Low-cost but viable livelihood projects for returning OFWs

Published February 14, 2022, 12:05 AM

by Jun Concepcion

OFW Forum

Jun Concepcion

Returning home for good from overseas and finding a steady replacement income need not be a Mission Impossible.

While work abroad often entails a monthly salary substantially higher than what’s available back home, returning home need not always mean dire economic prospects.

Whether from Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Kuwait, Kuala Lumpur, Seoul, Singapore or Hong Kong, there are simple and inexpensive ways by which returning Filipinos can set up livelihood projects that can potentially provide a reliable and adequate replacement income for the family.

All it takes really is a clear vision and direction.

A case in point is Mary Deso-acido who works as a domestic helper in Hong Kong.

“I’m ready to go home for good to my family any time if conditions here change which will make it extremely difficult for me to retain my job,” she said.

Unlike many OFWs, Mary isn’t reluctant or afraid to give up her P30,000-a-month job. And this is mainly because she and her partner have already identified various livelihood projects which offer bright prospects of steady and even lucrative income.

And the range of projects is diverse – ranging from one that entails a start-up capital of as little as P5,000 to a few others, each of which costs several hundred thousand up to one million or a bit more.

The following initial list of projects should help returning Filipinos recognize and understand that a potentially bright future awaits them after ending life and work abroad:

1] Raising CULL chickens

This type of chicken lays up to three to four eggs a day by simply giving them feeds. If a first-time entrepreneur starts with only 10 CULL chickens each of which probably costs P300, start-up capital is only P3,000 for  purchase of the initial batch. Add P2,000 more for the initial chicken cage and feeds, and a small business is up and running. If each one of the initial 10 chickens lays just 3 eggs a day, gross sales if each egg is sold at P6.00 each is P5,040 a month. Gross income doubles to over P10,080 if the number of chickens is raised to 20.

Income will get bigger if the number of chickens is increased further. This type of livelihood project can be set up even on a 50 to 100 square meters of land at the back or on the side of the house of a first-time entrepreneur.

2] Growing siling labuyo or red hot pepper

Remember when the price of siling labuyo reached P1,500 per kilo or more a year or two years ago? As of early January this year, the price was about P120-P150 per kilo in Metro Manila.

There’s big money to be made in siling labuyo! Just watch on YouTube testimonials of several farmers who have done it.

Since most OFWs have one or two or more mobile phones, they can simply watch this videos so they get a very good idea eye-popping sums that are being earned by chilli farmers. These testimonials should make returning OFWs take this issue very seriously.

No agricultural land to set up this project? No problem. Why buy if you can simply rent at a much lower cost?

A returning OFW need not fork out a huge sum to buy a piece of agricultural land. Across the country, it is fairly easy to find rice and other farmers willing to rent out their agri land for as low as P20,000, P50,000 or more.

Numerous agribusiness and trading opportunities have prompted a long-time urbanite from Metro Manila to decide on relocating to the Visayas after he ends his decades-old office job in Hong Kong.

“When the time comes to return home, I will settle down in an agricultural setting in the Visayas, just an hour’s drive from the nearest city. I’ve realized that there are more attractive opportunities and more relaxing lifestyle outside Metro Manila,” according to Jericho.

“Apart from the high cost of living, the overall quality of life in Metro Manila isn’t improving anyway,” he added.

Urbanites among returning OFWs need not despair. Micro and small-scale livelihood opportunities are available in Metro Manila, as well as provincial cities and municipalities. The major difference though is it’s much more challenging setting up a livelihood project in an urban setting and start-up and operating costs are often much higher than one in an agricultural area.

More often than not, competition in an urban setting is much stiffer than in an agricultural area.

“Ahead of my plan to return home for good, I’ve been making lots of studies using tools, like Google, YouTube and Philippine news programs accessible online. This exercise has enabled me to conclude that it’s much easier identifying multiple income sources in a mixed agricultural-urban setting than in Metro Manila,” said Jericho.

“Other returning OFWs can easily do what I’ve been doing,” he added.

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