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Success Story: "Bagas Ti Castillejos - Kayang-Kaya Basta’t Sama-Sama”

Farmers Federation Brownrice Management Team

 The Farmers’ Federation of Castillejos (FFC) was founded in 2017. Initially, they had 20 farmer-associations as members. They are now a duly registered federation with the Department of Labor and Employment and currently applying as a cooperative aiming to help their members by pooling their resources with other farmer groups and by engaging in different enterprises for added income.

Approximately 407 members were trained and assisted by the Rice Business Innovation Systems (RiceBIS) program of the Department of Agriculture - Philippine Rice Research Institute (PhilRice) in their rice production and marketing. Aside from PhilRice, FFC was also supported by site working group (SWG) partners such as LGU-Castillejos, DA-RFO 3, DTI, NFA, CDA, DOST, PRMSU, PhilMech, and OPAG.

The FFC’s Bagas ti Castillejos Brown Rice is the agro-enterprise development project of the cooperative aiming to promote highly nutritious and gluten-free grains that contain an impressive amount of fiber, vitamins, and minerals. It is good for the heart, and primarily aids in weight loss, reduces the prevalence of having diabetes and gallstones, treats digestive orders, reduces the risk of having cancer, and controls the cholesterol level of its consumers. Aside from the health benefits the brown rice can offer to the consumers, it also intends to increase the income of FFC’s farmer-members through value addition.

In May 2021, the agro-enterprise project was conceptualized. As a source of funds, a fertilizer roll-over scheme was used for the 40-hectare production area of NSIC Rc 160. The NSIC Rc 160 is a variety of rice that yields more and better produce. The LGU has lent fertilizers to 37 participating farmers to be paid in-kind (NSIC Rc 160 dried palay at 14% MC) within the season at Php20.00 per kg. A management team from the different chairmen of member associations was also established for the sustainability of the brown rice. During the onset of the project, they were granted 2 units of brown rice impeller by LGU-Castillejos through PhilMech, packaging label development, and design by DTI Negosyo Center Castillejos, vacuum sealer and packaging materials by DOST, storage facility and fertilizer subsidies by LGU-Castillejos, and various trainings from other partner agencies.

MSME Yuletide fair at Waltermart Subic, ZambalesWomens Month Celebration Tradefare at SM Central Olongapo

The official product launch was conducted in November 2021. During the first half-season in 2021, a remarkable volume of brown rice was sold and marketed to Nutri Dense Food Manufacturing Corporation as raw materials for their health products. Currently, the team is conducting promotional activities such as joining DTI MSME Week, Yuletide Trade Fairs, Women’s Month Celebration Trade Fairs, and market linkages in Zambales Pasalubong Centers and other establishments. These are with the support and assistance of DTI Zambales and DA PhilRice. Furthermore, another set of management teams from the FFC will also be trained for the production and collective marketing of vegetable products.

Inspired by the enthusiasm to promote a healthy product, FFC’s Brown Rice is now being known to the consumers. With the help and support of the LGU and partner agencies, FFC is aiming as the first known brown rice producer in the province of Zambales bringing pride to the local farmers of Castillejos.

“Kayang-kaya, basta’t sama sama!” – FFC farmers 

 

By: DTI Zambales

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