RICE is an important part of the Filipino diet. It is also a crop whose supply, over the years, has become problematic, as the Philippines, once one of the top rice producers in the world, now struggles to meet its own demand.
An agricultural company in Leyte is hoping to change this.
Chen Yi Agriventures recently inaugurated the Chen Yi Agriventures Rice Processing Center (CYA-RPC) in AlangAlang, Leyte. The company is run by husband and wife Patrick and Rachel Tan-Renucci, who packed up their lives in Paris and moved to Leyte to set up a sustainable business after the area was destroyed by Typhoon Yolanda in 2013. “We said, ‘we have to do something to help the rice farmers of Leyte,” Rachel said.
“We were so shocked with what happened here so we decided it was time for us to change the way we were living and earning money,” Patrick said.
Rachel was an investment banker and fund manager, while Patrick ran one of the largest printing companies in France. They decided to set up the Complex in Alang-Alang because it’s considered the granary of Leyte. “We are not farmers. We came here to do sustainable business. We came here because nobody would come here. We came here because of Yolanda... We came here to change the way people are farming. To increase the income of the farmer, to increase the yield of the farmer, and to get them out of the cycle of poverty,” Patrick said.
MOST ADVANCED IN THE REGION
The Complex cost R1.7 billion to build and can process 50,000 tons of rice a year. It is fully automated, which means that there is less room for error. It contains temperature-controlled wet bins where palay can be stored at 21 degrees in a freshly-harvested state. Their drying facilities also include a continuous cleaning process, which, at 59 degrees, kills pests while it dries the grain. Because of these, they are able to mill on demand. “We do not stock rice because a lot of millers, mill, mill, mill, and then stock the rice or hoard the rice until the price is right. We don’t do that. We keep the palay in the bins, in the temperature-controlled silos and we mill when there’s demand. We provide according to supply, not according to price,” Rachel said.
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