Good food reinforces good times.
The Municipality of Manolo Fortich through the Municipal Agriculture Office (MAO) recently celebrated the 3rd FBS Anniversary Celebration which further cemented Bukidnon with its title as “Food Basket in Mindanao”. The already established Manolo Fortich Farm Business School Foods and Agri-product Processors Association, Inc. (MFFBSFAPPA, Inc.) is an offshoot of the two batches of trainings on Farm Business School conducted by ATI-RTC X in November 2015.
Mounting a mini food fair by showcasing farm produce and various food products by the FBS members, it showcased and displayed processed goods and cash crop commodities like rice, corn, cassava, turmeric powder, bacon strips, vegetable salad with dressing, banana, coffee, ube, adlay, coconut, cassava, peanut butter as well as pineapple and other high value crops.
The Farmer Business School or better known as FBS has been developed to help farmers learn how to make their farming enterprises and overall farm operations profitable and able to respond to market demands. The learning takes place at the village level and farmers' capacity in entrepreneurial and management skills is built via a "learning by doing" approach. Extension workers and farmer leaders are trained as facilitators and then organize seasonal training courses where farmers work in small groups at their own pace using materials that have been specially designed for the schools.
In terms of value-adding, seven association members showed strong promise in the taste and looks department. These top seven, in no particular order, can put up a fair chance of getting it big in the mainstream market:
1. Manolo Fortich FBS Foods and Agri-Products Producers Association's Pineapple Tart – This is a solid product since the sleek look of the packaging delivers the essence of Bukidnon very well captured in a jar. With a comely color red as its primary color on its label, an emblem of a queen pineapple completes the look. The real treat is the bite-sized tart inside which definitely lived up to its name---wholesomely sweet, delicately sour and pleasant to the taste.
2. Psaltina’s Food Products by the Dignos family – Mr. Epenito M. Dignos and Mrs. Ronalyn L. Dignos used to make peanut butter (and not cassava cake) and it was through FBS via value-adding topic prompted Rona to venture in making cassava cake. The couple’s cassava cakes have already reached the shores of Singapore, Hong Kong, and Australia whenever vacationing neighbors from abroad are around and would order by the dozen to bring as “pasalubongs”.
3. Kalinaw Farms by the Bacani family – With their Arabica Coffee and Adlai Rice gaining popularity among health-conscious consumers and health buffs, Kalinaw Farms offer farm goods ready to placate patrons by keeping their products looking sharp, sleek and easy on the eye. Mylene Bacani may be an experience agripreneur but she is quick to admit that she needs all the help she can get in terms of making his farm products look good with the help of her son or daughter.
4. Joymee’s Pastry Products – A graduate of the pioneering FBS in Manolo Fortich, Bukidnon, Joymee Remarata have evolved overtime and herself an epitome of an empowered woman. She may be reticent and reserved but occasionally is invited to speak before a group of training participants as a Resource Person (RP) on pastry product making and food processing. She innovates her line of products from time to time to catch up with her patrons depending on the availability of resource materials.
5. Salvaro’s Crispy Cassava Chips – For Roger O. Alidon, he believes that banking on an existing and time-tested product is not only safe but rational. When he decided to develop and create flavor variants of his cassava chip products, it was an instant hit among the young ones. With a hip new look, his best seller Salvaro Cassava Crisps now comes in glazed, cheese, sour cream & onion and barbeque.
6. Paradero Bee Farm – The Paradero Bee Farm is one of the best producers of all-natural and energy giving honeys in Bukidnon. Owned and managed by Jan Robert M. Paradero, the bee farm is surrounded by various hardwood trees and flowers. Their bee products which are popular among patrons and bee enthusiasts now include bee pollen and bees wax. Talking about sweet success!
7. Alomah’s Salad and Vinaigrette – Alomah’s ready to eat fresh lettuce salad and vinaigrette is probably the most familiar and the most visible wherever and whenever food fairs are organized in Metro CdO. The selling point of Alomah’s food product is the assurance that their farm produce are 100 percent safe to eat, fresh and is tasty at the same time. Highly recommended is their salad dressing or vinaigrette which now comes in sweet and sweet-spicy with a touch of turmeric.
Meanwhile, Mr. Jemir Arriesgado in his testimony heaped his sincere thanks to the Agricultural Training Institute-Regional Training Center X (ATI-RTC X) headed by OIC-Center Director Maria Lydia A. Echavez for bringing FBS in Manolo Fortich, Bukidnon in partnership with the LGU represented by Councilor Rogelio Quino on behalf of Mayor Clive D. Quino; Congresswoman Maria Lourdes Acosta-Alba; MAO Cynthia Velasco along with Municipal Agricultural Officer Gemma G. Cania and FBS Focal Person and Regional Coordinator Mr. Efren C. Macario.
Mr. Arriesgado, a former Del Monte employee assigned in the meat production said that he has learned a lot from the training especially on enhancing his bacon, ham and other cured meat products. His best seller, aside from his bacon strips, is pork ham especially during holiday seasons.
The Farm Business School (FBS) as an extension modality of the Institute is geared towards entrepreneurship and marketing of farmers’ products.