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Orchid business creates job

March 18, 2010

Agri Plain Talk


February 19, 2010, 3:42pm

Not many people may realize it but the orchid business is also creating a lot of jobs, not only for farm workers but also for traders and other entrepreneurs.

Just take the case of Edwin Veneracion and his wife Gina of San Rafael, Bulacan. When they put up their Golden Blooms nursery in 1998, they started with just three helpers and 3,000 dendrobium seedlings.

Twelve years later, they now have 50 workers who are full-time employees.

Their stocks have increased to more than 600,000 dendrobiums of various sizes, and a lesser number of vandas, cattleyas, and oncidiums.

Besides the workers, orchid traders are also enjoying brisk business by buying flowering orchids from the Veneracions and reselling them to plant shops not only in Metro Manila but also in many other places in the Philippines. The traders come as far away as General Santos City and Zamboanga in the south and as far as Laoag City and Tuguegarao City. Why do traders from as far as Mindanao go to buy orchids in Bulacan?

The reason is not hard to tell. The dendrobiums in full bloom are very healthy and floriferous and they are very cheap compared to the retail prices that many buyers in Metro Manila and elsewhere pay. For instance, dendrobiums that have as many as three to four flower spikes in size 4 pots are sold for only P50 to P60 each. The highest price for that size is P70 for a new and outstanding variety. The majority of the varieties they buy may be retailed anywhere between P120 and P200 each. It could even be higher.

One lady trader based in Quezon City drives her L300 truck three times a week to buy her supply of flowering orchids which she sells wholesale to institutional buyers such as supermarket chains and landscapers. She also sells at weekend markets. At the time of our visit to Golden Blooms she filled her vehicle with 400 pots. She has been a regular customer of the Veneracions for the last ten years.

There are at least 100 regular buyers at Golden Blooms. One husband and wife team who get their supplies every few days sell their orchids in agri-fairs, fiestas, weekend markets and churches. By Edwin’s reckoning, the couple had bought from them more than a million pesos worth of flowering orchids last year.

Another group of regular buyers consists of four cousins from a remote town of Nueva Ecija. They rented a house in Baliuag for them to stay in so they could be nearer the source of the orchids they sell. Each of them usually buys 300 to 500 pots every week, and they are using a jeep to transport their merchandise to customers in other provinces.

The Veneracions are also providing a lucrative livelihood for the suppliers of their inputs. Just like the supplier of coconut husk used as growing medium from Aurora province. Last year, Edwin said, they bought 32 truckloads (the long-bodied truck) from their supplier costing P10,000 per truck. The supplier, he said, is sending his children to school with his earning from coconut husk which can be had for free from the copra makers.

Then there is the supplier of clay pots from Calumpit, Bulacan.

The Veneracions buy some 30,000 to 35,000 Size 4 pots per month. There are also bigger pot sizes for orchids that are grown to bigger sizes. The suppliers of fertilizers and hormones make good business with Golden Blooms, too. They use a lot of imported fertilizers and hormones to keep their orchids in tiptop shape.

Some other time we will write about their winning strategies in the orchid business. We will feature their fertilizing regimen so others may learn from them.

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