Now is the time for all young men and women to come up their bright agri projects that they can pursue. They should take advantage of the new initiative of the Department of Agriculture to encourage young blood to go into farming as an honest-to-goodness business.
If you can come up with a bright project, even if it is a micro one, the DA is ready to give you a grant of P500,000. Yes! Half a million and it is all yours for free to set up your project. Of course, the experts of the DA will look into your proposal if it can be profitable, doable, sustainable, environment-friendly and more.
The grant is for start-ups who are determined and serious to get into farming as a business. There is no educational attainment required. So better think of possible projects now because the program will be officially launched on January 28, 2020.
Now, let us think some of the characteristics of the project so that it will become profitable. The first question to ask is: What are the products that are in demand but which there are not enough supply? One example is ubi or purple yam. The Good Shepherds of Baguio are always in need of ubi for their jam and other products. One food processor from Marikina also tells us that they can’t have enough supply of the purple rootcrop.
Another farm produce that a big time processor of herbal products is the native ginger which has a distinct flavor from the Hawaiian hybrid in the market. There must be many other commodities that are in short supply which could be produced by the aspiring agripreneur.
Another question to consider is: Does the product you have in mind to produce have a long shelf life? This means it is not perishable. One example is black pepper. The peppercorn can be stored for long periods.
Consider also the competition. Too much competition can cause drastic price changes in the market. Are you ready to compete? Do you know some cost-cutting techniques and ways to improve your product?
Can you popularize something new in the market? Something you believe that has a potential market in the Philippines? One example is the Key Lime which can provide a special flavor to desserts like Key Lime pie and other baked products, refreshing juice drink, sauce for grilled fish and meat, flavoring for vodka and others. These are just random thoughts that can be helpful.
By the way, somebody asked me. If I were to be given the grant of P500,000 what project will I undertake? Well, there are many choices but what I have in mind now is this. If I have a two-hectare farm in my hometown, I would go for something like this. I would go for Sheep as my flagship product. I will buy an initial 10 females that are ready to breed or are already pregnant. And I will add a couple of rams. This is considered starting small. Yes, that’s what I like. I will expand slowly but surely.
I will invest in a water system that works. That will ensure production of forage and other cash crops that will help sustain the project. My long term vision is to end up having the most number of sheep in my province. The strategy is to keep on increasing the population systematically. I will not sell any of the young females for future breeding. I will sell only the males and the proceeds will be used to buy more female breeders. I will upgrade my stocks through purchase of improved blood.
What is most important is to discipline myself so as not deviate from my vision.