Entrepreneur sees promise of goat farming venture
A fifty-six-year-old entrepreneur never intended his 10-hectare property to become what it is today — a growing, successful goat farm.
In fact, Eddie Aguilar of Barangay Gunting in Barili town in southwest Cebu, had first intended to turn the agricultural property, which he bought from his savings for years of working abroad, into a banana plantation way back in 2007.
Aguilar said he had already planted banana and was prodded by a friend to start raise goats so he could use their manure for fertilizer.
But Aguilar knew better than to just raise goats for fertilizer, and he took the first step to jump-start what is now known as the Barili Goat Farm.
The animals require low maintenance because they eat tree leaves, weeds, grass and agricultural byproducts. Not only they are source of protein, but also provide livelihood to about 15 million Filipinos across the country today.
With a capital of P10,000, Aguilar bought two goats in a span of one week and had one of them bred to eventually give birth to a kid.
Five months after the animal’s birth, he was able to sell it for P15,000. Today, he said each animal can cost up to P50,000.
Goats command a higher price compared to other meats in the market because they are culturally integral to every special occasion including birthdays, baptisms, weddings and fiestas.
Goat breeding may be a lucrative enterprise, but Eddie said that dairy production is a more consistent source of income that is why he decided to focus on it now.
“In a year, you can only sell one or two goats. In dairy production, you have income regularly,” he said.
The government has observed an increasing demand for goats but although the total inventory in the country is rising by two percent annually, there is still not enough supply to meet the current need.
Barili Goat Farm
For eight years now, Aguilar has been managing Barili Goat Farm, a sprawling 10-hectare estate of vegetation found in Barangay Gunting, just a few meters away from the famous Mantayupan Falls.
Located approximately 58 kilometers southwest of Cebu City, Barili is an agriculture-dependent town which mainly produces rice, maize, bananas, vegetables and coconuts.
According to Business Diary Philippines, goats are very popular among Filipinos because they require low capital investment, fit the smallholding (small farm) condition, and multiply fast.
While Aguilar did not have any knowledge about agriculture prior to getting into goat farming, he said he has always been passionate about raising animals.
“I grew up raising livestock. I’ve raised pigs and chickens as well,” he said.
Fresh milk supplier
Today, the goat farmer owns close to 200 animals and supplies fresh milk to God’s Grace Farm, Metro stores, the Molave Milk Station in Barili, as well as a cheesemaker in Dumaguete City.
Aguilar’s 25 lactating goats produce about 40 liters of fresh milk per day, which he sells at P180 per liter.
The entrepreneur only started focusing on milk production in 2016, with years before that dedicated to goat breeding.
DepEd, logistics jobs
After graduating from high school, Aguilar worked for nine years at the Department of Education (DepEd) in Cebu and then for a logistics company for 13 years.
He worked for nine years in the Philippines before getting an assignment in Saudi Arabia where he worked for four years. When he came back to the Philippines, he began supplying water systems.
It was some time in 2006 when he started doing research on goat breeds after seeing photos of these well-bred animals on social media.
It was in 2007 when he decided to join a Goat Congress in Cagayan de Oro City, despite not having a goat farm yet.
“I had a few goats then, but they lacked proper care,” he said.
It was then that he invested in more goats and turned the 10-hectare property into a goat farm instead of a banana plantation.
He had come a long way since then — with more goats raised and his dairy production venture.
Aguilar admitted there are times he feels the pressure of meeting the production demands of his clients because getting more animals is quite difficult especially since the best kinds are imported.
He said the government has pledged to help livestock farmers, but with politics sometimes getting in the way, it’s hard to be assured of any assistance at all.
For now, he said they are looking at ways to ensure they will be able to produce more female animals.
In the next three years, he plans to bring his operation to 500 heads.
He also advised aspiring entrepreneurs not to invest in ventures just because they see others doing well in their businesses.
He said they should have a passion to do the job or to go into the venture.
“Most people fail because they look at the success of others and think they can follow the same path, not knowing they will have a hard time in the
middle of it all,” Aguilar said.
Aside from passion, the goat farmer attributed his success to thorough research even amid failures along the way.
“In any venture, it all starts with passion. Then you invest in research and development. There will be failures, but it is all part of success,” he said.
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