BY PATRICIA BIANCA S. TACULAO

Located in Lucban, Quezon, Bukid Amara is a farm tourism destination known for the colorful flowers and wide variety of vegetables that grow on its premises. It was established by Michael Caballes, a former corporate employee. 

After working for 20 years, Caballes retired early and decided to lead a simple, farming life. 

(Read more about Bukid Amara here

With his marketing experience, Caballes implemented several phases and developments to Bukid Amara to secure its survivability in the market. Here are four tips that allowed him to foster business continuity with his farm. 

1. Create a master plan

According to Caballes, 90 percent of Bukid Amara’s revenue comes from foot traffic brought by the number of tourists who visit the farm. But when the COVID-19 pandemic began posing health risks for everyone, he knew that he had to shift his farm’s approach for it to survive this challenge. 

Luckily, he had a master plan for Bukid Amara which was separated into four phases. The first one was the creation of an urban farm called Grab&Grow which grows several kinds of vegetables and ornamental plants. 

By May 15, 2020, Grab&Grow was officially launched and served as another income-generating venture for Caballes. 

2. Look at the market’s demand

When Grab&Grow started, Caballes shared that it was supposed to be called Grab&Go because the urban farm’s goal is to provide for the needs of the consumers, grabbing what they need as they go. 

But at the height of the pandemic, Caballes saw that there was a demand for urban gardening materials such as seeds, soil, and ornamental plants. It didn’t take long for him to shift Grab&Grow’s operations to meet these demands. 

The farm began selling colorful ornamentals like petunias and quality potting soil. It even adopted the name Grab&Grow to show that urban gardeners can buy items from them that cater to the plantito or plantita in them. 

“When you are an expert on something, capitalize from it,” Caballes said. 

3. Invest in marketing strategies 

Caballes has experience in marketing since he worked in the corporate world for 20 years. Now that he has his farm, he’s using the knowledge he acquired from his past career to make his agribusiness flourish. 

Using social media, he marketed Grab&Grow’s products and didn’t limit himself to a specific variety, showing potential clients that the urban farm offers ornamentals and vegetables to its customers. 

By promoting ornamentals and vegetables, Caballes secured different revenue streams for his farm and secured its continuity in the market. 

4. Create an identity 

There are many existing agribusinesses in the market. Some have already established themselves because of their products or how long they’ve been doing business. To make sure that people remember Grab&Grow, Caballes created an identity similar to Bukid Amara’s. 

He did this by focusing on colorful ornamentals like petunias which stand out from other plants that are available in the market. 

Another product from the urban farm is European eggplants, which are grown in greenhouses to secure their quality and development. 

Many businesses have been successful because of their unique products, marketing techniques, and pricing among others. But for Michael Caballes of Bukid Amara and Grab&Grow, the secret lies in focusing on business continuity since it will help businesses thrive long-term, and even survive an ongoing health crisis. 

For more information, visit Grab&Grow on Facebook