(Memoirs of an Agri Journalist)
In farming, some can make a fortune while others can incur misfortune. There are many risks in farming which could be due to various reasons. Failure could be due to calamities like typhoons or floods that farmers have little control of. But there are also failures that are caused by reasons that could have been prevented by adopting the right precautions.
In contract growing, the grower has to pay penalty if the birds don’t attain the targeted weight after a designated date.
One could be a victim not caused by foul weather but by unscrupulous people. Just like a basketball star who had to sell not just one but three cars to pay for the penalty he had incurred as a broiler contract grower.
Broiler contract growing has been a popular scheme of getting into the poultry business. This started many years ago and is still prevailing up to this time. In fact, the practice has become more popular than ever.
In contract growing, the integrator supplies the chicks, the feeds, the medicines and technical supervision so that the birds will attain a target weight required by the market. The contract grower, on the other hand, provides the housing, the labor, water and electricity. If the contract grower attains the target weight, he will be paid the amount agreed upon. If he exceeds the target weight, he would get a bonus. But if he fails to achieve the minimum target weight, he would be penalized depending on the gravity of the shortfall.
In the mid ‘90s at the Agri-Kapihan forum, Rolly (that’s not his real name) related how he was victimized by his own nephew. Rolly was prompted to go into the contract farming of broilers because a fellow basketball player was making money raising 40,000 broilers as his sideline. Thinking that he could do better, he bought a two-hectare farm in Lipa and constructed houses good for 60,000 broilers. He figured out that he could make a fortune even if he did not devote his full time to the project. After all, he had a nephew whom he paid a big sum to take care of the poultry farm. He would just visit every weekend or whenever there was no scheduled game.
However, instead of making a fortune, Rolly had incurred a misfortume. And he was so bitter about it in telling his story before an audience of about a hundred farming enthusiasts at the Agri-Kapihan forum. His advice was: In farming, don’t trust even your close relatives.
Rolly had to sell his three cars just to pay for the penalties for not attaining the targeted weight of the broilers despite the amount of feeds supplied by the integrator. Why? What happened? Why didn’t the birds grow to the desired weight?
Rolly eventually found the reason why. His nephew who was overseeing the farm was not giving all the feeds to the birds. About half of the ration was being diverted to a buyer at a ridiculously low price.
That was a most painful experience for Rolly. He never thought that his nephew would ever do something like that to him. After that, Rolly became much wiser. He instituted his own controls on the farm. And he told the attendees at the Agri-Kapihan not to trust other people too much, including close relatives.