By IRIS GONZALES
While many are feeling the brunt of the covid-19 pandemic, with lockdown restrictions limiting people’s movement and impeding the flow of food and other essential goods, a farm in Cavite is answering a dire need of Filipinos while providing a source of livelihood for local farmers.
WANT to buy fruits and vegetables without going to the market or grocery store?
It’s easy. You can now buy these products online and have them delivered to your doorstep, fresh from a farm in Cavite.
Welcome to BA Farms, a sprawling 33-hectare lot located at Barangay Daine in Indang, Cavite, which is one of the country’s newest and richest vegetable and fruit farms.
The farm serves a lot of households all over Metro Manila and nearby areas, delivering an assorted array of fruits and vegetables right to one’s doorstep.
Caesar Wongchuking, the youngest son of the late tobacco tycoon Wong Chu King, acquired the land in 1994 and initially just wanted to have a place where he can relax and recharge, away from the hustle and bustle of the city. Indeed, the place has a rest house and a nipa hut where visitors can rest and relax. But he also saw the business potential of farming and agriculture in the pristine and natural beauty of the place.
Today, BA Farms (which stands for “Baby Angelo Farms” and named after Caesar’s firstborn son Angelo), is serving a critical need of Filipinos in this time of COVID-19, providing a sustainable food source especially for those quarantined at home while helping the residents of Indang by giving them employment opportunities.
The farm is now expanding and would also soon target restaurants and the rest of the formal food sector aside from households.
Construction of 15 new greenhouses is almost complete. These greenhouses will help BA farmers in producing quality fruits and vegetables without having to rely on artificial methods.
“The primary objective is to provide customers with more product variety, improve production output as well as upgrade the quality and consistency of crops,” said Melvin Mendoza, the farm’s sales manager.
“At present, 95 percent of our customers are end-users or households, but soon our target is to expand to supermarkets so that we’ll be able to reach more consumers,” Melvin explained.
As most of the customers are female who love to cook, sourcing fresh and high quality fruits and vegetables is a must for them, he added.
Finding its niche
Initially, the company offered a small variety of fruits, vegetables and a few livestock; but now it has found its niche in fruits and veggies.
“As the months progressed, we have offered 41 different fruits and vegetables. Recently, we have partnered with farms from Visayas and Mindanao to make available here in Manila popular fruits from the south,” said Geoffrey Gadiana, general manager of BA Farms.
Its portfolio includes a wide variety of fruits and vegetables well-loved by Filipino households – papaya, pineapple, dragon fruit, bananas, mangoes, avocado, green ice lettuce, cassava, white onion, red onion, sliced cucumber and sweet corn. Just lately, they also introduced beefsteak tomatoes, “perfect for salads, burgers and pasta.”
BA Farms’ primary target market are households in the Greater Metro Manila Area, which includes the nearby provinces of Laguna, Cavite, Rizal and Bulacan.
Ordering is actually very simple. Customers just have to place their orders a day before the scheduled delivery day and then they’ll receive their fresh fruits and vegetables a day after.
More importantly, every order means support for local farmers who all work together to make BA Farms successful.
About the Writer
Iris Gonzales is an award-winning journalist who writes about the intersection of business and politics in the Philippines in her column Eyes Wide Open which appears every Monday and Thursday in the Business Section of the Philippine Star. She is also the editor of PropertyReport PH, the paper’s Property page and is a regular contributor to the London-based New Internationalist magazine.
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