are what will keep you going when the going gets tough.
With Neil’s success, he is now the one giving back by sharing his stories and advice to various groups. He is in the country for a couple of days, supposed to have the much needed vacation, but he has been going around giving talks to share his experience and knowhow to others. He said he is committed to helping the Philippines develop the highly potential dairy cattle industry.
You can catch Neil talk about his journey and the negosyo opportunities around us in our forthcoming Agri Negosyo Summit at the World Trade Center on July 25.