Amid the pandemic in 2021, young agripreneur Theton Binaliw established the Ton Potato Agribusiness, which sells high-quality white potatoes in Malaybalay City, Bukidnon.

Theton, who serves as the President and CEO of said agribusiness, acquired the love for potato farming from his parents who have been into traditional potato farming for 37 years.

With his own agribusiness, he was able to take advantage of the traditional practices gained from his experienced parents while also applying new farming techniques, innovation and modernization to become more competitive in the areas of production, sales, marketing and management.

The Ton Potato Agribusiness, which employs local community harvesters, not only farm potatoes but also diversifies crops by planting cabbages, carrots, as well as other high value highland crops.

A graduate of BS Business Administration Major in Financial Management, Theton has an extensive experience in agriculture and entrepreneurship having worked as a farm manager for six years. He also worked in agribusiness sales and marketing and supply chain management. In addition, he completed training from different Department of Agriculture (DA) bureaus and agencies and various colleges. Furthermore, Theton is a finance professional with a background in tech-based e-commerce.

“The primary purpose of the Ton Potato Agribusiness is to develop and improve potato production not only for local consumption but for export as well,” said Theton. “We aim to regularly participate in Agi-Industrial development, global trade exports and promotion, and postharvest, processing, logistics, and marketing support,” he added.

To further boost the company’s production, Theton was able to loan P240,000 under the Kapital Access for Young Agripreneurs (KAYA) a credit program of the DA-Agricultural Credit Policy Council (DA-ACPC).

KAYA offers up to P500,000 loans, which has no interest and no collateral requirement, and payable up to five years. The program aims to finance working capital or fixed asset acquisition requirements of start-up or existing agri-based projects of young entrepreneurs and agri-fishery graduates aged 18 to 30 years old.

“I learned about the KAYA program through the DA-ACPC website and Facebook page. It got my interest make a research more about the loan program and eventually applied because I know that that we really needed to increase our production through additional financing,” recalled Theton.

“I used the loan as working capital for my business – to purchase materials for production at yung iba ay ginamit ko din to pay for services such as harrowing and plowing,” shared Theton. “I’m turning 25 this year, and I’m thankful for this great opportunity to receive an affordable loan from the DA-ACPC. It’s really a big help for our company,” added the tech-savvy owner.

Theton believes that the youth play a vital role in ensuring food security in the country. “It’s our time to fill the age gap as our farmers are growing older. We are the future of agriculture and it is part of our mission to make sure that our country is food-secure,” Theton said.

With Theton at the helm, the Ton Potato Agribusiness continues to intensify its digital marketing efforts, expand its production and sales outlets, and engage in export opportunities.

He offers a word of encouragement to young people like him. “If you have a dream, and you want to achieve that dream, you have to work for it. You have to invest your time, energy, money, and more for you to get that dream. Never accept defeat. Pwede kang magpahinga, but it doesn’t mean that you have to quit,” said the young President and CEO.