Leyte rice processing firm upbeat on ties with DA

By Roel Amazona

January 15, 2019, 5:53 pm

<p>Chen Yi Agriventures processsing complex in Alangalang, Leyte. <em>(Photo courtesy of Chen Yi)</em></p>

Chen Yi Agriventures processsing complex in Alangalang, Leyte. (Photo courtesy of Chen Yi)

TACLOBAN CITY -- The announcement of Department of Agriculture (DA) Secretary Emmanuel Piñol to partner for the development of rice production in Leyte and Samar provinces is dream come true for a Leyte-based firm.

Rachel Renucci-Tan, in an interview Tuesday, said after many years of waiting, the country’s top agriculture official announced to provide Chen Yi Agriventures more farm equipment and extend financial assistance to farmers engaged by the company through a supervised loan program.

Piñol made the pronouncement during a visit at Chen Yi’s processing complex in Leyte on Dec. 21.

Rachel and French husband Patrick settled in Alangalang, Leyte in 2016 and ventured into a business that supports rice farmers in the province.

The project, however, faced various challenges during their first two years of operation, which according to the couple, made them almost give up, but they kept on hanging to their dream of improving the rice farming technique in the countryside.

“Our dream is coming true. We have finally been heard after grueling years trying to break in our model, convincing thousands of farmers to embrace change, accept the possibility of unshackling their brutal fetters of debt,” Renucci-Tan told reporters.

The Philippine Rice Research Institute (PhilRice) through its Executive Director Sailila Abdula will also support the program by providing high-yielding seeds of good quality rice varieties.

The Agricultural Training Institute (ATI) will also be brought in to conduct training for rice farmers to improve their farming technology.

“As we see our impossible project, our untenable mission come to fruition, we feel incredibly blessed,” Rachel Renucci-Tan said.

“Our partnership with the DA is in the works. Through their efforts and their resources, we can extend free seeds, optimal inputs and massive mechanization to thousands of farmers,” she added.

“We have been passionate and brave, we have believed blindly in our vision, persisted against the odds, never hoping, just knowing that change will come. Throughout our journey, we have felt like giving up because the struggle seared through our hearts and was unbearable,” Renucci-Tan shares.

Chen Yi extends loans for seeds at 0 percent interest to farmers in the area, fertilizers at very low interest rates and equipment and machinery services payable upon harvest.

The couple has already invested PHP1.7 billion on machinery, equipment and facilities to improve rice production in Leyte province.

At present the company has 10 small tractors, several units of transplanters, 10 harvesters and trucks and intends to acquire more to hit their target of a production area of 2,000 hectares by 2019.

The company is scheduled within the month to test and commission the three levels of milling building for the full operation of the company. (PNA)