If you own or manage a big company with thousands of employees, how are you going to make sure that the food for the workers is healthy and nutritious?
The likely answer is to put up a division that will take charge of producing your own food requirements, particularly rice, vegetables and meat. Then hire a capable man to do the job.
That’s just what the Yazaki-Torres group of companies in Sto. Tomas, Batangas, has started to do. This business group has 30,000 employees, mostly women, who are producing wirings and other requirements of the auto industry.
Dante Delima, who resigned from his position as Undersecretary of Agriculture earlier this year, heads the new affiliate company called Agritech Integrated Services Corporation. Dante’s task is to produce most of the requirements of the company’s canteens that feed three shifts of workers day and night.
The first order of the day is rice production in Calapan, Oriental Mindoro which fortunately has wide areas for rice with enough water for irrigation. There are areas with free-flowing water in Calapan.
The company right now is building a rice processing plant where it has a rice mill and dryer as well as tractors and other equipment. They have tractors for land preparation, mechanical rice transplanters that can plant rice seedlings on one hectare in just one hour. They also have mechanical harvesters that make harvesting fast and efficient.
The scheme calls for farmer cooperators whom the company helps in terms of technical and financial support. And the company will buy all the harvest at the most reasonable price. The company will use the rice mainly for their own canteens. If there is excess, it could be sold to the employees for their own home consumption or in the public market.
What are they going to do with the rice bran? They already have a piggery that will use part of the rice milling byproduct. The company is also starting to raise sheep in Tanauan City, starting with about a hundred breeders.
Sheep are more docile than goats and they also multiply fast. However, the main reason why sheep will be raised instead of goats is that most of the employees are women and a survey revealed that the women employees prefer sheep over goat meat.
VEGETABLES – At the time of this writing, Dante and the president of Allied Botanical Corporation, Michael Caballes, were getting ready for a trip to Benguet. The purpose is to check on a possible site for demonstrating the imported machine used in seeding vegetables. The demo farm is also envisioned to produce the highland vegetables needed by the company’s canteens. At least half a ton of six different upland vegetables are consumed per week today by the employees.
The lowland vegetables include such favorites as squash, eggplant, tomato, ampalaya, patola, sitao, upo and others which will be produced in the company’s farm as well as by farmer cooperators.
The protocol is that the growers will use minimal chemical pesticides. They will use mostly organic fertilizers and available biopesticides.