Fruit Preserves, Atchara and Fruit and Vegetable Trading
“I can easily raise PHP10,000 weekly for loan repayment.”, declared Nanay Ofdulia. A CARD member for two years, Ofdulia Valencia’s last loan was PHP100,000. She wants to double this amount in her next loan cycle. In 1992, Nanay Ofdulia asked her husband, Javier, to quit his job of six years so he can help her in her food preserves business. Valencia Food Products started with an initial capitalization of PHP10,000. The business produces pickled papaya (atchara) and sweetened fruits, beans and other ingredients for halo-halo like banana, jackfruit, purple yam, macapuno, tapioca, buco, red and white beans.
Nanay Ofdulia laments that her business, though currently doing well, is not what it used to be. She used to have 30 workers and six trucks. Now her workers have been reduced to 12 and she only has two trucks.
She added her business used to have a BFAD certification. But they have not renewed this. She did not elaborate on the reason for the reduction in the number of workers and vehicles nor for the arrested growth of her business. But she mentioned of a land deal which went badly and for which she lost P4M. She has filed a case against the culprits so she has been attending court hearings regularly.
Currently, the business has a capitalization of PHP1M. The factory operates five days a week. The workers are paid PHP250 – PHP280 a day and are provided with free lunch. Nanay Ofdulia pays a cook PHP500 a day to prepare lunch. Those who are not from the area are provided free living quarters.
Nanay Ofdulia orders her raw materials by phone from Divisoria (red and white beans), Cavite (kaong), Batangas (nata de coco), General Santos City (jackfruit and kaong) and Davao (banana). She buys 200 bags of white sugar and 20 bags of brown sugar per month from the public market in Biñan, Laguna. The fruits from General Santos City and Davao are delivered to the factory. Payments are deposited into the bank accounts of the suppliers. The other fruits are picked-up from the suppliers.
Among their regular buyers are Gem Foods International, Inc., Florence Foods Corporation and Pixcel Transglobal Food, Inc. The products are sold locally and overseas. These buyers use their own brand names and labels. Nanay Ofdulia obtains the bottles in which her products are packed from these buyers. The payment for the bottles is deducted from the payment for the products. The payment term is 90 days. Pixcel orders a variety of products per week which is equivalent to almost 2,000 cases and has a value of almost PHP 1.5M. Nanay Ofdulia wants to buy a second-hand delivery truck which has a capacity of 500 cases. Currently, her single-tire truck can only carry 200 cases at a time.
Though the preserves business is already a full-time job for Nanay Ofdulia, she still finds time to join the AANI Weekend Market at FTI in Taguig to sell fruits and vegetables. Every Saturday at 4 AM, Nanay Ofdulia’s daughter drives her to Divisoria to pick up the products she will be selling at the weekend market. She started this business with a capital of PHP25,000 which she borrowed from an informal lender. The market is open from 6AM to 4PM every Saturday. She earns PHP3,000-PHP4,000 per week.
The earnings from the businesses have allowed Nanay Ofdulia to invest in a three-storey commercial building near a Save More Supermarket in Biñan. She also acquired a 24-ha coconut farm in Quezon. She asked her niece to manage the farm for her. She also purchased two lots in a subdivision in Cavite. The PHP1.7 house and lot where her daughter and her family live is a gift from Nanay Ofdulia.
The stunted growth of her business and the bad land deal have not tainted Nanay Ofdulia’s outlook in life. She is planning to revive her business’ past glory. She wants to expand her production area by adding another level to the existing shop floor. She is thinking of rubberized flooring, fiberglass roofing, a receiving warehouse separate from the work area, and a commercial boiler for sterilization. Aside from the modernization of the factory area, she also wants to obtain certifications from BFAD and DENR so that she can transact business with supermarkets and other food establishments. She is particularly eyeing the nearby SM Supermarket.
Nanay Ofdulia has three children, all of them are married. The first two have obtained college degrees. The third one is planning to finish her Hotel and Restaurant Management degree. She lives with Nanay Ofdulia and alternates with her father in driving for her mother.
~ Ofdulia Valencia