By BERNIE CAHILES-MAGKILAT
A Filipino agribusiness firm is exploring potential partnership with chicken producer from Holland and expanding its storage capacity and help local farmers avoid wastage as the company also sees going public in the near future.
David U. Ong, chairman and president of the 5-year-old agribusiness company TechnoFarm said they are exploring potential collaboration with Polskamp Meat Industrie of Holland that specializes in chicken meat preparation although the talks are still very preliminary.
At present, TechnoFarm is largely an agribusiness trader. It exports 60 to 80 containers of bananas weekly from Davao to Japan and the Middle East and imports frozen offals and legumes from the US and Europe for local processors.
Although the company has existing cold storage facilities in Binondo and Cavite, Ong said they are also planning to build an integrated facility with estimated investments of ₱500 million to ₱1 billion in a two to three-hectare property somewhere in Bulacan to be near the port and the backyard processors in the northern Luzon.
“We have to focus on food handling and cold storage facilities to avoid food wastage and to lower cost,” he said.
Ong said they import 200 to 300 containers of frozen offals a month and 300 to 500 containers a month of legumes. Some of their local clients for frozen offals are Pampanga’s Best, and Rebisco and Nagaraya for peanuts. They are running out of storage capacity also.
The new storage facility would also help the local farmers ensure their products have proper storage and avoid wastage.
When all these plans have been implemented, the company would push its IPO plan in two to three years although this will all depend on market conditions. It aims to become the first agri trading company to be listed in the local stock market.
“We’re here to change the game. Our plan is to give farmers better facilities to store their produce, they won’t be easily taken advantage of while they link up with their buyers,” said Ong.
He cited the logistical aspect of agriculture has been ignored for decades, making both farmers and consumers easy prey for profiteers. While government is still addressing problems in production, the private sector shouldn’t hesitate to step in should it see opportunities to support farmers.
“We’re here to give farmers better control of their products. We hope to empower them by providing them access to storage facilities that will keep the freshness of their produce longer and give them access to distribution facilities that will link them to markets further afield,” adds Ong.
With better storage facilities and access to distribution, TechnoFarm hopes to improve the efficiency of farmers in terms of bringing their produce to the market which in turn should ultimately bring down costs for consumers.