By Yvette Tan
Without agriculture, there would be no food. But agriculture isn’t just planting seeds or raising livestock and hoping for the best; it requires time and care, and for crops, this can include the right kind of protection and fertilizer.
“Crop protection chemicals are necessary in order to control the pests that are the major cause of yield loss, if left untreated or uncontrolled It may lead up to 100% yield loss,” says Tagchem Dragon Distribution Inc.’s Chief Operating Officer Jo Mari Aves. “Maximum yield potential is like a keyhole, and it cannot be unlocked unless you use the right combination of nutrients. While the soil has an existing nutrients by nature, it has its own nutrient deficiencies. We can check the nutrient deficiencies by conducting soil tests and plant tissue analysis on plants.”
The 29-year-old Aves, a registered nurse, joined Tagchem Dragon at the request of his cousin, President and CEO Theo Angelo Garcia, who started the business at 21, ten years ago. Aves began as a Collection Officer, slowly making his way up to his current position. “The knowledge and experience I have now are the fruits of my curiosity, time spent learning from agronomists, colleagues, business owners and farmers in the field and reading agricultural articles from time to time especially about our products and the best practices in farming,” he says.
The company started out selling crop protection chemicals like herbicides, insecticides, molluscicides, and fungicides, hence the ‘chem’ in its name. The ‘Tag’ is derived from its founders initials.
The company has since expanded to distributing products such as chemical and organic foliar fertilizers, chemical and organic plant boosters, stimulants and carefully cultured plant probiotics. “We distribute only high quality products that has the most demand from farmers, we also persistently innovate to help educate and supply farmers with potential products that if they use, it shall reward them with the most yield output at a low and very reasonable price,” Aves says.
A Culture of Teamwork
Part of Tagchem Dragon’s success in the industry, apart from gaining the trust of the farmers it serves, is its corporate culture, which encourages respect and teamwork. “We all know that a company performs better when people work effectively as a team, in order for us to achieve that, we make sure to maintain a harmonious working environment,” Aves says. “The only secret we have in making our company one of the fastest growing companies in the industry is the care for people. We feel very happy when we see success in the lives of our employees.
“The company constantly gives rewards on top of their salaries to performing employees… the company also (creates) programs for the employees (so they can further) enjoy their time… in the company. If you have given enough to the people, they will also give back to the company tenfold in terms of their work and expertise.”
Big Plans for the Country, and the Company
The Philippines is an agricultural country, but despite its vast natural resources, it finds itself unable to meet its own demands, resulting in a need to import crops and livestock. “One of the major reasons is because our soil here in the Philippines has already became acidic and it is one of the biggest factor that affects crop yield,” Aves says.
To combat this, the company created Nitro-fix Plus, an organic soil revival solution that maximizes the potential of every seed planted. “It took almost 10 years to gather all the necessary strains of probiotics in order to give back the natural microbes on the soil, by then absolutely increasing the yield output of every crop,” Aves says. “What we are doing right now is we persistently innovate, aside from our present quality products, we continue to conduct research and develop products that will surely benefit the Filipino farmers.”
This is but a part of Tagchem Dragon’s bigger goal: to help the Filipino farmer make money. “My wish is to have every farmer be educated better in farming, for them to have more output to supply the needs of the country, and have better crop quality to pass the international standard for export,” Aves says. “Our goal at the moment is to let all Filipino farmers to experience the quality of our products. Until we are satisfied that we have covered the whole Philippines in terms of distribution and making every Filipino farmers to experience our products, we will then go international.”