Which came first, the chicken or the egg?
This age-old dilemma has resulted to countless debates for centuries, as it continues to baffle scientists, academicians, and even your community “tambays”.
It is indeed mind-boggling and may even cause people to scratch their heads, but for Martin Ozaeta, a simple Batangueño who hails from Lumil, San Jose, it is not important which came first, as long as it is economically rewarding.
For almost 20 years, Martin Ozaeta of GEMSUN Marketing has considered chicken eggs as his family’s bread and butter. Thanks to his in-laws, Mr. and Mrs. Rolando Virtusio, who first ventured into the poultry business, Martin learned the intricacies of poultry and egg business up-close and very personal.
Now managing his own business, 42-year old Martin sees to it that he attends personally to the needs of the farm. These include taking good care of the chicken, with the help of a consultant. Through the years he has learned and experienced a number of factors that pose health risks to the chicken, leading to infertility or even death.
Martin, who took up Commerce in college, believes that all business is not without hindrances. He remembers facing difficult times in running his farm in the beginning. Among them, he states, is maintaining a steady cash flow.
“Hindi naman basta-bastang negosyo ito, ” he quips, adding that this is primarily caused by the tottering supply and demand.
“Kung December, pag malapit na ang Pasko, yan in-demand ang itlog, pag bakasyon yun ang lean, ” he added.
According to Mang Martin, as far as cash is concerned, he has a number of lending institutions and government programs including those of the Department of Agriculture to thank for.
“Malaki ang naitulong ng Department of Agriculture sa amin lalong-lalu na si Secretary Yap. Ito’y dahil nung kinailangan naming mag-expand, naka-avail kami sa ACEF ng loan,” he said.
The ACEF or Agricultural Competitiveness Enhancement Fund is a special purpose fund created by Republic Act No. 8178 or the Agricultural Tariffication Act of 1996, specifically intended to finance projects and activities to enhance the agriculture and fisheries sectors. It supports and enables farmers and fisherfolk, cooperatives and agribusiness entrepreneurs to compete in the globalized agriculture market.
Martin has also partnered with the DA via the marketing assistance program Bagsakan Center, thru which he is assured of a ready market for his produce in Marikina and Quezon City.
Martin’s project has indeed come a very long way.
GEMSUN today has redesigned its building to an AV-type to adapt to the changing environment and climate. An automatic drinking apparatus is also being utilized for easier management. Modern equipment such as generators, egg-grading machines, and sprayers are being used as well to ensure the safe and high quality production of eggs. And through the years, martin’s company has acquired a fleet of transport vehicles: seven closed vans, two refrigerated vans, two trucks for live hogs, and an L-300 van.
Today, the poultry farm that stands on a two-hectare lot along Recto Avenue in San Jose, Batangas, has continued to provide financial stability to the Ozaeta family, as well as to some 55 neighbors who work as farm laborers. It boasts of a daily harvest of close to 58,000 eggs, which are packed and delivered to several supermarkets in South Luzon and Metro Manila.
It has also diversified into a livestock farm managed by Martin’s better-half, Pilamar. The farm raises dozens of swine, and gives sustained livelihood and incomes to Lumil residents through its Paiwi or grow-out program.
Now, the town of San Jose is recognized as the “Egg Basket of Luzon”, thanks to the efforts of poultry raisers and egg dealers like Martin…a truly excellent achievement for an egg-cellent enterprise.
By Adora Dolores Rodriguez