Fresh egg competition for indigenous Ati

Eggs are everywhere. And our egg operation has growing competition.

Another group of local entrepreneurs has entered the egg business.

Indeed, there was never any shortage of eggs here in Malay, Aklan, Panay, Philippines – where we have paused our global wandering during the coronavirus crisis.

The nearby market in the port town of Caticlan always had plenty of eggs for sale. I was told most of those eggs were trucked from Roxas City – the capital of the neighboring province of Capiz, about 100 miles east of us.

But fresh local eggs are always in demand and should be cheaper to produce and distribute than ones that must be transported from afar. A small, well-run ‘egg farm’ could provide some ongoing jobs and income, too.

Such was the thinking when we agreed to finance the rebuilding of a typhoon-destroyed hen house (seen above) belonging to the disadvantaged indigenous Ati people here near our temporary home.

Of course, the other ‘reason’ to take on the project was to provide immediate employment and wages to the dozens of Ati who were involved in the process.

Fresh egg competition for Ati

Back in May and June, the COVID lockdowns and quarantines had virtually shut down commerce in this area; most of it based on tourism to the world renown island of Boracay. People were hungry – the future unknown.

Fast forward a couple months; the situation has stabilized somewhat, but tourism remains greatly depressed. Like most places, job and income uncertainty remain. People are ‘re-imagining’ their futures – adjusting to the ‘new normal’.

Meet the competitors

The Malay Association Sailing Boat Owners Incorporated (MASBOI) Sailboat Multi-Purpose Cooperative are now egg producers and sellers.

In the past few weeks, they have completed construction and stocked a new ‘farm’. I haven’t seen the MASBOI facility – it is set back off the main road on private property – but we hear they have at least 400 laying hens.

The screen grabs above are from the MASBOI Facebook page. Starting about ten days ago, they were advertising egg availability. Obviously, they have lots of eggs to sell.

The MASBOI group represents hundreds of local members who, in ‘normal’ times, operate the popular tourist sailing vessels known as ‘paraws’; slender single-hull sailboats with outriggers – similar to catamarans. The boats are ubiquitous on Boracay – although many of the crews actually reside on mainland Panay.

According to news reports, the MASBOI association has also started a wholesale rice business. Understandably, the new normal has their membership scrambling for livelihoods.

Free market effects

It remains to be seen how the flood of new eggs will be absorbed into the local market. Of course, the trucks from Roxas City also continue to bring the previous supply. Conceivably, there could be some downward pressure on prices.

Naturally, in a free market system, what other operators do is out of our control. The Ati focus is, and will continue to be, producing the best eggs possible — and stressing the fresh, local, and convenient aspects of the business to our resellers.

I have offered to help further in whatever way I can. But the customer relations, marketing, and sales is something the Ati really need to handle themselves.

We are all adjusting to the new normal.

As always, be thankful and generous, happy trails and more beer.

Life is NOW!

COMING SOON: a breakdown of the egg farm business. In a near-future post, I will outline the financial realities of running a hen house. How much does it cost? Can any money be made? Stay tuned.

Thanks for reading, “Fresh egg competition for indigenous Ati.”

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Fresh egg competition for indigenous Ati

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