ABC Story: Capiz fisherfolk reap benefits from Pilmico fish farm training
As challenging as it was, I believe that 2020 brought out the best in our team members. The resilience they demonstrated can be seen in the group’s growth, overall, amidst a rapidly changing market and environment. We owe our resilience to our Aboitiz values which played a crucial role in how we managed the twin pandemics and how we adjusted our strategies to take advantage of opportunities where they emerged. Truly, 2020 is a testament to what we can do together as One Food Group - to fulfill our mission of feeding humanity and advancing business and communities.Sabin M. Aboitiz President and CEO, Food Group
Metrics That Matter
Powering through disruption with a strong, values-driven culture
2020 brought much complexity to our operations and the Food Group relied on our strong, values-driven team to keep us on track with our goals and objectives. Foremost of these is ensuring an unhampered supply of food products for 20% of Filipinos and other ASEAN markets that depend on us for their livelihood.
We are proud of the exceptional teamwork that enabled us to play a bigger role in creating solutions for our customers’ rapidly evolving needs. Pandemic or not, it was a year of growth for the Food Group as we broke ground on several major expansions:
- Operationalized our Tarlac Meat Masters, a Triple-A meat cutting facility with a capacity to process over 80,000 kilos worth of meat per day. This is a big step in our effort to reach “the last mile” while gaining efficiency in our meat production.
- Commissioned our third Feedmill line in Iligan, adding a capacity of 20TPH to support the growing demand for feeds in the Visayas and Mindanao region.
- Pre-commissioning of our Fish Feed Line in Ha Nam, North Vietnam, with a capacity of 5TPH designed to cater to the increasing fish feeds demand.
- Ongoing construction of a 5TPH Fish Feed Line in West Port, Malaysia expected to commission by the end of the first half of 2021.Progress amid challenging landscapes.
Diversifying into aquaculture and pet food
Many of our plans, which were originally spread over a three-year period, were accelerated in 2020. In response to rising protein consumption in the region, we are further exploring new opportunities for an integrated aqua business and to expand into additional protein-rich products such as shrimp, leveraging our existing production and distribution network.
With the notable shift in the lifestyles among pet owners, we are building our pet food business in Southeast Asia with capital-light production methods that maximize our existing assets while pursuing potential acquisitions in the largest pet food industry — China.
Capitalizing on Innovation
Innovation remains a core focus value for the Food Group and we define this as small, incremental changes that positively impact how we do things. In 2016, Pilmico was the testing ground for the Aboitiz Group’s digital transformation. We were the first to introduce an agile workplace, telecommuting, harnessing the digital space to enhance customer experience, and many more. Those same investments in systems and people have brought gains for the Food Group in 2020 through our utilization of data dashboards in decision making, e-commerce to increase customer reach, and virtual platforms to shift support services online.
Strengthening customer relationships through digitalization
We took full advantage of digital channels and social media in order to continue consultations and customer visits with partners in the Philippines. These same channels carried our learning cascades and webinars, which turned out to be much more beneficial as more participants were able to join each session.
Concentrate Plus, a similar initiative in Indonesia, provided online solutions to customers including group chat consultations with veterinary experts. Through it, the Indonesia team strengthened customer relationships and even created new markets.
Our supply chain management remained intact through the implementation of flexible collection and payment methods while some essential CAPEX pushed through to protect the bottom line.
The pocket innovations led by our team members are key to our continued market management and have paved the way for building more meaningful relationships with our customers despite the physical limitations of the COVID-19 pandemic.
The shift to e-commerce
With the changes in retail consumers’ buying behavior and in available dining options, we launched our e-commerce initiatives to bring our Maxime premium dog food brand and The Good Meat top-quality farm products directly to homes via Lazada and Shopee. We will further support our long-term outlook in the Food and Agri space by activating more dynamic brand and marketing strategies to increase market presence and awareness.
Advancing business and communities through values
The twin pandemics of African swine fever and COVID-19 would have been insurmountable if not for the resilience and agile response of our people. Whether it was our team in China who explored alternative raw materials amid logistical challenges at the height of the health crisis or our team in Vietnam who took advantage of their raw material storage capacity when the market share was up for grabs, our teams acted swiftly and came through when it would have been easier to call it a day.
Taking the many lessons from 2020, we are determined to become the industry leader in the region’s integrated agribusiness space with a focused commitment to our stakeholders. As One Food Group, we will advance business and communities by providing quality and innovative products and services that add value to people’s lives.
My obsession: People
While the growth of the company is definitely a good thing, how we take care of our team members is what truly matters. And for all of us, 2020 could not have been a better year of showcasing our appreciation to our number one priority – Our People.
When you make your people feel valued and supported, success follows. This is why we believe in the power of conversations – making sure team members are heard and listened to. We will continue communicating and enabling them with the right tools so they are equipped to overcome challenges they may face along the way.
I would like to take this opportunity to thank every team member in the Food Group – from our veterinarians, sales and marketing teams, to our finance, HR, admin and operation teams – 2020 was not easy but we still succeeded because of all your hard work. Know that I continue to be inspired by your resilience and I will do everything I can to support you.
