Christine Mecca Ladica (1st from left, wearing hijab) of Al-Barakah World Fishca with her group. | Screenshot from DA video

Two start-up enterprises in Palawan have qualified for grants from the Department of Agriculture (DA) after participating in a regional competition designed to rekindle the interest of young farmers in food production.

Tara! Gulayan Innovations and Al-Barakah World Fishca were two of the 48 start-up businesses that joined the 2022 Young Farmers Challenge (YFC), a competitive financial grant assistance program for youth who will engage in new agri-fishery enterprises.

Of the total, seven were selected and named as regional grantees for this year in the categories production, processing, and digital agriculture, according to the DA.

“Bukod sa P50,000 grant (para sa individual enterprise) at P100,000 (group enterprise), ang mga kabataang nakapasok sa Regional Level ay nakatanggap ng karagdagang grant na P150,000 mula sa DA Mimaropa,” the agriculture department said in a statement.

Jayson Tumlos while working in Tara! Gulayan Innovations farm in Brgy. Isaub, Aborlan. | Screenshot from DA video

The DA said the start-ups that qualified in the regional level will have the chance to compete in the national challenge.

Engr. Maria Christine Inting, OIC regional executive director, said the DA Mimaropa is happy that they joined and won the competitive grant challenge.

“Para sa amin ay walang talo dito dahil lahat tayo ay nagkakaroon ng pagkakataon na matuto dahil sa mga pagsasanay na hatid ng Agribusiness and Marketing Assistance Division, o ng AMAD. Hindi man naging madali ang inyong pinagdadaanan na mga pagsasanay at pagsubok, tiyak na ito ay huhubog sa inyo para mas pagtibayin at pagalingin pa ang inyong mga kakayanan,” she said.

The DA said they were selected by the judges for their entrepreneurial attributes, innovativeness, revenue stream of the business proposal, and value addition and social responsibility.

Tara! Gulayan Innovations is located in Brgy. Isaub, Aborlan, which was started by Jayson Tumlos, a young Palaweño who pursued a Bachelor of Science in Agriculture at Western Philippines University (WPU).

Tumlos was sent on an internship to Israel and the United States to learn about advanced farming systems. He focused on drip irrigation and fertigation, which is the process of adding fertilizers or nutrients to a farming system through the irrigation network.

The farm is not entirely organic, but it does use 80 percent fewer chemicals than conventional farms, the management said.

On the other hand, Al-Barakah World Fishca, which produces milkfish fingerlings, is situated in Sumurom 1, Sitio Tatanguhan, Brgy. Ransang, in the southern town of Rizal.

Christine Mecca Ladica said that the Muslim community’s demand for halal-certified food sources served as her motivation for getting into the fingerling production business.

“Sa Palawan, lumalaki na yong community ng mga Muslim kaya kailangan po namin na ma-assure na yong pinagmumulan ng pagkain ay halal talaga,” she said.

“Yong utilization po ng grant, naipagpatayo ko na siya ng primary gate ng pond. Medyo magastos siya kasi sa fish pond po malaki talaga ang investment,” she said.

Ladica did not graduate from any fishery program, but she had the good fortune to become an intern in a sea ranching operation run by the Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources (BFAR).

The other start-up enterprises that received the grants:

Production Category

  • InPigTechgrated Farm (Oriental Mindoro)
  • Ey Treeyos Kunehome (Oriental Mindoro)
  • Giannazh Seaweeds Farm (Romblon)

Processing Category

  • Nutripage Food Products (Oriental Mindoro)

Digital Agriculture

  • FARMA (Marinduque)

The grants are intended to act as seed money for an agri-fishery business that will be run by a single young person or a group of young people.

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has been with Palawan News since January 2019. She is its managing editor, overseeing and coordinating day-to-day editorial activities. Her writing interests are politics and governance, health, defense, investigative journalism, civic journalism, and the environment.