Gov. Alfredo Marañon welcoming a foreigner guest who attended the Agribiz Kapihan sa Negros.

The “Agribiz Kapihan sa Negros” was launched on October 20 at the provincial capitol by the Negros Economic Development Foundation (NEDF) in collaboration with the provincial government headed by Gov. Alfredo Marañon.

Henceforth, the forum which is open free to every farming enthusiast will be held every third Saturday of the month, according to Gov. Marañon who is himself a farmer raising Vannamae shrimps in Sagay town.

Invited from Manila for the launching were Arsenio “Toto” Barcelona of Harbest Agribusiness and yours truly (Zac B. Sarian), agriculture editor of the Manila Bulletin. The two shared their insights on agriculture and experiences in holding Agribiz Kapihan which is mainly sharing of know-how and innovative technologies in agriculture.

Joseph Anthony Arguelles is head of Araco Poultry and Livestock Corp., a home-grown poultry integrator in Negros Occidental producing 100,000 dressed chicken weekly.

HOME-GROWN INTEGRATOR – One of the attendees who is very successful in poultry production is a home-grown integrator. He is Joseph Anthony Arguelles of Araco Poultry and Livestock Corporation in Bacolod City. An animal science graduate from Xavier University in Cagayan de Oro, he began growing broilers in 2006 with just 5,000 birds a week for a start.

Today Araco’s production has increased many times over. It has become an integrator with 45 contract growers. The operation produces 100,000 dressed chicken every week which are sold all over Negros Island. Several years back, there were three big players in Negros Occidental – Vitarich, Swift and San Miguel. Swift had ceased operation altogether while Vitarich consolidated its production in Panay. Only San Miguel was left so there was some kind of a vacuum in Negros. Arguelles took advantage of that to expand his production.

Araco maintains 80,000 Cobb breeders to produce the day-old chicks required by the 45 contract growers. He gave us some figures from which we can base our conclusions. Joseph said that the broilers are raised for 30 days, weighing an average of 1.35 kilos per bird. The birds are bought by Araco at P90 per kilo liveweight.

Every 1,000 broilers consume 47 bags of feed costing P1,450 per bag. So total feeds consumed costs is P68,150. The 1,000 broilers weigh 1,350 kilos and at P90 per kilo, that’s worth P121,500. Feed, of course, is the most expensive cost of production.

Christopher Fadriga, heirloom cacao propagator.

HEIRLOOM CACAO – Christopher Fadriga who is into cacao nursery and commercial plantation reported that Mexicans are interested in buying the old varieties that were introduced from Mexico to the Philippines centuries ago. Those are heirloom varieties that no longer exist in Mexico so that they are interested in acquiring them back.

He showed a promising heirloom variety that has white seeds. He said that this variety has a more desirable flavor than others. He has been collecting old varieties found in different parts of the Philippines.

In Silay City, a 50-hectare farm that used to be planted with sugarcane is now being readied for planting heirloom cacao varieties. It is owned by CY & Son Cacao Farm.

FROM UK TO CAUAYAN – We also met young Corthan Tortosa Bearder who came to the Philippines with his parents to do their own brand of organic farming in Cauayan, Negros Occidental. They have started developing a 48-hectare property, growing salad greens, culinary herbs and other vegetables. They also raise quails and are doing vermiculture. His mother, the former Rosalie Tortosa married to Timothy Beader, is a native of Cauayan.

Corthan Tortosa Bearder: From the UK to Cauayan, Negros Occidental. He and his parents are developing a 48-hectare property into an organic farm.


Enrique Barcelona is a veterinarian who is also a lawyer. A farmer at heart, he has a 20-hectare farm in Don Salvador where he raises free-range chickens native pigs, sheep and various vegetables and other crops.

OTHER SHARERS – Other Negrenses who shared their know-how and experiences included Gerry Ledesma who is into nature conservation, both coastal and upland. He has been mentoring young kids on the imortance of protecting the environment. Another is Domingo “Toto” Paulino who is into commercial free-range chicken using colored fowls from Eastern Europe. Then there was Ramon Uy who is into organic farming, machinery manufacturing, solar power systems distribution and processing of coffee, turmeric and others. Also sharing her experiences in organic farming was Dr. Ana Isabel V. Salacata.

Toto Barcelona discussed the Young Farmers Development Program in Taichung, Taiwan before attendees of the Agribiz Kapihan sa Negros, Oct. 20, 2018.

TAIWAN YOUNG FARMERS PROGRAM – Toto Barcelona of Harbest Agribusiness discussed a very dynamic program in supporting young farmers in Taichung County in Taiwan. The local government is financially supporting young men and women who are serious in getting into agriculture. For one year when they are being mentored by a coach, each young farmer is provided with a monthly stipend equivalent to P50,000. After one year, the young farmer is given a grant of NT500,000 to expand his farming project. He is also provided with a credit line of NT$8-Million.

Your blogger, Zac B. Sarian, talked about the mechanics of Agribiz Kapihan.

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