With a strong, values-driven team and innovative solutions already in place as we steered through the uncertainties of 2020, we face 2021 stronger and better equipped to successfully navigate the shifting market dynamics of the new normal.
- Recorded net income of PHP2.5B in 2020
- Broke ground on three rearing houses in Tarlac. This will double our egg volume from the current 4M monthly egg production to 15M eggs starting 2023
- Launched Tarlac MeatMasters, Pilmico’s triple-A meat cutting facility that can process up to 1,000 heads per day or approximately 80,000 kilos of meat
- Started construction on a third feed mill in Iligan last November 2020, giving an additional 125,000 MT to our total Philippine feed production capacity
- Increased annual feed mill capacity across production facilities in the Philippines (125K MT), China (356K MT), and Vietnam (31K MT)
- Created more synergies through the continued growth of our commodity trading business in Asia
- Operationalized Bakery Solutions Company (BASCo), a one-stop bakery supplies distribution center in Batangas catering to small and medium bakeries
- Successfully launched The Good Meat’s own online shop www. thegoodmeat.ph that accepts online orders of meat and meals from customers in Metro Manila Made Maxime Prime Dog Diet and Salto Gamefowl Feeds available on popular e-commerce sites Lazada and Shopee, bringing our products closer to consumers
- Increase annual feed mill capacity in Malaysia (31K MT) by Q1 2021
- Expand layer farm operations in the Philippines towards an annual output of 181 million eggs by 2023
- Capital-light-option (leasing) of expansion in Guangxi, China to serve customers from Guizhou province
- Implement Pea Cleaning & Pigeon Feed Mixing System in China
- Diversify and expand the product portfolio of the Pet Food category
- Continue building agile workplaces and exploring digital solutions Pursue more R&D and solution-focused initiatives that will enable the Food Group to develop products that will move the business forward to the value chain
Capiz fisherfolk reap benefits from Pilmico fish farm training
Early in 2020, fisherfolk in Capiz received technical assistance through Pilmico’s Bangon Capiznon initiative following the onslaught of Typhoon Ursula in Capiz.
This same aid has consistently helped them weather the challenges brought by the COVID-19, allowing them to earn more and post better fish growth amid the health crisis.
In February 2020, the Pilmico Aqua Feeds team turned over 1.3 million bangus fry to help Capiz fishermen rebuild their typhoon-depleted fish stocks. They, along with fish cage owners, gained technical knowledge about fish feeds ratios, proper use and scheduling of feeds variants, and fish cage specifications to promote a better fish-growing environment.
Additional earnings, faster and better growth
From February to October 2020, the beneficiaries have been earning an additional PHP10 to PHP15 per kilo — thanks to increased fish growth and performance — and avoiding additional losses from inefficient feeding practices. Compared to other brands, Pilmico’s aqua feeds result in faster and better growth, with an average of 15 to 20 days earlier harvesting time. The Bangon Capiznon beneficiaries have harvested 15 tons of fish or approximately 13,607 kilograms.
“I’d say it was the right timing to receive assistance from their team. The business partnership with Pilmico helped small-time fishermen and fish cage owners (Nasa tamang timing talaga kasi yung business partnership na yan kay Pilmico, natulungan yung mga small-time na fisherman dito at ang mga fish cage owners din),” said Moreno Gonzaga, a fisherman and beneficiary of Bangon Capiznon.
Pilmico’s flexible feed payment terms is helping to speed up business recovery while the Pilmico Aqua Feeds team is helping to close technical knowledge gaps in proper fish cage management and aqua feeds ratios. The team’s consistent technical support and regular, almost-daily visits — according to Gonzaga — have greatly helped in proper fish growth monitoring.
Reliability of supplies and services
Gonzaga shares that what sets Pilmico apart is reliability, which helped them with feed efficiency.
“Before we started using Pilmico feeds, other brands always ran out of stock. When that happens, we had to switch to a different feed brand mid-season. When we change fish feeds, what happens is their growth is affected. This is because they are not used to the new brand introduced (Dati [nung hindi pa Pilmico], palaging nauubusan ng supply yung ibang feeds brand. Kaya ang nangyayari, kalagitnaan ng season ng isda, nagpapalit kami ng brand ng feeds. Kapag ganun na nag-iiba ng pakain, hindi sanay ang isda, ang nangyayari ay naapektuhan ang paglaki nila),” he said.
He regards Pilmico as a reliable brand because of its uninterrupted supply of feeds and services.
Richard Rafio, Pilmico Feeds Category Manager for Aqua, confirmed that amid the pandemic restrictions, their team has been consistent in delivering services to Bangon Capiznon beneficiaries. “In the last few months since we launched this initiative, our team has been working with the Roxas City government and we also got endorsements from the BFAR [Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources],” shared Rafio. “We acknowledge the hard work that our team members on site have been putting in, and this was complemented by essential support from the government.”