Finding milk and honey in agripreneurship:
THE PROMISE LAND INTEGRATED FARMING AND TRADING
“God gave me the vision to manage a 35-hectare farm. It’s heartbreaking for me to see a farmer crying because of the low buying price of farm commodities.”
That was when Kaecelyn L. Saltiban of Talugtug, Nueva Ecija decided to pursue agriculture and to start venturing into farming at the age of eighteen.
A heart for farmers
Saltiban grew up in a rural town where farming is the only main source of income. Her eagerness to help their community and improve the farmers’ financial management made her take up a Bachelor of Science degree in Agriculture specializing in Crop Science and Organic Farming. She is now a graduating student.
During her face-to-face college days, she started selling agricultural products. And when the COVID-19 pandemic came, her half-brother had an idea to let his 22-hectare farm be managed by her. She realized that it was the vision from God shown to her five years ago. That was when The Promise Land Integrated Farm was founded in October 2020.
Pursuing opportunities in agriculture
It all started from scratch—the dirty place turned into an integrated farm where people can learn, visit, and try activities like picking vegetables and catching fresh fish. It offers processed foods and products, including value-added goods, from the farm’s harvest. He processed products named Produkto Ilokano is one of the Nueva Ecija’s and Ilocano’s pride when it comes to food partners, pasalubong, and even gifts.
The farm was further developed in 2021 through the Young Farmers Challenge Fund (YFCF) Program of the Department of Agriculture (DA), where she was recognized as a Regional level winner representing Central Luzon. The financial grant from the Provincial Level helped her add more fingerlings for her tilapia production, create a seedling nursery, and buy other farm inputs.
Her farm also offers chili products made from Panigang and Taiwan, two pepper varieties which are considered high-value crops. Way back in December, the price of chili peppers reached up to Php 1,000 per kilo. Due to the bandwagon effect, many farmers wanted to get good profit, which resulted in high production of pepper and a decrease in demand.
The Promise Land Integrated Farm solved this problem by making processed chili products. She also sells potato cuttings for sweet potato production. She plans to have it certified by the Bureau of Plant and Industry (BPI) to expand the market of quality cuttings from her farm. Each bundle costs Php 130. “If it can reach even 200 bundles of cuttings, these are already a quick sale of Php 26,000,” she explained.
The orange and regular Nile tilapia of Saltiban’s integrated farm generates the highest revenue from among her commodities. She already had Php 10,000 on her first harvest while aiming to reach the estimated sale amounting to Php 230,000 or more for the following months, when the additional fingerlings arrive with the Regional Level grant of Php 150,000. She expects to get her return on investment after harvest. The grant she received at the Regional Level will also be used for the expansion of her seedling nursery, papaya production, mango production, and additional heads for livestock production.
In search of better business opportunities, Saltiban joined online marketplace platforms like Farm2mart App, Lazada, and Facebook Page for wider market and promotion. About 85% of the sales generated on her farm is because she started to go online. It also enabled her to provide a better experience for her customers, such as lower shipping fees and accommodating cash-on-delivery requests.
More to achieve
Working with innovation is one key to her meaningful success. Saltiban hopes to reach the whole country in the next coming years. She is also looking for more techniques and recipes that are unique from the rest in the market, just like her new processed treat, the maja blanca kalabasa. She believes that her very own maja blanca kalabasa will be one of the Filipino’s favorite desserts because of its good taste and smooth texture—a mouth-watering dessert with a healthier twist. According to nutritionists, kalabasa or squash is rich in calcium, iron, potassium, phosphorus, vitamin C and other known minerals. This product is locally produced from The Promise Land Integrated Farm. Saltiban also believes that this product will be an eye-opener for Novo Ecijanos because of their excessive squash production. She looks forward to buying squash from other farmers in the near future to help them market their produce and to add value to it.
She plans for her farm to join DA’s KADIWA and other market trade fairs for more product exposure to malls and other local markets of the Philippines. She also wants to inspire more youth to venture in agribusiness and to love agriculture as she loves it. Saltiban also believes that the future of farming will start with The Promise Land Integrated Farming and Trading. ##