VFI partners with crop farmers, inks deal with Asturias LGU

Ehda M. Dagooc (The Freeman) - April 15, 2021 - 12:00am

CEBU, Philippines — Virginia Farms Inc., (VFI) announced its partnership with local crop farmers at its host municipality in Asturias, Cebu to help the farming industry in the southern town.

“We will start identifying crops that we can grow here. We will prioritize crops with high market demand that we can sell through our The Pork Shop branches,” said Virginia Farms president Rolando E. Tambago.

VFI recently signed a memorandum of agreement (MOA) with Asturias municipal Mayor Jose Antonio T. Pintor to jumpstart the program, following a successful similar joint venture program with hog farmers.

The project will tap farmers in Asturias for the growing of fruits and vegetables, which will then be bought by Virginia Farms at a guaranteed price enhancing the livelihood of the farmers making sure they will earn profits from their crops.

The local government, on the other hand, will provide for other needed assistance like initial inputs of seeds and fertilizers and setting up of irrigated water system.

During the MOA signing last April 7, 2021 between the firm and the local government of Asturias, Tambago said that the joint project is part of the company’s Community Social Responsibility providing a sustainable livelihood for the families in the community.

The pilot run of the project will be done in Brgy. San Isidro, taking off from the provincial government’s Sugbusog program, where families were grouped per sitio or purok and planted crops in an allocated lot within the sitio.

Purok 5 Okra in Brgy. San Isidro was chosen for the pilot run of the project and will be led by their Purok president Nicomedes Curacha.

Virginia Farms is currently the biggest company engaged in hog farming in Central Visayas, which operates a 360-hectare farm in Asturias managed by its sister company Asturias Farms, Inc. It also operates a total of 47 branches of The Pork Shop in Cebu, which mainly sells fresh chilled pork products.

With a steady supply of fruits and vegetables from Asturias farmers soon, the firm will start selling the produce in The Pork Shop branches under its brand “Asturias Harvest.”

There are at least 40 families who can participate in the project here in Purok 5. Most of these have been engaged in farming for a long time and has always faced challenges when selling their produce. We think this project will really help us,” said Curacha.

Tambago promised to setup a production program for every crop to ensure there will be enough supply based on market demand.

“Later on we will study the possibility of also setting up a processing plant once production is stabilized,” Tambago added.

Pintor said the partnership as it helps them in their thrust to foster the development of the agriculture sector in the municipality.

“We are currently the biggest producer of yellow corn in Central Visayas. With this project, we hope to also become a major player in fruits and vegetable production,” said Pintor.

Tambago hopes to duplicate the project in other areas of Cebu soon just like how they were able to do similar concept in buy-back offers for live hogs, which now partners with several backyard hog farmers in different areas in the province.

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