Issue of June 16, 2019
     
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How to be a winner – Kerobee Farm

Collaborations among government agencies like the departments of Trade and Industry, Labor and Employment, Science and Technology, Agriculture, Cooperative Development Authority, and the Regional Tripartite Wages and Productivity Board may have greatly contributed to the increase in the number of entrepreneurs engaged in agribusiness in the Cordillera.

Their assistance to these entrepreneurs in terms of agribusiness technology, improvement of business performance resulting to higher productivity and income, provision of equipment and machineries, improved packaging and marketing strategies and a lot of trainings has done so much to these small business operators.

Before, Good Shepherd Convent of Gibraltar, Baguio City was the only known producer of agricultural products by tourists and visitors. Now, a lot of small businessmen are engaged in the production of these products not only pasalubong items but practically all products raised from the soil like organic vegetables, herbal teas, food preserves, honey, and others. Indeed it is an interesting development and they are all found in every municipality in the region.

One of them and undoubtedly one of those that are enjoying a phenomenal rise to popularity and progress is the Kerobee Farm of Ambiong, La Trinidad, Benguet. Its products are in demand, even patronized by people and businessmen from outside Baguio City and Benguet. Its products include honey, an array of herbal teas and organic vegetables.

Kerobee Farm’s rise to prominence is exemplified by the numerous awards and recognitions it has garnered so far.

These include the Outstanding Organic Agriculture Practitioner by the DA, the Regional Best Setup Adoptor by the DOST, Regional Gawad Saka winner by the DA, Benguet Agricultural Achiever by the province of Benguet and other numerous accolades and citations in recognition of its good agribusiness practices.

The most prominent recognition gained by Kerobee Farm is its being adjudged the champion under the micro enterprise category during the National Productivity Olympics in 2017.

The owner, Romeo Kimbungan says the National Productivity Olympics is the most difficult but the most prestigious one that he participated in. He said the Productivity Olympics imposes stringent requirements which, when complied, is proof that a company has excellent business practices in terms of growth and improvement of income, productivity, quality of products and services and relationship with employees, and the community.

Kerobee Farm started as a backyard business of beekeeping in 1992 then expanded other ventures. Today, Kerobee Farm has 19 honey product lines and 12 kinds of herbal tea products which are all organic.

It is also venturing into coffee business specializing on the famous Benguet arabica and its vermin composting production for organic fertilizer, and of course the increase in volume of its lettuce production.

Processing of Kerobee products are done in compliance with the standards set by the government.

Kerobee Farm is certified by the Bureau of Agriculture and Fisheries Standards, Organic Certification Center of the Philippines and the Bureau of Food and Drug Administration as compliant to food safety and quality standards.

Kerobee Farm has become national market, wise. Its products are now sold in Pangasinan, Nueva Vizcaya, Metro Manila, Batangas, Cavite, and Davao City.

Market expansion necessitated Kerobee Farm to increase its volume of production which was realized by its acquisition of machines or equipment through the assistance of DOST, DTI, DA, and DOLE.

Despite the accomplishments of Kerobee Farm as a business, Kimbungan remains humble and willing to share his business success to others.

He is now a consultant on agribusiness and in fact opened Kerobee Farm as an eco-tourism destination where he by shares his knowledge about the business to the public. He also welcomes students majoring in Agriculture to do their on-the-job training in his farm, and oftentimes students from far places like University of the Philippines Los Baños come to the farm for educational visits.

Aside from his innovative ideas, the panel of judges who selected him champion in his category in the National Productivity Olympics also considered his treatment of his workers. Aside from giving what is due to them in accordance with the requirements of the law, he has standardized a policy of giving cash incentives based on good work performance and production output. This does not include donations to his workers who are in need.

Kimbungan said if he is able to help people in the community especially in times of calamity, he should do the same thing and be generous to his workers who are his partners in making Kerobee Farm what it is today.

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