By Angie M. Veneracion
Denrick Alcaraz took on the family business of raising quails for egg production. Being the eldest of a family with three boys, it was a natural progression for him and he prepared for this eventuality, taking up a Bachelor of Science in Agriculture, major and minor in animal husbandry in 2001, at the Gregorio Araneta University (now the De La Salle Araneta University).
Alcaraz and his college buddy and best friend Rommel Decal made a pact to go into business together. After graduation, they did not have to look far for a perfect business—the Alcaraz family quail business was a logical choice. They first ventured into being quail egg dealers, buying eggs from quail farms in Bulacan and Pampanga and distributing these to outlets in Manila and in the south, as far as Laguna and Quezon.
Business was booming and the initial capital borrowed from their parents had to be augmented as they needed a delivery van to make their distributorship more viable. With their parents’ backing, they were able to secure a bank loan to buy a second-hand delivery van. The distributorship business did well for two years, until the fatigue factor caught up with the business partners. After all, being all-around managers and workers of the business—serving as buyers, drivers, deliverymen, collectors, and so on—is not easy.
They then decided to set up their own quail farm, Dr. Quail, in Sariaya, Quezon, where the price is relatively higher and the demand for quail eggs is high. After studying the feasibility of production and farm management, they decided to go for it—and their decision proved correct when they were able to harness the experiences and exposure they gained as quail egg traders to grow the business, expanding their operations and establishing a branch in Pandi, Bulacan so that they had sources from both the southern and northern parts of the country.
From being suppliers of quail eggs, the business is now into selling hatched day-old quail chicks to those who want to go into quail egg production. Being one of the two quail farms accredited by the Bureau of Animal Industry (BAI) in the Philippines, and with a track record for reliability, Dr. Quail has become a credible supplier in the quail sector. Using internet marketing as their main selling tool, they have tremendously expanded their market reach and are able to deliver to clients as far as Visayas and Mindanao through air cargo. Knowing full well the marketing cycle and demand for quail eggs, they were able to schedule their production to meet the needs of the market.
Alcaraz and Decal occasionally conduct seminars on quail egg production, teaching others about the profitability of the business. These seminars serve as vehicles to expand their business even more, as seminar participants become potential clients and eventually, regular buyers from Dr. Quail for their quail farm needs.
Once free of the day-to-day grind of the trading business, Alcaraz found time to look into other agriculture-related enterprises to complement their now-thriving quail business.
He and his wife Aimie Crizel joined an Agri Aqua Network Inc. (AANI) organized farm tour at AVEN Nature’s Farm in Baliuag, Bulacan. They were impressed by the simplicity of the rabbit farm setup and the small space needed to set up a rabbitry after they attended a rabbit farming seminar conducted by Art Veneracion at AVEN Nature’s Farm. After partaking of the “Rabbit Feast” buffet meal that highlighted the event, the couple decided that raising rabbits was an activity they wanted to integrate into their quail farm.
The rabbits will be a source of healthy, delicious meat for the family. They want their daughter Annika Faith, now three years old, to be raised eating organically produced food.
It did not take long for Alcaraz to start his rabbitry. He purchased his initial stock from AVEN Nature’s Farm and established his setup in a small area of his quail farm. Being used to caring for animals, his rabbitry has expanded and is not only providing meat for his family but is also a source of additional income from sales of pets, laboratory animals, and breeder stocks. Alcaraz recognizes the potential of raising rabbits for meat and is among the pioneer members of the Association of Rabbit Meat Producers (ARaMP), Inc. He shares the vision of the organization that rabbit production can be an answer to the food self-sufficiency and nutritional needs of Filipinos.
His dedication and hard work is already paying off; he recently inaugurated his new house located at Pandi, Bulacan, where he and his family now reside.
He has plans to expand his rabbitry to be able to meet the growing demand for rabbit breeders. He believes that more people should go into rabbit production to make sure the healthy meat will be available on the market. Surely, this young farmer entrepreneur will be a pillar of the rabbit Industry.
This appeared in Agriculture Monthly’s August 2016 issue.