Emie Estialbo is a 25-year-old hydroponic lettuce farmer from Capiz. After losing her job as a teacher during the pandemic, Estiablo tried her hand at hydroponic farming. She won P50,000 in capital from the Department of Agriculture’s Kabataang Agribiz Competitive Grant, which she used to set up her farm, Hydroponically-Grown Lettuce (HGL).
Even though HGL isn’t located near a city or market, its produce consistently sells out because Estiablo utilizes social media as a way to sell her produce. She offers three tips for success:
Include your clients in your farming journey. “Always update [your followers] on what you’re doing on the farm,” Estialbo says in Tagalog. Customers are more likely to buy produce from farmers they are familiar with, and whose journey they are invested in. Make sure that all the photos on your feed are aesthetically pleasing.
Post about collaborations and good feedback. Customers love seeing behind the scenes. Post about who you’re collaborating with to leverage both your followers. Also post (with permission) good feedback you’ve received from customers. Not only will this help potential customers make up their minds about buying from you, your current customers feel good as well because they get to help you grow your business.
Don’t give up. This doesn’t just apply to marketing on social media, but it’s extremely important. “Farming is really hard at first,” Estialbo says, adding that it’s not a livelihood that is encouraged. “A lot of young people tend to get disheartened when no one wants to help them.” But she adds that if one wants to succeed as a farmer, they have to persevere, oftentimes alone. “But there will come a time when people will want to help you… especially when you [become] successful,” she says. “Don’t lose hope because one day, you’ll harvest, you’ll earn, and all the hardship you went through will be rewarded.”
Photos courtesy of Emie Estialbo