RAMON UY: Happy That He Made A Farmer Happy That Day

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Ramon Uy (left) with Zac B. Sarian at the launch of Agribiz KIapihan sa Negros at the Capitol Bldg., October 20, 2018. Photo by Julio P. Yap Jr.

At the launch of the Agribiz Kapihan sa Negros recently, we met a long time friend whom we wrote about a number of times in the past. I wrote about new machinery and equipment that he fabricated for waste recycling and organic fertilizer production. One time, we also wrote about the essential oil extractor that he developed. The fellow is Ramon Uy of Bacolod who has become famous for his sturdy shredders that crush farm wastes and other materials for making organic fertilizer.

It could be said that Ramon has experienced overflowing wealth as well as abject poverty. Why? Years before the financial crisis in 1997, Ramon’s foundry business boomed, earning him a lot of money. He was fabricating replacement parts for the sugar mills in Negros that were much cheaper than their imported counterparts. The economy was booming during the first three or four years of the Ramos administration. The banks were offering unlimited loans to everyone who needed additional capital. And so Ramon was one of those who borrowed big amounts to finance his expanded operations. Many of the sugar mills ordered a lot from him. Unfortunately, the sugar mills could not pay for their orders that ran into millions of pesos when the financial crisis in 1997 struck. Ramon was plagued with receivables he could not collect.

The banks were quick to foreclose his properties that included the palatial residential house in the heart of Bacolod City, a few other properties and the foundry where he fabricated his steel products. Ramon was financially down but not out. He managed to rent a small apartment for his family that included four children. Best of all, the bank was kind enough to lease his old foundry to him.

Ramon Uy’s machines

How he bounced back financially was very providential. He said he went to church every morning praying for his financial recovery. It came by way of a broken shredder of a friend who brought the machine to Ramon for repair. He looked at the broken machine and said to himself that he could build a better shredder and that was what he did.

The rest is history. His shredders became the favorite for shredding farm wastes for use in vermicomposting. The Department of Agriculture ordered hundreds of the machine for distribution nationwide. So did the NGOs and the church that also ordered several at a time. In short, his shredders made him a multi-millionaire once more.
About ten years ago, Ramon invited me to witness how his new invention extracted essential oil from lemon grass and citronella. During that visit he brought me to the organic farm and healing center of Dr.Albert Jo in Don Salvador town.

While waiting on the lawn for Dr. Jo to come out, a farmer came along with a sackful of ripe papayas. The man egged Ramon to buy his ripe papayas, saying he was selling each for just P15. We looked at the fruits and they were good. Ramon said in the dialect. Can he offer a bargain?

Sir, P15 is already very cheap, the man pleaded.

Can I pay you P25 per fruit? The man was dumbfounded. He could not utter a word.
Okay, I buy everything but at P25 per piece, ha! And that’s what Ramon did. Needless to say, the farmer was very happy and probably unbelieving.

We were also amused at what Ramon did. And then he told me. Now you see, it takes only a few pesos to make someone happy. But I am happier because I was able to make a farmer happy today, he said as he looked at me in the eye with a broad smile on his face.—(Memoirs of an Agri Journalist)

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