Agriculture Secretary William Dar expressed satisfaction as he witnessed an actual model of an agribusiness innovation and farm consolidation in San Jose, Batangas.
Dar recently toured the egg processing facility, managed by the Batangas Egg Producers Cooperative (BEPCO), which showcases the benefits of farm consolidation and industrialization by value-adding, processing, manufacturing, and developing markets for their poultry products.
“This egg processing facility is such a noble enterprise, which was initiated by the private sector with the help of the Department of Agriculture (DA). Piloting or incubation was done and poultry farmers were consolidated. These are the principles or strategies that are being institutionalized and scaled up in the DA,” Dar said.
“If we pour investments here, you (BEPCO) will become the number one egg processing facility in the country and we will be there as your partner,” the agriculture chief added.
BEPCO is a group of farmers, feed millers, and egg industry business stakeholders.
“It is an egg innovation hub that provides shared service facility and leads in establishing closed loop farming system,” BEPCO Managing Director Cecille Virtucio said.
Virtucio added that BEPCO is an example of a successful public-private cooperation.
With the help of DA, BEPCO established its liquid egg processing facility in 2012 and it now caters safe, convenient, and economical pasteurized egg products to food services and manufacturing companies. In 2017, the cooperative partnered with DA to protect Batangas against bird flu.
BEPCO is also a beneficiary of DA’s SURE Aid financial assistance program.
During the meeting with the DA team led by the agriculture head and Regional Director Arnel de Mesa, she presented the cooperative’s plans for an integrated closed-loop farming system model for poultry and pork production. Virtucio also discussed plans on the full integration of the value chain and the establishment of a sustainable enterprise model for biosecurity.
“The DA will fund the establishment of a multiplier breeder farm and allot P50 million-worth of fund for a cutting facility.”
Dar instructed De Mesa to provide interventions that will close the loop. He also said the DA will fund the establishment of a multiplier breeder farm and allot P50 million-worth of fund for a cutting facility to be used by the cooperative with a counterpart from the private sector.
In addition, Dar supported San Jose Mayor Valentino Patron and Batangas Fourth District Representative Lianda Bolilia to declare the first-class municipality of San Jose as the country’s egg capital. During his visit to San Jose on August 28, he signed an executive order declaring the town as the “Egg Processing Capital of the Philippines.”
Exploring opportunities in the value chain
The BEPCO, Planters Products, Inc., and Greenland Organic Fertilizer producer Nadine’s Marketing also signed a Memorandum of Agreement to improve the conversion of animal manure and other farm wastes into fertilizer. This will minimize animal diseases, control pollution, improve soil conditions, and improve farmers’ income by marketing organic fertilizer.
In 2019, BEPCO received a financial grant from the DA for the establishment of chicken manure automated composting facility which helped cut the cooperative members’ dependence on expensive and high-risk fertilizers.
“The problems in the egg industry in 2009 paved the way for the group to look for permanent solution. In 2010, the cooperative was established and its first project was the establishment of the liquid egg processing facility that was completed in 2012,” Virtucio recalled.
She said BEPCO continued on the product development until it operated profitably starting 2016.
Some of the product innovations of BEPCO are pasteurized liquid egg yolk with pure white and frozen variants, ready-to-eat roasted eggs, and egg powder in three variants. The cooperative also develops by-products such as processed chicken manure, eggshell fertilizer, egg mixes, and ready-to-drink protein drinks.
“The roasted eggs can be sold to the DSWD as part of the food packs.”
“Many other products can be developed. The roasted eggs can be sold to the DSWD as part of the food packs,” Dar suggested.
During his visit to BEPCO, the DA Regional Field Office, Philippine Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Regional Agricultural and Fishery Council, and the Batangas Provincial Local Government Unit also signed a Memorandum of Understanding for the province’s livestock value chain development.
With a 2.7 million population and about 150,000 farmers, Batangas is a top producer of livestock and poultry. It is also a major supplier of lowland vegetables and high-value crops.
BEPCO partners with Batangas farmers and fisherfolk for their products to be developed, processed, and brought to the market. To strengthen the cooperative sector and have inclusive growth in the agriculture and fisheries sector, BEPCO, San Jose Workers’ Multi-purpose Cooperative and the Batangas Organic and Natural Farming Agriculture Cooperative formed “Chef Jose” as a consortium of cooperatives.
For the implementation of the Kadiwa ni Ani at Kita in Region 4A, Chef Jose already sold 48,000 tons of agricultural products as of June 2020. It also generated total sales of P15 million since the Kadiwa started.
As another innovation and to level up its support to the Batangas farming community, Chef Jose has introduced a digital platform for farmers to directly market their products to buyers. Visit yourchefjose.com and check their fresh, affordable, and locally made products that support Filipino farmers.