Aside from growing fruits, flowers and vegetables, the idyllic Yamang Bukid Farm in Puerto Princesa, Palawan also raises milking buffalos donated by the Philippine Carabao Center. These buffaloes have become essential in helping address malnourishment in the area as their milk are given for free to children there.
This is one of the ways farmer-businessman Rene Maduro’s gives back to the community. Yamang Bukid has also been able to send 500 students to school, some of whom are now professionals. Rene has also made sure that each of his stores would support their communities of choice.
While COVID-19 cast a dark cloud in the farm and the business operation, this familial relationship and spirit of community did not cease. As some of their stores faced temporary closures during the lockdowns, Yamang Bukid gave its workers free products which they could sell so that they could continue earning a living.
“We survived through online selling. Nag-change kami ng marketing at ng strategy. ‘Yung drivers namin, sila ang naging delivery staff, ‘yung sales personnel naman, sila na mismo nagbenta ng mga products namin,” Jean Suarez, Chief Operating Officer of Yamang Bukid, shares. They also donated food supplements to frontliners.
Now that the lockdowns have eased, many of their stores are operating again and their workers have gotten back to work. The rental concessions provided by SM also helped Yamang Bukid. Jean shares: “’Yung sinasabing SM cares, ramdam namin ‘yun bilang tenant. Hindi n’yo kami pinabayaan ngayong pandemic.”