Balancing balance sheets and bountiful farming

Posted by: RAFIS DA6 | Posted at: October 23, 2023

In the town of Toledo, Nabas, Aklan, an amazing story of inspiration and success has been growing. Meet Kenn Hinalao, a 38-year-old native of this town, whose life took an unexpected turn during the confusing year of 2020. With the pandemic forcing people indoors and into a work-from-home routine, Kenn discovered a passion that would not only change his life but inspire aspiring farmers across the region.
What makes Kenn’s journey even more meaningful is that he serves as the Municipal Accountant of LGU Nabas, demonstrating his ability to balance a demanding career with his growing passion for farming. His commitment to public service and his new love for agriculture have become a source of inspiration for many in his community.
Kenn’s journey into farming began with a simple realization, the importance of self-sufficiency and the need for affordable, high-quality, and safe food. He believed that the best way to ensure these essentials was to grow the food he consumed himself and his family. With this brand-new motivation, he embarked on his farming adventure.
Armed with determination and the power of the internet, Kenn started small, creating an improvised greenhouse using readily available materials, such as bamboo. He amusingly refers to his source of knowledge as “YouTube University,” as he turned to online resources and do-it-yourself techniques to learn the basics of farming. For Kenn, continuous learning and hands-on experience were the keys to his success.
As time passed, Kenn’s humble beginnings grew into a blooming business. His main focus became lettuce cultivation, which he sold exclusively in the mainland of Caticlan and Nabas in Aklan, and Pandan, Antique. While he has not ventured into the Boracay market just yet, he has audacious plans to expand his operation and establish a presence there in the future.
But Kenn’s journey does not stop at lettuce farming. He expanded his horizons to include oyster mushroom cultivation, with a current capacity of 2,000 fruiting bags. His growing facility has the potential for 10,000 to 11,000 fruiting bags, aiming to produce 20 kilograms of oyster mushrooms every day. His dedication to a healthy lifestyle and a growing awareness of health-conscious choices motivated this endeavor.
Looking ahead, Kenn’s aspirations continue to soar. He plans to develop his production areas for both mushrooms and lettuces and diversify into livestock and aquaculture products on his vacant lot. His story serves as a marvelous example for those who dream of venturing into farming, with Kenn advising newcomers to start small and gradually grow to ensure long-term sustainability.
Kenn’s journey was not without its challenges, though. Lack of knowledge and skills in crop production posed an initial hurdle. He realized that farming goes beyond just growing crops — it involves marketing and ensuring the overall sustainability of the business. Kenn also experienced difficulties in marketing his products but persevered, learning the ropes of the trade. Additionally, he has taken a proactive stance against the challenges of climate change, implementing climate-resilient technologies to protect his crops.
Kenn Hinalao’s story is a testimony to the resilience and ingenuity of individuals who embrace the world of farming. His inspiring journey from pandemic-induced boredom to agricultural success offers a blueprint for aspiring farmers, reminding them that, with determination and continuous learning anything is possible. Kenn’s success story is not just about cultivating crops, it is about cultivating a better future for his family and his community while balancing the responsibilities of a Municipal Accountant. ###Text by: Myleen Subang | Photos by: Ann Marie Tabura/DA-RAFIS 6

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