Fulfilling his wish list:


“Your dreams are your possibilities!”

This is the guiding principle of Marvin Xavier Vea of Barangay Bagbago, Solsona, Ilocos Norte that helps him gradually realize his vision of becoming a successful civil engineer and at the same time a promising agribusiness entrepreneur.

Vea is one of the lucky winners to represent the Ilocos Region in the Department of Agriculture’s Young Farmers Challenge Fund (YFCF) Program.

Setting up for success

A graduate of Bachelor of Science in Civil Engineering at the Mariano Marcos State University, Vea is gaining attention from the locals with his various undertakings as DA’s partner in promoting agriculture as a business and a way of life.

Vea grew up in a rural area surrounded by farms. At a young age, he understood the hardships of living on a hand-to-mouth existence.

His interest in agriculture was kindled when he came across a Facebook page on how to grow organic tilapia. This reminded him of how hard life was when they ate their meal as a family sharing fried tilapia cut in halves so everybody in the family can have a share. He promised himself that someday, he will have his own tilapia pond and from his harvest, every member of his family can eat as many tilapia as they want.

Determined to put up his own project, he diligently established his own tilapia farm in a 200-square-meter area, where he feeds his tilapia with his own organic mix formulation. His organically raised tilapia tastes better than those sold in the public market.

With a vision to someday be an enterprising civil engineer, Vea visualizes his farm to not only be a productive tilapia farm, but to also transform it into an agri-tourism farm by incorporating creative structures like the unique hut he built in front of his pond depicting a Bali-inspired kubo.

He is also in the process of completing his creative hydroponics area, which he hopes would entice visitors to visit his farm someday. He fully intends to transform the farm in a way that will attract people, especially tourists, by combining his farming and engineering skills.

His shining moment through YFCF

Seeing a high potential in tilapia farming, he decided to expand his area. Upon knowing of the YFCF, he grabbed the opportunity and prepared a business proposal despite the challenges of a weak and unstable internet connection in their barangay.

“Akala ko noon di na ako makakapag-present. But with God’s grace, natuloy naman. At luckily, isa ako sa mga panalo,” Vea said.

Vea was chosen as one of the top ten young agripreneurs in Ilocos Norte, receiving a cash award of Php 50,000 as capital for their chosen farming enterprise.

“Napakaganda ng programang YFCF dahil hindi lamang magbibigay ng puhunan sa pipiliin mong business enterprise, aalalayan ka pa nila para mapalago mo ito at mapagbuti ang negosyo mo,” he said.

Vea also proposed to have a hydroponics lettuce production, a technology he learned from the tutorials in his member page account.

“I am so fascinated with hydroponics because it’s a combination of agriculture, science, and engineering. It’s a new way of modern farming. So with that, I could combine my learnings from both engineering and agriculture,” he added.

He invested his Php 50,000 cash prize in establishing a greenhouse for his hydroponics project. He also bought additional tilapia fingerlings and natural feeds like darak for his tilapia.

The future awaits

Putting all his plans in order, Vea continues to nurture his creativity and imagination on how he envisions his agri-tourism farm like three to five years from now.

With the Madongan Dam in their area, one of the local tourist attractions in Ilocos Norte, Marvin sees this as an opportunity for his farm to be part of tourist destinations en route to the said dam.

“Hindi lang magiging tourist destination ang aking farm, kundi magsisilbi ring pakakapulutan nila ng aral at idea kung paano ang pamamaraang organiko sa pagtatanim at pag-aalaga ng palaisdaan,” Marvin stressed.

For Vea, success comes to those who plan and persevere. He is indebted to his family, his friends, and also to the DA for the big opportunities that the YFCF has provided for him.

“Nakalista kasi sa pangarap ko na after kong maka-graduate, makapasa sa board exam, magtrabaho, magtayo ng kumpanya, tapos ‘pag nakaipon, gagawa ng farm. Nagpapasalamat ako sa programang YFCF ng DA dahil nauna na ang pagpapagawa ng aking sariling farm,” Vea beams with pride on his accomplishment, a feat he humbly attributes to DA’s Young Farmers Challenge program. ###