Your dreams are your possibilities! A guiding principle of Mr. Marvin Xavier Vea of Brgy. Bagbago, Solsona in the province of Ilocos Norte that helps him gradually realize his vision of becoming a successful Civil Engineer and at the same time a promising agribusiness entrepreneur.
Mr. Vea or Marvin to his colleagues is one of the lucky winners in the Department of Agriculture’s Kabataang Agribiz Challenge Program.
A graduate of Bachelor of Science in Civil Engineering at the Mariano Marcos State University based in Batac City, Marvin is gaining attention from locals in his Municipality with his various undertakings as the DA’s partner in promoting agriculture as a business and a way of life.
Marvin grew up in a rural area surrounded by farms. At a young age, he understood the hardships of living on a hand-to-mouth existence.
His interest in agriculture was kindled when he came across a Facebook page on how to grow organic tilapia. This reminded him of how hard life was when they eat their meal as a family sharing fried tilapia cut in halves so everybody in the family can have a share. He promised himself that someday, he will have their own tilapia pond and from his harvest, every member of his family can eat as many tilapia as they want.
Determined to put up his own project, he diligently executed what he learned on the internet about freshwater fish farming, and established his own tilapia farm in a 200 sq.m. area.
Conducting further researches on how to grow organic tilapia, Marvin engaged in various seminars online where he also learned how to mix his own feeds for his tilapia. With the organic mix he formulated, his tilapia is sought after in the neighborhood as it is organically raised and tastes better than the usual tilapia that are sold in the public market.
With a vision to someday be an enterprising Civil Engineer, Marvin visualizes his farm to not only be a productive tilapia farm but transform it into an agri-tourism farm by incorporating creative structures like the unique hut he built in front of his pond depicting a “Bali inspired” “kubo”.
He also is in the process of completing his creative Hydroponics area which he hoped would entice visitors to visit his farm someday. He fully intends to transform the farm in a way that will attract people especially tourists by combining his farming and engineering skills.
With the high potential of tilapia farming as an enterprise for his family, Marvin decided to expand his area. Fortunately, the timing of the DA’s Kabataang Agribiz Challenge is just right when sometime in April, 2021, he learned about the program.
Without a second thought, he grabbed the opportunity of a lifetime and prepared the business proposal as a requisite in availing of the program.
With his faith and strong determination to take full advantage of the program, he presented his business proposal with courage despite the challenges of a weak and unstable internet connection in their barangay.
“Akala ko noon di na ako makaka-pag present but with God’s grace, natuloy naman at luckily isa ako sa mga panalo,” Marvin said.
Championing the heart and gaining the interest of the panel of judges in the Challenge, Marvin successfully passed the rigorous process of selection of winners and became one of the top ten young agri-preneurs in Ilocos Norte with a cash award of P50,000 as capital for their chosen farming enterprise.
“Napakaganda ng programang Kabataang Agribiz Challenge dahil hindi lamang magbibigay ng puhunan sa pipiliin mong business enterprise, aalalayan ka pa nila para mapalago mo ito at mapagbuti ang negosyo mo.,” Marvin said.
So aside from organic tilapia farming, Marvin also proposed to have its lettuce production using hydroponics technology which he also learned from the tutorials in his member page account.
“I am so fascinated with hydroponics because it’s a combination of agriculture, science, and engineering. It’s a new way of modern farming. So with that, I could apply my learnings both in engineering and agriculture,” Marvin added.
Asked how he invested his P50,000 cash prize, Marvin elaborated in detail his investments in the establishment of the greenhouse. He bought uv plastic, insect net and materials for his hydroponics project such as PVc pipes, pumps, timer, seeds and nutrient solutions for the growing media. He also used his prize in the purchase of tilapia fingerlings for additional stocking and some natural feeds like “darak” for his tilapia.
Putting all his plans in order, Marvin continues to nurture his creativity and imagination on how he envisions his agri-tourism farm like 3-5 years from now.
With the nearby Madongan Dam in their area, one of the local tourist attractions in Ilocos Norte, Marvin sees this as an opportunity for his farm to be part of the destination of tourists en route to the said dam where he plans to entice visitors to visit his farm with his showcase of modern vertical farming in hydroponics.
“Hindi lang magiging tourist destination ang aking farm, kundi magisisilbi ring pakakapulutan nila ng aral at idea kung paano ang pamamaraang organiko sa pagtatanim at pag-aalaga ng palaisdaan,” Marvin stressed.
Indeed, success comes really to those who plan and perseveres. He did not only plan his actions, but he acted on his plans. He is indebted to his family, his friends, and also to the DA because of the big opportunities that the Kabataang Aribiz Challenge has provided to him.
“Nakalista kasi sa pangarap ko na after kong maka graduate, makapasa sa board exam, magtrabaho, magtayo ng kumpanya, tapos pag nakaipon, gagawa ng farm. “Nagpapasalamat ako sa programang Kabataang Agribiz Challenge ng DA dahil nauna na ang pagpagawa ng aking sariling farm,” Marvin beams with pride on his accomplishment, a feat he humbly attributes to DA’s Kabataang Agribiz Challenge program.