My success story . I am Juliet Guieb, 52 Years old, residing at Purok 4, Panang, San Agustin, Isabela. A woman, a cacao producer- from tree to beans a proud farmer!” During my childhood days, I have seen poverty as a hindrance to many to attain success. Most people in our community are farmers and only few could send their children to college. That made me thinks that farming is not a lucrative source of income. I strived to finish my college degree at CEU Manila. I enjoyed my job then until I got married to Hilario Basug Guieb from Dappig, San Agustin, Isabela. We were able to acquire a small house and lot at Binan, Laguna. I decided to resign from my job at City Hall and I worked as a teacher at Saint Michael’s College, Binan, and Laguna. We took a summer Vacation at San Agustin, Isabela and met Mr. Narciso Santos. He offered to sell his 2 hectares of land. I hesitated but my husband convinced me by telling me that it is a good investment. So, my husband’s hard-earned money went for the acquisition of a 2-hectare land. After that, the adjacent lots owned by Rosalina Santos and Carlina Santos were bought by us in installment basis. As a start, we made a farm plan. Started to sketched where will be our access road, where to build poultry, and where to build a farmhouse. We also made a plan on where will be the site of fish ponds and the kind of crops we wanted to plant.
We decided to start planting bananas
After 2 years, our bananas started to bear fruits. Buying and selling bananas became our business. We bought bananas from farmers of nearby barangays and delivered in Manila, Laguna, and Pampanga. The Banana business was good and my husband went back to work as a seafarer so I decided to leave my work in Laguna and decided to live at San Agustin so that I could manage our farm and the banana buy and sell business. We thought of adding coconut as an intercrop with bananas. We taught that bananas, coconut, and other plants would be all at our farm. DA- San Agustin informed us that there will be a cacao seminar at Laoag, San Agustin, Isabela. My husband and I attended and finished the 1-week seminar. Mr. Zaldy Dollaga, Mr. Jose Luis is one of the resource persons. After the training, we have a field trip at Coner, Apayao. We were inspired by what we saw. Deciding time: Why Cacao? My husband and I needed to decide. We were offered to plant ube and ginger by my uncle to bring at COSCO. Cacao is an HVCC, that there is govt. interventions and support for cacao from the DA and DTI, DA-BAR and other government and private sectors, it generates additional income to farmers, there is a high market demand worldwide, it could result to more employment when the cacao bear fruits we chose to plant cacao in our integrated farm. After land preparations, we bought 1,000 quality cacao seedling at ISU-Echague planted in a 1-hectare land. Every year we planted 1,000 Cacao trees. Cacao is a tree of love. It needs tender loving care.
We applied the technology I learned from seminars
I send my helpers to attend seminars. We do simple lectures to my workers at the farm before they implement my orders. I walk my talk. I demonstrate to them how to prepare before the soil before planting, like staking, fertilization, round weeding, shading irrigating, pruning, harvesting. After planting cacao the more I gathered information.
I was an active participant of the Cacao Council in Region 2.
I am representative of Isabela. DTI offered me a business management course at a Kapatid Mentor ME Program. It is an added tool for me being able to manage our farm business. As days passed by the farm makes us happy. My family and friends come to visit our farm. Meetings and celebrations are held in our farmhouse. There are also field trips in from schools like ISU Jones, Isabela and St. Benedict Parochial School, Solano, Nueva Vizcaya. Last 2016, some of our cacao are bearing fruits. I brought some at ISU- Cagayan Valley Cacao Research and started to learn fermentation, drying, roasting to table making. Whenever there is a seminar about cacao production to chocolate making by the DTI and DA I make it a point that I attend I became so inspired by the outcome of our cacao. I don’t sell my harvest to walk-in buyers. We processed them and make tablea. I gave as gifts to my friends and get their feedback. I send samples of my tablea abroad. In return, they order for their pasalubong every time they come home to the Philippines.
I am working for the improvement of my tablea quality
Promotion, packaging and other requirements to be able to make it competitive. We are developing our farm to be able to make it a haven. The serenity and feeling of satisfaction every time we spend it is priceless.
We have come to the realization of producing our basic needs safe food
A result of GAP (Good Agriculture Practices) and producing organic native chicken, native pigs and contributing to the greening of our environment. My goal now is to increase the volume of my production, be able to promote cacao as a high-value crop. I started putting up 2 wet cacao buying station. One in our barangay and one in our public market. This way, our small cacao farmers could sell their harvest at a reasonable price and that I could meet them and share my knowledge, I give seminars to our cacao farmers and I give incentives to my workers like field trips, out of towns and gifts. Now, I strongly disagree with what I saw during my childhood. Farming is a very lucrative profession. It gives us a good income. It is my advocacy to change the face of a farmer. I take pride in the changes I have become. Because of farming, I am able to give an employment opportunity to the people in my community.