Water exec ventures into organic farming-A A +A
Monday, October 1, 2012
A HIGH-RANKING official of a water business firm has found “big opportunities” in agribusiness.
Three years after he retired from being chairman of Mactan Rock Industries Inc., a job he held for 38 years, Antonio Tompar is now venturing into integrated organic farming.
“I ventured into farming for, one, health reasons and, two, because this is a good industry that needs professionalism and good management. If handled well you can make money out of farming,” Tompar said in an interview.
Tompar said his family owns vast tracts of land in Cebu, Bohol and Iloilo, which he is currently developing into an integrated organic farm to supply organic vegetable to hotels and restaurants in Central Visayas.
He first developed the family’s 12-hectare property in Corella, Bohol. After a year, he developed the 30-hectare land in Asturias, Cebu and later a seven-hectare farm in Dumangas, Iloilo.
Excluding the land cost, Tompar said he invested about P2 million in the first three years just to get his farm operating, which includes purchase of planting materials and seedlings.
Prior to venturing into organic farming, Tompar consulted various industry experts. He attended a three-day session on organic farming in Bansalan, Davao del Sur to have first-hand knowledge in farm planting and management. He also joined the training sessions on organic farming initiated by the Cebu Chamber of Commerce and Industry.
He said he hopes to become a major supplier of organic vegetables in supermarkets in Bohol; and hotels and restaurants in Cebu and Iloilo.
Tompar’s farms currently specialize in organic lettuce planting which he said is “purely organic and can be eaten right away.” His farm adopted the vermiculture technology in sustaining the growth of his organic farms.
Vermiculture uses worms to turn waste into organic fertilizer.
Tompar’s average weekly harvest of lettuce in Bohol and Cebu is 100 kilos each and 50 kilos in Iloilo. He said revenues he collected from selling the lettuce through his dealers are given back as payroll for his employees.
Aside from planting vegetables, Tompar also allotted areas to plant coconut and native banana and introduce “inter-cropping” of coffee and cacao.
He said the pigs he raises in his farm in Bohol help support crop production because of their manire. These pigs are also roasted and served to customers in his 50-seater restaurant Tompar’s Farm Corella STK Grill.
He said any investment in agriculture will prosper given the huge demand for organic fruits and vegetables in the market.
“This is one industry that has a lot of potential but is largely untapped,” Tompar said.
“The promotion of organic farming in the country needs a lot of improvement for all farmers to feel that the demand in the market is increasing so farmers will opt to stay in agriculture and shift to organic farming,” he added.
Tompar said the growing global trend of a healthy lifestyle increased the demand for organic products in the market.
Published in the Sun.Star Cebu newspaper on October 01, 2012.