The reascendance of a family agriventure:


Mac’s Bounty Farm is located in Sitio Agsalin, Barangay Tabon-Tabon, Baco, Oriental Mindoro. The name was derived from the Macalalad family name, as it was developed by Macalalad siblings Micha (25), Mariane (19), Marion (21), and Marvin (29), together with Micha’s husband, Kenneth Guttierez.

Rediscovering their destined venture

The farm was initially owned by their grandfather. However, on November 15, 1994, an earthquake with a magnitude of 7.1 centered in Baco, Oriental Mindoro generated a local destructive tsunami. The happy and vibrant Sitio Agsalin slowly became a depopulated and idle place as the residents started to sell their land, move away, and find their lives in other places.

Despite what happened, the five young farmers were optimistic about the potential of the area as agricultural land. It was in 2017 when the owners bought the 14,000-square-meter piece of land from their aunt. The purchased land is abundant in nipa palm trees and is an ideal location for aquaculture.

The first business they ventured into was the nipa sap collection and processing in 2018. Products like nipa vinegar, spiced vinegar, nipa sugar, and nipa lambanog were produced. However, Typhoon Usman and the unprecedented COVID-19 pandemic greatly affected their booming business, causing them to cease operations.

But this family was not born quitters. With the dream of reviving the place and their business, they joined the Department of Agriculture’s (DA) Agribusiness Pitch Challenge last March 2021. Unfortunately, their business plan titled “Nipa Sap Production and Processing in Baco – A Restart Project” was not selected.

With optimism and determination, they gave another shot to pitch their business idea at DA’s Young Farmers Challenge Fund (YFCF) Program. This time, they were chosen among the top 100 applicants and were able to receive a Php 250,000 cash grant.

“To qualify at the Provincial Level, we researched through the internet and consulted with well-experienced farmers. While waiting for the grant, we attended several relevant training and seminars,” they explained.

Maximizing the grant

As part of their strategy to make their agribusiness resilient and profitable, the young farmers engaged in polyculture.

With the Php 250,000 grant, Mac’s Bounty Farm was able to build a broiler house with 200 heads capacity and a piggery with ten heads capacity. They also rehabilitated a 2,000-square-meter fishpond for the polyculture of bangus, shrimps, and crabs and procured a tricycle unit as their delivery vehicle.

In their first month, the farm had generated sales amounting to Php 44,284 and a gross profit of Php 16,512.50 for selling their first harvest of 193 heads of broilers. They also generated 36 jobs for their townsmen.

Apart from this, the group is also looking at different strategies and systems to sustain and to assure the business’ resiliency. These are direct-to-consumer marketing platforms, more organized business systems, risk-based management, and sustainability.

Handling challenges

After winning the grant, challenges still came at Mac’s Bounty Farm; but the owners’ determination did not waver.

“We already spent money on the preparation of the 250-square-meter fishpond and purchase of 250 fingerlings in June since we were advised that reimbursement of expenses is allowed. However, a four-day heavy rain caused massive flooding and prompted us to do early harvesting on July 24, 2021, as indicated in our Risk-Management Plan. After harvesting at least 30% of our stocks, we processed it into daing na bangus and sold it online. With the support of our family, friends, and acquaintances who became our customers, and as key partners, we earned at least 80% of our production cost and lost the 20% and the opportunity cost as well,” they said during the interview with the Agribusiness and Marketing Assistance Division of DA-MIMAROPA.

Another challenge that they faced was the increase in the prices of agricultural inputs and other products during the implementation stage. To cope with this, the farm owners established a procurement system wherein there are procedures to follow and forms to use which can help them not only in the necessary documentation of transactions but also in looking for the best available supplier.

Apart from these challenges, the farm also experienced a shortage of stocks due to the high demand for their products. To solve this, they proposed to increase production capacity by constructing an extension of their broiler house. Other challenges were the manual dressing or plucking of broilers being time-consuming and the compromise in quality. Hence, the farm owners proposed increasing productivity and quality by providing a mechanical chicken dresser.

Maintaining the agri-enterprise

With the agri-enterprise’s guiding principles, the farm owners shared four keys to keep: teamwork, commitment, continuous learning and growth, and passion.

First, as a group, they ensure that the decision-making process is participatory and transparent. Functions and responsibilities are delineated to each group member to help reduce stress on everyone, allowing them to be meticulous and thorough when completing tasks.

Second, being committed brings added value to their organization, including determination, proactive support, relatively high productivity, and awareness of quality.

Third, they explained in terms of continuous learning and growth, “We encourage ourselves to keep learning and improving ourselves through attending training and seminars and experience.”

And lastly, their passion for work makes all the work easy, fun, and enjoyable.

Gratitude to the Department of Agriculture

As one of the MIMAROPA’s Regional Level winners of the YFCF Program, as well as a recipient of the National Level award, the people behind Mac’s Bounty Farm give thanks to all who helped them in times of need to finish the pitch for this program.

As one of the chosen best business canvasses regionwide, the Macalalads swear to give their best in providing the service to the consumers and promote agriculture in their municipality to inspire other youth to start taking agriculture as a business.

The owners ended, “This program is like an answer to our prayer, and it came when we needed it.  Among us, three are unemployed and one is studying. Aside from wanting to earn income, we also want to recover and develop our land. Being raised in the urban area, we never thought of having this passion for farming. This program allowed us to transform our land from idle to productive land and discover our potential in agri-business.” ### (Paulo Emmanuel Ajose, DA-MIMAROPA RAFIS)