Overview of the Philippine Project Public Business Venture.
What we are doing and Why?

“Helping people is a good thing.
Helping people AND getting your money back is BETTER!”

By Tim Roach
Copyright 2009

Information page: The people we are working with are not looking for handouts, just an honest helping hand.

Information page: What steps are involved to allow short term use of funds and how the money is returned.

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Simply put ... What we are doing is buying, processing and selling rice.

Rice, as you probably already know, is a major part of the diet most people eat on a daily bases here in the Philippines as well as most parts of South East Asia.

As with many things here in the Philippines, corruption abounds in this market. In this case the problem we are attempting to break/hinder pronominally involves the dishonest buyers. Some buyers use inaccurate scales (some so bad it is visibly noticeable even with small weights). Others promising to pay one price, then when they return having many excuses for not paying the agreed upon price. From the quality of rice was much worse than they thought, to the "industry" has changed conditions so the price of rice changed to much to give the original higher price. Or any number of other excuses to justify paying a much lower price than promised.

The question many would ask is, “Why don't the growers simply take the dishonest buyers to court (or file legal charges)?”

The First reason is that the legal system here does not work the same as it does in other parts of the world. This can make the process very expensive and impractical.

The Second reason, is that like many other things here, there are a large number of the legal arbitrators, that are not exactly honest. I will be quick to point out that this does not apply to all of them. There are many of the arbitrators/judges that do try their best to be fair and honest in all situations. Unfortunately there are enough crooked ones that it is difficult to trust the system. Of course the dishonest buyers are going to do everything possible to get the hearing under one of the arbitrators that can be bought.

Which means the grower wastes their time and money trying to go though the legal system.

Like many things here, since the dishonest groups can not be stopped by the legal system or government intervention, a different way to fight the problem must be devised. So about a year ago we started slowly buying and selling rice on a small scale to learn the system. Learning who will work with us honestly and who we can not.

Our logic, if the growers, millers, retail buyers have a choice they will prefer to work with people that are being honest, with weights, prices and everything else. Until now their only choice has been who they are going to let cheat them (or who will cheat them the least).

Over the last year, we have developed a good reputation at all three major levels:

The Growers:
They know we have accurate scales (which we verify from time to time in front of anyone that wants to watch). We offer a fair/reasonable price (not as high as some offer but reasonable/fair) AND we usually pay them C.O.B. (Cash On the Barrelhead, as we use to say back home) so there is very little or no waiting for their money and we pay what we promise.

We do not have “hidden/surprise charges” when buying or transporting the rice. Actually, we do not charge for transporting rice we are buying (unlike some of the others).

Plus, after we have loaded what we are buying, if we have extra space, we will let growers with small amounts of rice put a few bags on the truck to take to the mill at no charge (this is usually rice to be processed for the growers own family’s consumption).

At first people with me thought I was crazy for not charging something for the transportation. I explained to them, IF we have available space on the truck and IF we are going the same direction (no special trip) it is not costing us anything extra, to carry a few extra sacks. Plus if the situation were reversed I would want someone to do the same for me. However, something that did surprise me, after we unloaded the other people's rice (which usually comes off first since it was loaded last), rather than simply saying thanks and walking off, some would/will stay and help us unload our truck, without us asking. (Honestly, to me, the extra help was and is far more appreciated than anything we might have charged for the transportation.)

With the next harvest something we also started noticing, several of the people we had let load/transport the rice for free, started selling us larger volumes of rice AND were talking to other growers encouraging them to sell to us rather than the other groups.

The Miller(s):
There are some millers in the area we will not work with due to dishonest scales, dishonest milling practices, basically just the fact they are dishonest with most everything they do. However other millers have figured out that when they work with us, being honest with us (and everyone) regarding the drying, processing, bagging, weights of the rice, etc. We will tend to bring more rice for processing to their mill.

One of the millers in particular has been actively encouraging growers around his area to sell to us (and has surprisingly gone with us into the fields to help pick up and load the rice). This is a win-win for everyone, the growers get dealt with honestly and the miller gets more rice to process.

In a few cases, the quantity of rice the mill manager helped us acquire would keep his mill running non-stop for almost a week. As the manager says, in his broken English, “If machine no running, I no make money.” Since the “down time” (days with nothing to process) at his mill has "reduced significantly" since he started working with us, he has an obvious interest to help connect us with area growers that are wanting to sell their rice.

This not only helps the miller and the growers, but also keeps several people working at the mill and able to provide a little better for their family. (see: Just looking for honest helping hand.)

Retail Buyers:
Currently our largest sales come from the regional restaurants. As I am sure you can imagine, restaurants here always need large amounts of good quality rice.

We are also starting to get more sales in the consumer retail markets (grocery stores, convenience stores, etc.), a few buyers from other regions/cities where rice is more difficult to aquire, plus some direct to home sales.

With our retail sales, there are two things that people tend to comment on, the quality of the rice we sale is really what we say it is (or better). Sometimes the quality is not as good with some runs as it is with others (usually due to type of rice). We always make sure people know exactly what they are getting before they buy it.

The other thing that several people have commented on, if our bag says that it has 50 Kilograms of rice when they buy from us it REALLY HAS 50kgs of rice. Not 47, not 48, not 49 but 50kgs. It is a common practice for the rice dealers to "short" the bag. Some short a 50kg sack as much as 5 kilograms (though it is more common to be about between one half to one kilo short).

With us what the bag says it weighs is actually what the bag weighs. Be it our 1 kilogram bags or a 50 kilogram sack. Most groups have noticed the difference, as soon as they pick up/evaluate the bags or sacks; they usually immediately notice an obvious difference in weight (without even using scales).

Much like the growers and the millers, if given a choice most of the retail buyers prefer buying from someone that is being honest with them.

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While we might not be able to stop the dishonest practices of many of the buyer/dealers via enforcement of the laws, we can certainly put a dent in their dishonest practices by hitting them where it really hurts. Their wallets.

This is where I need your help, the sheer volume of people wanting to sell to us and buy from us is growing faster than the funds I have liquid (readily available cash).

So I have created a side area to the Philippine Project, asking people for some cash assistance. But unlike most groups that ask for your money, I plan to give you back all the money you allow me to use (usually within six months)

As we say with this part of the PH-Project:

helpinghand.jpg
“Helping people is a good thing.
Helping people AND getting your money back is BETTER!”




Information page: The people we are working with are not looking for handouts, just an honest helping hand.

Information page: What steps are involved to allow short term use of funds and how the money is returned.


helpinghand.jpg
Helping Hand
Donation Page

Return
Home
Philippine
Project
Main
Page

Email
mail
PHproject@
troach.org



Page Last Updated: 2/25/2009 2:59:47 PM