Sunday, December 6, 2009

(9) Each farm plants its five-hectare upland area into a random mix of bananas, hardwoods, softwoods, tapioca, Tricanthera and other high protein trees for livestock feed, cacao and cocoa, cashew, bamboo, rattan, anahaw, rambutan, macapuno coconut, longkan, jackfruit, star apple, lanzones, blackberries and forest berries, Indian mango, carabao mango, guyabano, avocado, ubi, fruit palms, chico, santol, guavas, mangosteen, macopa and other fruit trees. Randomly arranged trees of mixed species help control plant diseases and promise year-round harvests when the trees mature. Between the trees the farm installs honeybee colony boxes and mushroom shacks. Onto branches and trunks the farm grows orchids, bromeliads and other ornamental plants.
(10) After the first harvests of row crops, the group farm uses co-op loans and proceeds from sales of rice, corn and vegetables to buy the following starter livestock: (a) 1,000 range chicken pullets, (b) 500 duck pullets, (c) 2,000 quail layer pullets, (d) 20 mixed breed piglets, (e) 10 native breeder pigs (to be artificially inseminated), (f) 10 native goats (for artificial insemination), (g) 6 turkey pullets, (h) 10 sheep breeders, (i) if local governments have a cattle dispersal program, each farm gets one or two cattle or water buffaloes (for milking).
(11) The farms entrust half their livestock to co-op paddocks, feedlots and sheds to cut risks from robbery and as part of preventive medicine procedures. A veterinarian and an animal husbandry expert acts as consultants. A paddock manager and laborers manage the feedlots.
(12) The group farm uses its stock of rice grain wastes, ground corn and sorghum, salt, shellfish lime, plus harvested high protein tree leaves, vitamin mineral premix and sweet sorghum juice or syrup to formulate feeds for its livestock. The coop’s animal husbandry consultant advises on proper mixes. By using such home-grown ingredients, the farm brings down feed costs to a mere 20% of commercial feed prices. Since feeds comprise 80% of regular livestock farm costs, the group farm manages to earn large profit margins out of their livestock while using organic feeds (no chemical preservatives).
(13) As the group farms begin their livestock raising operations, the co-op sets up its processing facilities as follows: (a) Meat Processing Section to produce refrigerated cuts of chicken, pigs, sheep and goats, plus sausages, hams, smoked duck, pre-cooked meats for food ingredients, and flavored, ready to roast barbecues (pork and chicken), (b) Brown Sugar Section to mill part of farms’ sweet sorghum harvest and convert the juice into brown (muscovado) sugar and syrup.
(14) As the farms’ fruit trees mature, the coop sets up its Fruit Processing Section to produce anti-oxidant syrups (from forest berries), fruit juices, candied fruits, purees and fruit cocktail (canning contracted out), jams, berry wines, and regional sweets. Basic input is sweet sorghum syrup. The FP Section targets exportation of products to Hong Kong and Singapore where thousands of Filipina maids and cooks decide what meals to serve. Export products include flavored, ready to broil pork and chicken barbecues, hard boiled duck and quail eggs and pre-cooked meat cuts (ingredients for noodles and soups), pizza ingredients (mushrooms, sausages, cheese, chili), smoked duck and hams and processed dish ingredients contracted by Chinese restaurants.
(15) Groups of employees and their relatives (co-op members) who want to maximize their farm’s income sell their farms’ production on retail to scores of friends, co-workers, neighbors and local eateries. A major portion of harvests gets sold by cart retailers and food booth sellers from the slums. High profit margins are attained due to the following cost-cutting factors: (a) organic home-grown livestock feeds (80% savings); (b) use of foliar instead of basal fertilizer (60% savings) for all crops and trees; (c) use of organic pesticide out of local ingredients (40-60% savings); (d) rice hulls and corn cobs as crop dryer fuel (70% savings plus no grain losses from usual sun drying); (e) no marketing middlemen; (f) rice hull wastes as charcoal (70% profit); (g) milled sorghum stalks, corn and rice stover as fuel for brown sugar production (no fuel cost); (h) shared veterinary and agricultural experts’ fees (coop fees divided by 50 farms); (i) preventive medicine and expert care minimizing losses from livestock diseases; (j) low-cost food processing thru central co-op facilities; (k) upland rice species needing just 1/3 water compared to lowland rice, (l) low-cost water supply due to upland stream sourcing; (m) new breeds of range chicken as major livestock line don’t need expensive caging and feeding facilities. Mixed-breed chicken don’t easily fall prey to diseases. These help bring down farm costs; (n) Mixed breeds of pigs and goats are not prone to diseases either, and require mere inexpensive bamboo sheds for shelter, another cost-cutting factor; (o) The farm grows its own bamboos and woods, which means ‘free’ building materials for farm sheds and cottages, another cost-cutting feature; (p) home-grown (low-cost) sweet sorghum syrup as basic ingredient for fruit juices, health drinks, candied fruits and regional sweets lowers farmgate prices of such export items, hence maximizes profit margins.

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