Vernie S. Beo and Camille F. De Peralta of Taguig City both share their love for gardening, which started in 2016. From simple container gardening, their passion for growing plants started to grow even more, leading them to produce different kinds of ornamental plants, flowering plants, fruit-bearing trees, vegetables, and even cacti and succulents.

Cultivating their green thumbs

Their families, friends, and neighbors started to notice their passion for growing vegetables and ornamental plants. From then on, they received more support and acknowledgement, which further fueled their motivation to do better in their hobby. Before they even noticed, people started to buy their produce. This gave birth to the idea of starting a mini agribusiness, Vermille’s Munting Bukid.

When the COVID-19 pandemic started, Beo lost his job as a private school teacher and then accepted a public school teacher post. He has been waiting for many months for the result of his application when he decided to study modern agriculture techniques for his mini business. He learned hydroponics and aquaponics methods in producing vegetables for urban areas.

Taking chances at YFCF

The two joined the Department of Agriculture’s (DA) Young Farmers Challenge Fund (YFCF): Kabataang Agribiz Program to make their expansion dreams a reality. With faith and hope that everything will work, Beo and De Peralta succeeded to become part of the qualified group. Seminars and workshops made them realize a lot more about their agribusiness, encouraging them to challenge each other as competition to do better.

As one of the National Capital Region’s Regional Level awardees, they received a total grant of Php 100,000 as their starting budget for Vermille’s Munting Bukid’s expansion. The two built their greenhouse in a 70-square-meter area on their fourth floor open area

Sharing their passion

The mini farm caters both organic and modern agriculture techniques in planting. Since they began to educate people about the beauty of urban gardening in 2016, Vermille’s has become a learning center for those who would like to learn modern and enhanced organic gardening.

Since Beo and De Peralta received their grant, they started building more hydroponics set-up and purchased all the materials needed. Three weeks later, they expanded their production to 850 lettuces, mustasa, and upland kangkong. They also sell hydroponics materials and organic gardening, and even produce vegetable seedlings to sell to urban farmers here in the National Capital Region.

They were able to gain a steady income with just two months of production, but Beo and De Peralta did not stop with just earning money. They are now working with more urban farmers to teach them their methods. The goal is to meet the demands of the market and to grow more varieties of vegetables.

They are now looking forward to buying their own farmland in the future and expanding their agribusiness. ###