Creating a legacy of her own:
Kimberly M. Bajade was born on August 8, 1997 and was raised in the farming community of Barangay Maibo, Tantangan, South Cotabato. Life was not easy for Bajade as poverty pushed her hardworking parents to go abroad and left her in the care of her grandparents. After six long years, her parents decided to return home and continue farming as their source of livelihood. Although life remained a bed of nails for the family, Kimberly persevered to achieve her dreams through agriculture and, eventually, swine production.
Laying her foundation
After her high school graduation in 2014, Bajade was given a Youth Empowerment Scholarship (YES) by the Department of Agriculture – Agricultural Training Institute (DA-ATI) for a diploma course on Agri-Entrepreneurship. This opportunity gave her the desired training and exposure to become an agripreneur with appropriate training in management and marketing. This further gave her the chance for a theoretical study at the University of Southern Mindanao and practical field training at various accredited demonstration farms in the region.
She initially thought that those studies and exposure were enough for her to engage in an agricultural business. However, she changed her mind and tried going to the United Arab Emirates in search of greener pastures. This did not materialize due to the age requirement, as she was too young at the time to land a job in the foreign land. She was forced to return to the Philippines and engage in corn farming instead.
A career in agriculture
All the theories she learned from her diploma course were put into action. The revenue generated from corn farming was added to her capital and she ventured into livestock and vegetable production.
To earn more, she went into vegetable retail in Koronadal Satellite Market during market days, namely Wednesdays and Saturdays. Through their association, she likewise forged a Memorandum of Agreement with the Provincial Government of South Cotabato to formalize her as the regular supplier of vegetables for the provincial jail at three tons per week. Sensitive to the needs of her fellow farmers, youths, and indigenous peoples (IP) during the COVID-19 pandemic, she volunteered to link them to prospective buyers in the disposal of their farm produce through the municipality’s Mobile Palengke. This initiative had motivated them to produce more, thus generating employment and income.
Her light and inspiration
The driving factor that motivated her to embrace agriculture is her mother, Annie Bajade, who was hailed by the Department of Agriculture (DA) as the 2014 Regional Gawad Saka Winner for the Outstanding Farm Family Category and the 2015 National Outstanding Rural Women Awardee. Being a member of the 4-H Club of the Philippines since she was ten, the younger Bajade put all of her training and experiences into use as a young farmer entrepreneur.
Currently, she is into swine production, formulating her swine’s feed supplements made of excess vegetables, foliage, and mixed fermented fruit juice as appetizers. Making her own blend gave her the edge over other producers due to its organic nature, healthy alternative, and lower cost of inputs.
Making her own mark through YFCF
Last April 2021, Bajade received a message from their Provincial 4-H Focal Person, encouraging her to participate in the DA’s Young Farmers Challenge Fund (YFCF) Program. Although hesitant at first, the thought of having the cash award has been a motivation for her as this would mean additional capital for her venture. She has been hoping to expand into a processing facility for processed meat, which would clearly generate employment opportunities for the IPs and the youth in her community. So far, she has four IPs employed in her swine production and two orphaned high school scholars under her wing working on weekend shifts. Thus, she submitted her application with a business model on swine production.
Bajade sees her agribusiness a year from now as a progressive enterprise with business partners, investors, and marketing linkages with bulk shipping at main markets in the Philippines with the benefit of return on investment. Likewise, she sees her processed meat products to be known within and outside their locality. This will, in turn, generate more employment with emphasis on the youth and the IPs, both being some of the most vulnerable sectors in Philippine society.
As one of SOCCSKSARGEN’s regional winners, Bajade’s YFCF entry on swine production motivated and challenged her to somehow contribute to the government’s call for food security and sufficiency. Likewise, it would perhaps motivate young Filipino farmers to engage in farming, since they will soon be the next food producers who will feed the ever-growing population of the agriculture sector. She also hopes to be the proof that farming transcends gender, cultural beliefs, aspirations, and age as long as one puts their heart and soul into it.
Bajade now sets her eyes on becoming a young millionaire. ###