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Mompreneur finds ‘Good Life’ in her organic agri-business

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Edith decided to continue her business despite the pandemic to support the farmers that relied on her business
Photo from DTI-Regional Operations Group (ROG)

By Victoria “NIKE” De Dios

Many economic experts have pointed out that agriculture alone can reboot the economy at this time of the pandemic, and this theory has never been disputed.

Edith Christmae Tan, a mother and an entrepreneur shared her journey in DTI Northern Mindanao’s teleradio program. While typically shy and unassuming, she  still obliged to be interviewed in her desire for others to learn from what she started.

Unlike many entrepreneurs who have an end in mind to have a business that would provide income for their family’s daily sustenance, Edith’s story is very different. It was a kind of noble entrepreneurship when she came across the organic farming in her search to do something that does not only benefit her family but would extend to the community as well.

“If you start with organic, maka-offer ka sa imong pamilya og goods and products that are safe to eat, and, in turn, you can also offer a safe working environment for the farmers (If you start with organic, you can offer your family goods and products that are safe to eat and, in turn, you can also offer a safe working environment for the farmers.)” Edith explained.

For Edith, was the ripple effect of goodness, which she eventually materialized into a business. The Good Life Nature Farms is a six-hectare farm in Claveria, Misamis Oriental that practices a mix of natural and organic farming technologies that aims to provide all-organic quality herbs, spices, and meats to its customers. It started with cayenne peppers and turmeric as its first produce in April 2016, along with lettuce and other crops that were initially grown for family supply. It has since expanded to provide quality spices for its business partners while still growing its line of produce and showcasing the products in trade fairs and exhibits.

Enhancing her capability

While her organic business is taking off the ground, Edith sees that balancing a business and a family was not hard enough especially in the time of the pandemic. Thus, she pushed herself further by joining the first online Kapatid Mentor Me (KMME) program as one of its mentees. She regularly attended DTI’s bi-weekly mentorship program without a single miss.

Nagbed rest ko pero naminaw gihapon ko kay gusto man jud ko (I was on bed rest but I still listened because I was really interested).” Edith answered when asked why she continued the program even when she was already heavily pregnant at that time. “Niingon jud ko, humanon ko ni (I told myself that I will finish this).”

The pandemic challenged her hands-on type of management as she was not allowed to travel to the farm because of her condition. Sale of goods or crops went down because of the strict quarantine measures that limited the movement of buyers and even resulted in the temporary closure of malls where vegetables of The Good Life Nature Farms were being sold. However, the pandemic was also an eye-opener for Edith as an entrepreneur.  That is to adapt to what is necessary and practical and not to rely on the traditional way of selling her fresh produce but also to start shifting to an e-commerce platform.

“It’s hard to put all your eggs in one basket; I was always worried that everything might topple off with this one sales channel that I have. I wanted to go online but the nature of my produce being fresh prohibits me.” Edith shared. “Gut feel urged me to have a presence online so I thought of products that I could sell and logistically possible to deliver. That is why selling vermicast and potting online was thought of. I wanted my online store to be more diverse so I started distributing natural amendments through it.”

Edith admitted that the shift to the digital platform did not pick up right away. “I had to establish it for a while; I’m actually still establishing it now. I had to promote my store online through social media accounts and learn the ropes of the online platform to make it work. After a while, I started to have orders through it. I was thankful that even if I spend most of my time at home, I still managed to create another income stream aside from the fresh produce.”

The shift to e-commerce allowed Edith to reach out to distributors of fresh produce who already have established markets.

“It was all business to business transaction. They had better access to the buying public despite the restrictions and I was able to course my goods through them,” she explained.

She credits the KMME program for motivating her to find the meaning of her business. That plus her determination to push herself  to success and ask for help when she needed it allowed her to continue her agribusiness in the time of pandemic and even finished the KMME module, becoming one of the 40 mentees who graduated in the first online KMME of DTI Northern Mindanao.

Pagkabalo ka sa imong gusto, mangita jud kag pamaagi. Mangita kag solution sa mga challenges (If you know what you want, you will always look for a way. Look for a solution to the challenges),” Edith said.   “We can all have reasons to give up but never stop,” she concluded.

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