The perfect farm-to-table experience:
AHON – to rise and prosper
Elaine Carlos Timbol’s family is in the rural banking industry, with its clientele being farmers and fisherfolks. In one of the events organized by the Department of Agriculture, Timbol met with the farmers and saw the disparity of income between the producers and the buyers. That was when she decided to find a way to contribute to the solution.
With her experience and expertise in marketing, she sought to empower farmers to become more competitive. She immersed herself in the industry by visiting and living among the farmers in Floridablanca and Lubao in Pampanga. She also met with local leaders, experts, and government officials to further her knowledge about the industry. She committed herself to help farmers prosper by innovating the system of marketing their produce. In one of her meetings with the farmers in 2020, she met Elvin Laceda—a young and talented farmer with a vision for agriculture.
SAKA – to farm
Laceda has a vision to innovate the Philippine agricultural sector by creating an inclusive value chain where everyone wins. He was raised by his farmer-grandfather, who inspired him to help the farmers in Lubao and Floridablanca, Pampanga.
While studying in the United States under a scholarship program in 2017, Laceda created a start-up company inspired by his experiences in rural Pampanga. RiceUp Farmers is a US-incubated start-up company at Brigham Young University-Hawaii. It is a capacity-building social enterprise that aims to equip farmers and their families with entrepreneurial skills for them to become successful agripreneurs. RiceUp also aims to bridge the gap between the farmers and the consumers.
Since the establishment of RiceUp in Hawaii, USA, Laceda constantly looked for opportunities to collaborate with like-minded organizations to eventually launch the project in the Philippines. He joined international business competitions and together with his team, they won three times as USA’s national champions and a title to the world championship in Silicon Valley in 2019.
KAHON – innovative aspect of the enterprise, represented by the symbol of “code” <>
Knowing that farming needs to be data-driven and market-centered, Laceda entered various competitions to elevate the business model. He met Von Payumo in a Hackathon, a technology-based competition, and began collaborating with their shared mission to create an innovative system for farming.
Payumo is a leading expert in graphic design, web development, innovation on project management, and data management systems. His passion for technology is also evident through the various projects he started. One of which is Alaga Health, a start-up company which focuses on innovation in inclusive access to healthcare.
Payumo is committed in making technology work for the ordinary Filipinos that’s why he proactively engaged himself in agriculture development. His connection with Laceda paved the way to reimagine agriculture to be innovative and inclusive so that farmers can also win in the agriculture industry.
The three young agripreneurs, together with further continued with their mission and research by constant visitations to the farms and farmers. Through these visitations, they saw the root cause of the disparity. They began the journey of Sakahon, a platform that will simplify supply chain in agriculture and create an inclusive producer-market business relationship.
Their business mantra is “knowing what the market needs before farmers produce the crops (three to six months ahead of each harvest.” This vision is realized by the data management system.
To support their vision of producing crops that are specifically needed by the market, they created their own SAKAHON seedlings production. The seedlings that are produced in their nursery are based on the raw materials specifications (RMS) that are collated from their SAKAHON web platform. The RMS data are supplied to them by the food manufacturers and other institutional buyers.
The seedling production area has a capacity to produce more than 50,000 seedlings at a certain period which is located in Pampanga. This also includes the provision of farm inputs assistance to their model farms. Farmers who are part of the pilot phase will receive farm inputs they need. These model farms are part of the production area. This also serves as an assurance to their bulk buyers that they have sufficient supply of the raw materials needed. Farmers don’t need to pay upfront cost; the inputs are deducted when Sakahon purchase their produce in the trading phase of their business operations.
The SAKAHON platform also utilizes a data management system with two major roles.
First, it serves as a platform that guides production. It allows the team to know what the institutional buyers need, the specifications of the raw materials they need, and when they need them. Farmers, consolidators, and farmers cooperatives and associations create their profiles on the platform to access the data they need to guide their production.
Second, the SAKAHON platform serves as their marketing tool. The platform enables them to organize the produce for sale to their bulk buyers and to individual consumers.
SAKAHON’s YFCF journey
Joining the Young Farmers Challenge Fund (YFCF): Kabataang Agribiz Competitive Grant Assistance Program of the Department of Agriculture (DA) proved to be one of SAKAHON’s brightest moments. The enterprise bagged the Regional Level award, successfully representing the Central Luzon Region in the YFCF National Level Competition.
SAKAHON hopes to partner with their fellow YFCF contenders and to gather their available products to be featured in the platform for a wider market reach.
With Timbol’s entrepreneurial instincts, Laceda’s expertise in the agricultural sector, and Payumo’s expertise in the technological and digital scene, SAKAHON is closer to reaching its vision for the farmers and the agriculture industry. ###