PHILIPPINE feed manufacturer and poultry producer Vitarich Corporation last week celebrated 60 years of serving the Filipino farmers.

Since its founding as a company in 1950, the pioneering spirit and service of Vitarich is anchored on the concern for the Filipino farmer. This has been imbued by its founders, the Sarmiento Brothers, namely Lorenzo, Pablo, and Feliciano whose company bridged generations and continued to exist with the vision of partnership and development.

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A whole day affair was held at their plant on Km 14, Panacan in Davao City on Friday, wherein both regular and contractual employees celebrated with the administration the company's determination to remain as one of the country's top agricultural business in the country.

This ended with a cocktail event in the evening attended by it's partners, farmers and producers, who came from from all over Mindanao as the administration's form of thanking them fro their support and loyalty to the company's capability to deliver the quality produce.

Operations Support director Nicole Sarmiento-Garcia recalled Vitarich began with her three grandfathers, the Sarmiento Brothers, whom she described as very nationalistic.

"They built Vitarich on the core values na makabayan, makatao, at makadiyos. Vitarich started on July 9, 1950 as a small seed miller in Luzon but they wanted to help all around the Philippines kaya napunta dito sa Mindanao. Mindanao was the least helped of all of the three regions of the Philippines and they have the vision to help their fellow brothers in Mindanao," she said.

"Especially my grandfather, Don Lorenzo Sarmiento, who was based here and married someone from Zamboanga. With this they continued the business for 60 years of service for the Filipinos farmers exclusively and with this we hope to enrich the Filipino farmers more and the Philippine economy as well," she added.

Vitarich has fought a long and good fight to remain one of the country's top feed manufacturer and poultry producer but, as Sarmiento puts it, it did not come cheap and easy, but was attained through sacrifice, innovation, vision, and preservation.

Raymundo Onor, a Vitarich employee for 23 years from 1978 to 1980, said Vitarich' asset lies on the dedication of it's administration and how the vision to excel is relayed to their employees.

"Noong 1995, Vitarich expanded but it was also the time when all the integrators also expanded sa production so doon nagkaproblema sa manok. Doon kami nalugi at that time. Maraming nagsabi na hindi na raw nakakabangon but that was proven wrong by the people behind Vitarich. Along tha way, the bond between those who manage and who are managed have grown strong over the years and the workers workers are not working for the job alone but to really put up Vitarich again in its original putting. It takes a lot of dedication," Onor said.

Last year, Vitarich temporarily suffered from the Typhoon Ondoy as it hit their plant in Luzon. This bugged down their company for a few days. However, Sarmiento said, after three days the company was able to pull itself up with the sheer perseverance of its own employees.

"We have had both manmade and natural disasters along the way which gave up significant setbacks but we are on the pickup and we can assure you that what we have learned from these core values and challenges would only make us stronger. We hope to last to serve the market even longer," Sarmiento said.

"Our best asset is our people who are very ingenious and hardworking and may pagmamalakit sa isa't isa pati sa kompanya," Sarmiento added.

Mindanao Operations Area Administrator Aida Girado during the celebration took the chance to thank their partners in behalf of the company.

"If not for your presence and support we would not have reached this stage of the company. Thank you to our business partners and you can expect that we will continue to serve to the best that we can, with more innovations to our business. May we go on together for several years more," Girado said.

Vitarich Davao is the first operational expansion in Vismin. It was on the late '70's when the layer farm has been established. It was named Sarmiento Agricultural Enterprises, Inc.

The Feedmill operations started October 1978. The employees at that time really played a big role since the mixing of feed ingredients is done thru manual process.

The layer farm started as the first agricultural investment for Vitarich-Davao operations. After a year the Feedmill plant started its operations with more or less 25 employees. But Davao Feedmill Plant was formally operational in

1981.

Vitarich's officers are Rogelio M. Sarmiento as Chair; Ricardo Manuel Sarmiento as Sales & Marketing Director; Stephanie Nicole Sarmiento-Garcia; Operations Support Director; Joey Sarmiento as Board of Director; Guillermo B. Miralles as Vice President for Vismin Operation; Aida T. Girado as Area Administrator, Mindanao Operation; Manolo I. Inting as Feeds Sales Manager, Mindanao Operation; and David Rey Palabyab as Poultry & Foods Sales Manager, Mindanao Operation.