Who we are
nutrition and cure, pure from nature
it started with a goal to create high-quality virgin coconut oil
AG was organized in mid-2005 by two Filipino friends, Mason Ang and Antonino Geniston, together with their sisters, to help tackle the challenge of producing a premium quality of Virgin Coconut Oil (VCO) without the rancidity of fermentation and the heated aroma of dry coconut meat oil expelling. Thus the development of Fresh-Centrifuged VCO Process technology, making the original quality of the oil as it exists in fresh coconut meat commercially available to health-conscious consumers.
At that time, the VCO product was increasingly becoming popular locally and in western markets due to a new awareness of its amazing health benefits.
AG’s founders saw in the Centrifuged VCO (CVCO) not only a good business entry point but also a suitable tool for development of coconut farm communities. For decades, many Philippine country-sides that produce copra from coconuts have seen its farmers locked in poverty. Many farmers were losing lands to copra traders due to deep financial indebtedness that arises from prolonged periods of low copra market value, and from the inequity to small farmers inherent in the conventional world trading of agri-based commodities.
FROM HUMBLE BEGINNINGS
From humble beginnings, but possessed with a big dream of helping establish a sustainable community-development-oriented virgin-coconut-based industry-segment in the Philippines, AG has successfully survived its first 7 years in operations, tested by hard times but got thru strong and able. It survived the sudden glut of supply of virgin coconut oil in the domestic Philippine market in the immediate years that followed its start of the operation. It survived the difficult birthing process of a grassroots all-Filipino micro manufacturing corporation, operating in a country economic environment that has serious obstacles to manufacturing business start-ups: high costs of electricity, transportation, and capital, and the up-front negative disposition of some export markets to the Philippines as country-supplier. It survived failures on product quality and misses on delivery schedules, ever grateful to its affected customers for their big-brother-like understanding and support. Today, AG has emerged to be among the technology leaders in a coconut industry segment where process technology is still in a flux, with its 7-year experience in development and use of its Fresh-Centrifuged VCO Process technology. And a very important milestone in its development efforts, AG is now on the verge of making a positive impact on sustainable development of coconut farming communities, like no other in the country, thru certification to Fairtrade International standard by Flo-Cert.
INCLUSIVE GROWTH THRU ORGANIC FARMING
Since the beginning, AG has set out to use only organic coconuts for its operations. AG’s founders saw in organic coconut not only an essential assurance for safe and healthy food products for world consumers but also a driver for inclusive community growth. Aside from enhancing the sustainability of farms, organic farming, which includes the development and use of natural methods for farm productivity improvement instead of the convenient use of chemical fertilizers, herbicides, pesticides, GMOs, etc., increases the economic activities and value of the farm enterprise at the farm level. More farm-level technologies are developed, and more financial resources are generated and circulating in farm communities serving as bedrock and lifeblood for development, respectively. AG partnered with local government offices like Philippine Coconut Authority, Department of Agriculture, Department of Trade and Industry and the Local Government Unit of Padada, AG in promoting awareness on organic coconut farming practices by providing training and demonstrations. AG has also included in its requirements firm understanding and acceptance of organic farming practices in order to become a coconut supplier of the company. From an initial pool of five coconut farmer-suppliers, AG has now 162 coconut farmer-suppliers under its organic-certified coconut program covering 680 hectares of coconut farms, the pool expanding faster. Despite being a small company AG has become the main economic driver for certified-organic coconut production in Davao Region.
With the strong confidence of its capabilities and awareness of its weaknesses AG sees in the future many possibilities to work with others to do what is good. AG will seek suitable opportunities to extend its business and development undertakings to other needy coconut farming communities in the country. The company will further develop and strengthen its channel for fair-trade organic coconut products to key markets under its Fairtrade International certification program. AG wish to enhance its partnership with existing customers, and develop new ones as necessary to advance the business philosophy: “There is good business in the sustainable development of farm communities”.
“There is good business in sustainable development of coconut farm communities”
Antonino Geniston, AG founder