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By: Eleanor Valeros | Published Friday, June 19, 2020
Farming and livestock products are seen to support Cebu Province as it moves towards resuscitating the economy after the community quarantine restrictions are lifted. (Junjie Mendoza)

Dairy goat farming, spinach and water spinach growing, flat bread baking, and virgin coconut oil production are some of the current economic enterprises seen to strike up support for workers expected to return to agriculture under new normal setting with the Capitol’s Enhanced Countryside Development (ECD). 

Through ECD, the Cebu Provincial Government aims to resuscitate the economy and continuously give hope to constituents moving forward from the Covid-19 fear.

In her virtual presser in Barili town on June 18, Governor Gwendolyn Garcia presented the town’s agricultural products such as virgin coconut oil, fresh goat milk, spinach, upland kangkong, peanut brittle or piñato, and traditional sweet, crunchy flat bread baked in brick oven called “karaang tinapay.”

The Capitol sees invigorating countryside economic activities is key to rebuilding livelihoods impacted by the restrictions under community quarantine. 

Garcia encouraged more Cebuanos to engage in farming and livestock raising so lesser people would seek employment in urban, congested cities. This is also a way to support local products.

Eddie Aguilar, a former overseas Filipino worker, was one of the guests of the virtual presser along with Mayor Marlon Garcia, Vice Mayor Julie Flores, 3rd district Rep. Pablo John “PJ” Garcia, and 3rd district Provincial Board Member Jimbo Borgonia.

He shared that he has no educational background in farming or anything related to the agricultural sciences. But with a capital outlay of less than P50,000, he trusted he can start with goat raising.

His investment in farmland took off since he developed a grazing area for the goats, which he considers the key to successful dairy goat farming. 

Today, he is already a full-time dairy goat farmer producing pasteurized fresh organic goat milk with no preservatives at all which is good for those who are lactose intolerant. 

Goat milk can also boost the immune system of consumers with special needs like cancer patients.

Aguilar pointed out that 600 liters of milk sold at P200 yields an income of P120,000 for one goat in ten months.

The advantage of goat raising is that it is a healthy practice, he said. Sourcing food for the goats and the use of manure to cultivate vegetables takes a cycle. 

He added that what is good about Barili is the availability of a livestock market.

Aside from growing grass for goat food, he also invested in planting upland kangkong, pechay (Chinese cabbage), spinach and water spinach which can be harvested in a month’s time.

Meanwhile, the virgin coconut oil produced by Canaan Farms owned by Victor Cortes, brother of Mandaue City Mayor Jonas Cortes, offers organic freshly-bottled and cold-pressed product without additives to maintain its premium antioxidant benefits. One-liter bottle costs P500.

Cold press process involves no heat and minimal friction so that the flavor and nutritional quality are saved. The coconut meat is scooped out and pressed leaving the pure coconut oil as is. Oils are also more aromatic, flavorful and nutritious.

Those who wish to buy virgin coconut oil may place their orders through 0917-644-1113 or may search “Canaan Farms” on Facebook, said Garcia.

The governor has always supported farming initiatives through the “Obra Negosyo Eskwela” program of the Mandaue Chamber of Commerce and Industry (MCCI). 

Past beneficiaries of the project were able to exhibit their products at the “One Cebu Expo” which encouraged micro-entrepreneurs to expand businesses through product development unique to each town as well as marketing and promotions strategies in a comprehensive business plan.

The “Obra Negosyo Eskwela” is described to be a “transformative program” of the MCCI which gets financial support from the Cebu Provincial Government.

“Hinaut unta nga sa inyong kasingkasing misulbong ang usa ka dakong paglaum nga ang ugma hayag kay inyong kasaligan ang Cebu Provincial Government. Inyong kasaligan nga si Gwen Garcia maningkamot gyud kanunay alang sa Sugbo, kay wala’y laing probinsya nga sama sa Sugbo ug wala’y sama sa mga Sugbuanon, ipasulbong nato ang paglaum ug ang unsa’y angay natong ikapasigarbo isip Sugbuanon,” Garcia told Cebuanos over Sugbo News livestream. (Eleanor Valeros)