Malita, Davao Occidental—A young agri-preneur from this town may have had a challenging journey, especially with the challenges the pandemic has brought to everyone. However, Ella Yap’s determination has paved the way for a cacao venture.
Agriculture is said to be the wisest pursuit that contributes to one’s wealth. It also teaches anyone who ventures into it good morals, while yielding genuine happiness. This has been manifested in the entrepreneurial journey of Ella, who continuously inspires farmers and young people in her hometown to look at farming beyond the hard work it entails, but as a huge opportunity to tap.
Ella is the granddaughter of Celedenio Yap II, a cacao farmer who has been in cacao farming business since the early 2000s. He traded dried cacao beans, his main product, at the time he was just starting out. Being the first chairperson of the Provincial Cacao Council, he has invested so much love for the industry. In 2016, Celedenio, together with his son, discovered that tablea business is a treasure waiting for them to unleash.
During the pandemic, Ella took inspiration from her grandfather, who was an active participant and partner of various government programs and initiatives. She thought of venturing into tablea processing with her mother. Following the lockdown, Ella concentrated on her farm and tablea processing even more. She also took advantage of the interventions from the Department of Trade and Industry-Davao Occidental.
In August 2020, Ella registered her business with the DTI and the local government unit. She then began joining seminars given by the agency to equip her further in running her farm and business. Among those she attended were on business continuity planning, entrepreneurial mind setting, greening the business economy and the Brand Equity Development project.
Her business was also enrolled in the One Town One Product Next Gen program of DTI and was assisted in improving the packaging and labelling of her products. But Ella knew that these were not yet enough. Thus, Ella made sure that she has the necessary knowledge when it comes to the registration requirements of the Food and Drugs Administration and Intellectual Property Office of the Philippines.
“DTI became an eye opener for me to push through with the small business I had in mind since they showed me the potential of being a cacao farmer and tablea processor here in Davao Occidental,” Ella said.
Ella is passionate about building a name for herself. She does not want to be associated with her prominent family all the time when talking about business and the province’s growing cacao industry. She is currently building her processing area as a take-off point towards getting a certification from the FDA. At the same time, she already submitted an application for IPO registration.
Her dream is to maintain her products’ good quality with the help of the different agencies. She also wishes to penetrate a bigger market and make her products be known worldwide.
“I am very thankful to DTI-Davao Occidental for pushing me to join seminars to learn more about handling and operating the business,” she said.
DTI-Davao Occidental program office manager Ma. Joycelyn Banlasan said her office has been implementing interventions to assist the local entrepreneurs thrive and survive the pandemic.
“We don’t just give them free seminars and trainings because we are committed to seeing them grow. We make sure that we nurture them in every way we can. And hearing words of appreciation from our beneficiaries and clients challenge us to do more and be better in the implementation of our programs,” the DTI provincial head said, adding that they are beyond grateful to those who appreciate their efforts.
Banlasan said the success in agriculture or in business is not about the age of the dreamer. Success, she said, is a combination of hard work, resilience and persistence.
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