Beyond the famous Chocolate Hills, the small town of Carmen in Bohol thrives on its agriculture. This sector is the livelihood for most locals, and Elsa, a 50-year-old CARD client and an experienced agripreneur, supports agriculture. She believes that the agricultural industry nourishes society, from creating jobs to feeding the families.
Elsa is a mother of five children who chose family business over formal education. Their shared dedication has kept their business resilient. From confronting natural disasters to fierce market competition, their journey has been filled with trials. Yet, with optimism and passion, they have weathered every storm.
Beyond cultivating the fields, Elsa’s entrepreneurial spirit led her to establish a sari-sari store following the aftermath of Typhoon Yolanda in 2013. Their family also ran a canteen near the elementary school for about three decades.
Gratitude fills Elsa when she speaks of CARD, Inc., (A Microfinance NGO). “I became a CARD client in 2009 not just for loans, but because of the insurance it offers. With CARD by our side, we always have a safety net in times of emergencies, especially for business needs,” Elsa said. Indeed, CARD’s support has enabled Elsa to further expand her business, ensuring steady growth even in uncertain times.
Today, Elsa’s businesses are thriving, with seasonal crops like watermelons and various vegetables augmenting their regular produce. “A single watermelon harvest of 1,000 kilograms can bring in over PHP30,000 during peak seasons,” she said. Meanwhile, their local vegetables such as string bean, eggplant, and Chinese cabbage, are harvested quarterly and sold at retail prices ranging from PHP20 to PHP100 per kilogram.
The mentioned agricultural products were widely distributed in the market with their partner traders, wholesalers, and retail store owners around Carmen, Bohol.
With the success of the business, they now have a more comfortable home and bought a small truck, primarily used for product delivery or distribution. Their growth is not just personal. The success has enabled Elsa to provide jobs, which contributes to the growth of Carmen’s local economy.
“For those who want to venture into business, you must be steadfast, passionate, and optimistic because the road is tough, but it’s worthwhile,” she concluded. Elsa intends to develop their business in the coming years by purchasing more farms to diversify their agriproduct offerings.