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PhilRice Partner Gets Award

A partner of PhilRice in the implementation of TCP 3, a PhilRice-JICA project on integrated farming systems in Currimao, Ilocos Norte, recently received an award with a hefty cash prize from the Sipag at Tiyaga Foundation, which was founded by Senator Manuel Villar.

We were told that the story was one of the bases of the Foundation’s search committee for choosing Margarita “Margie” Allado. She was one of 16 former overseas Filipinos workers who were recognized as outstanding Filipino micro and small entrepreneurs for their exemplary performance and accomplishments.

Margie, who went to Hong Kong to work as a domestic helper, succeeded in her Palayamanan venture and sari-sari store, which she established at her residence along the national highway going to Manila. Her sarisari store grew into an agricultural store, which now sells animal feeds, farm implements, fertilizers, herbicides, and her own harvest of ampalaya, eggplant, tomato, okra, and pole sitao among others.

What made her successful in her sarisari store is the low markup on her goods. She only marks up 1.5 percent to 2 percent, which is not normal in the sari-sari store business. Hence, she has more customers as saving a few pesos means a lot to them.

Regarding her vegetable venture, Margie said five to six of her neighbors have followed her example. In the past, they often watched her perform various farming chores and asked her why she was doing those things. Soon they were already buying vegetable seeds from her and asked her how to produce seedlings of ampalaya, eggplants, upo, and tomato among many others in plastic seedling trays.

Another awardee from Ilocos Norte is Sarah Dabucon of Banna town, who succeeded in producing rice coffee and soya coffee with assistance from the Mariano Marcos State University (MMSU), Department of Science and Technology, and Department of Trade and Industry. After five years in this business, the net income of this MMSU graduate already reached P308,688 in 2007. Sarah worked in Saudi Arabia before she got married, several years before she started to produce rice coffee.