Rediscovering her purpose:


Janice Mae D. Paglinawan’s father and grandfather both grew up in a farming livelihood in Dumingag, Zamboanga Del Sur. She, however, grew up in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam and had neither experience nor interest with agriculture in the beginning.

Spark of interest, change of heart

When the Paglinawan family moved back to the Philippines in 2010, her father Gerry started an organic farm, Paglinawan Organic Eco Farm. This brought forth the Agriko brand of products, which offers turmeric, ginger, soursop, moringa, lemongrass tea powder, organically-grown rice, and many more.

At the time, Paglinawan felt lost living in the city and had no clue as to what her life’s direction should be. She moved back to Dumingag in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic and fully focused on their family business.

Paglinawan saw a positive opportunity in such a negative situation that it actually ignited her interest and passion for agriculture. The main global problem currently is food security and health, and she witnessed how agriculture is indeed a big part of the solution.

Switching gears

The Agriko brand caters mostly to adults and senior citizens, but she received feedback from customers that they were also looking for products for infants and kids. The idea and business plan were always there in her mind; the research and development of the final product were also always there in her mind; but she lacked the funds and the confidence to actually pursue them. That remained the case until the arrival of the Young Farmers Challenge Fund (YFCF) Program of the Department of Agriculture (DA).

Paglinawan presented her business plan under the Agribata brand, with her first product being Instant Cereal Powder for Kids. She used her experiences in Vietnam, as well as her takeaways as a Political Science graduate and a youth-led female agripreneur, and made an agribusiness from a unique and different perspective.

The three goals of her business are adding value to the abundance and oversupply of raw materials, solving concerns on the perishability of the resources, and enhancing the livelihood of the local farmer-partners. A portion of the sales will be used to help the community, specifically in addressing the malnutrition and education challenges in Dumingag and in the whole Zamboanga Peninsula Region. This is a healthy cereal product for kids as it is gluten-free, dairy-free, and vegan.

Living a life of purpose

Agribata is all about scalability, sustainability, and social responsibility. Paglinawan is grateful to the DA Regional Field Office IX, and other relevant offices that brought out her potential and believed in her business plan by granting her the YFCF National Level Award. She also appreciates the support from her family and partner for the guidance and the strong foundation that they have imparted.

Ironically, her grandfather told her to study well and to find opportunities in the city. But Paglinawan believes that he is happy for her, and is even relishing the fact that her golden opportunity meant going back to her roots and venturing into agriculture. ###