By ANTONIO G. PAPA, Ph.D.

Spouses Wellington and Elisa Chan Lim own and operate Wellisa Farms on Bantayan Island, Cebu province. The farms have an animal stock of about 15,000 hogs and 400,000 layer hens.

The successful agribusiness firm utilizes modern farm equipment and facilities, and applying practical technologies to maintain an environment– friendly surroundings.

Wellington, chairman and chief executive officer of Wellisa Farms, said the company is also the top egg producer in Cebu province. “We are supplying more than 380,000 table eggs per day not only for the whole province of Cebu but also in other provinces of the Visayas and in some parts of Mindanao,” he said.

Besides being an agribusiness entrepreneur, Wellington is also involved in other businesses, namely: lumber and hardware distribution, feedmill operation, bio-organic fertilizer production, paper egg tray production, day-old chicks and ready-to-lay pullets production, meat outlets and hotels.

Wellington, however, still makes sure that Wellisa Farms maintains its edge over competitors and is environment-friendly, taking the initiative to construct biogas digesters to solve the problem of pollution caused by the accumulation of hog manure and chicken dung. The biogas digesters generate 60 percent of Wellisa Farms’ energy requirements.

An aerial view of Wellisa Farms in Bantayan Island, Cebu.

High tech machinery

The operation of the automated egg harvester by Wellisa Farms also results in minimized human contact with eggs thereby improving its quality. It also improves the efficiency of harvesting and reduces product wastage. Then, the harvested eggs pass through the automatic egg grader and sorter, making all eggs end up in the trays.

Wellisa Farms has two dome-shaped biogas concrete digesters constructed by PlanET Biogas Gobal GmnH of Germany. The digesters can produce around 400 kilowatts of energy per hour. “Our two digesters can supply power to operate 20 tunnel-ventillated houses for layers and 20 tunnel-ventillated barns for hogs,” Wellington said.

Likewise, “majority of our animal housing have solar panels that supplement our energy requirements,” he added.

The biogas sludge produced from the digesters are converted into organic fertilizer branded as Wellgrow Bio-Organic Fertilizer and packaged in 40-kilogram bags. The company’s organic fertilizer is registered and certified by the Organic Materials Review Institute based in Oregon, USA.

Wellisa Farms employs a settling pond to settle the solid waste materials which are then collected and dried as sludge––used as an ingredient for biofertilizers. A water pump at the last section of the settling pond then pumps out remaining water back to the piggery buildings for cleaning and flushing.

The farm operates a feedmill with part of the output being sold to other growers. It also maintains a feed silo that reduces waste from livestock feeds. “Wellisa Farms produces its own paper pulp egg trays for packaging. It produces an average of 20,000 pieces of paper pulp egg trays per day by adopting the pulp moulding system using the Silfurton machine, which reduced the cost of egg trays by 50 percent,” Wellington proudly opined.

Environmental impact

One of Wellisa Farms’ mission statement is “to mitigate the problems due to pollution and enhance the following environmental impact: thermal energy, water pollution, air pollution, land pollution, water recycling and paper recycling.”

For thermal energy, the biggest positive environmental impact on Wellisa Farms is the fuel switch from diesel to biogas which saves the daily logistics problem of transporting diesel and refueling activities.

For water pollution, Wellisa Farms has demonstrated that operations of a piggery farm can mitigate and manage water pollution through the use of biogas digesters.

For air pollution, the multi stakeholders, involving local community and the Department of Environment and Natural Resources, attest to the improvement of the air quality at Wellisa Farms––where its operation is free of the foul odor that is common in most piggeries.

For land pollution, the use of settling ponds by the Wellisa Farms and the separation of the solid matters have mitigated the land pollution problem. Likewise, production of organic fertilizer substitutes the usage of synthetic fertilizers that pollute the land and water over a period of time.

For water recycling, Wellisa Farms recycles an average of 20,000 liters of water each day through a closed loop, reducing dependence on local groundwater resources.

For paper recycling, Wellisa Farms recycles used newspapers, cartons and other waste paper materials with a total of 720 tons annually.

Managerial tasks

To make sure that operations in the farms run smoothly, Wellington tapped his relatives for management tasks. “Rudy Chan Lim, my brother, is the head of the farm’s swine operations while Kevin Chan Lim, our youngest child and an engineering graduate, is the head of our engineering and machineries department,” he said.

Corollary to mitigating the environmental pollution caused by the effluents from piggery and poultry farms in Cebu’s Bantayan Island, Wellisa Farms has also opened the door for more local employment to its residents––thus, empowering the resource-poor households and improving their quality of life.

Photos courtesy of Wellisa Farms