MALITA, DAVAO OCCIDENTAL – A young agri-preneur from this town may have had a challenging journey, especially with the challenges the pandemic has brought to everyone. However, Ella Yap’s determination has paved the way for her.  

Agriculture is said to be the wisest pursuit that contributes to one’s wealth. It also teaches anyone who ventures into it good morals, while yielding genuine happiness. This has been manifested in the entrepreneurial journey of Ella, who continuously inspires farmers and young people in her hometown to look at farming beyond the hard work it entails, but as a huge opportunity to tap. 

A pack of Roswing Yap Cropland Native Coffee and a pack of Native Coffee with Maize

Ella is the granddaughter of Celedenio Yap II, a cacao farmer who has been in the cacao farming business since the early 2000s. He traded dried cacao beans, his main product, at the time he was just starting out. Being the first chairperson of the Provincial Cacao Council, he surely has invested so much love for the industry. In 2016, Celedenio, together with his son, discovered that tablea business is a treasure waiting for them to unleash.  

During the pandemic, Ella took inspiration from her grandfather, who was an active participant and partner of various government programs and initiatives. She thought of venturing into tablea processing with her mother. Following the lockdown, Ella concentrated on her farm and tablea processing even more. She also took advantage of the interventions from the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) Davao Occidental. 

In August 2020, Ella registered her business with DTI and the local government unit (LGU). She then began joining seminars given by the agency to equip her further in running her farm and business. Among those she attended were on business continuity planning, entrepreneurial mind setting, greening the business economy, and the Brand Equity Development project. Her business was likewise enrolled in the One Town One Product (OTOP) Next Gen program of DTI and was assisted in improving the packaging and labeling of her products. But Ella knew that these were not yet enough. Thus, Ella made sure that she has the necessary knowledge when it comes to the registration requirements of the Food and Drugs Administration (FDA) and Intellectual Property Office of the Philippines (IPOPHL).   

Si DTI ang nahimo og eye-opener sa ako nga ipadayon ang gamay nga negosyo kay gipakita nila kung unsa ang potential sa usa ka cacao farmer and tablea processor diri sa Davao Occidental (DTI became an eye-opener for me to push through with the small business I had in mind since they showed me the potential of being a cacao farmer and tablea processor here in Davao Occidental),” Ella said. 

Ella is passionate about building a name for herself. She does not want to be associated with her prominent family all the time when talking about business and the province’s growing cacao industry. She is currently building her processing area as a take-off point towards getting a certification from the FDA. At the same time, she already submitted an application for IPO registration. 

Her dream is to maintain her products’ good quality with the help of the different agencies. She also wishes to penetrate a bigger market and make her products be known worldwide.   

Dako kaayo ang akong pasalamat sa DTI-Davao Occidental labi na sa pag push sa ako sa pag-apil sa mga seminars para mas makabalo pa ko unsaon paggunit ug pagpadagan sa negosyo (I am very thankful to DTI-Davao Occidental for pushing me to join seminars to learn more about handling and operating the business),” she shared. 

DTI-Davao Occidental Program Office Manager Ma. Joycelyn F. Banlasan said her office has been implementing interventions to assist the local entrepreneurs thrive and survive the pandemic. 

“We don’t just give them free seminars and trainings because we are committed to seeing them grow. We make sure that we nurture them in every way we can. And hearing words of appreciation from our beneficiaries and clients challenge us to do more and be better in the implementation of our programs,” the DTI provincial head said while adding that they are beyond grateful to those who appreciate their efforts. 

Banlasan emphasized that success in agriculture or in business is not about the age of the dreamer. Success, she said, is a combination of hard work, resilience, and persistence.♦

Date of Release: 31 May 2021