Meet Rona Denque also known as the “Mushroom Queen” of Bohol. Rona is the proud owner of The Green Thumb Farm in the town of Corella.
This successful agripreneur grew up in Davao in Tagum City and had always loved farming and gardening. She recalled that her parents always praised her for her green thumb or the natural talent to grow plants.
Rona’s venture into mushroom production was quite unexpected despite her love for plants. It was her love for zumba that led her into the business. Rona met a co-zumba attendee who introduced her to mushroom production. This pushed her to train under the Department of Agriculture-Central Visayas’ Bohol-Agricultural Promotion Center (DA-7 B-APC).
In 2017, Rona decided to start her mushroom cultivation business. In an interview with Jiggy Manicad via his Facebook page, Rona shared her agribusiness struggles, success, and journey.
She said that it was difficult when they were just starting because they couldn’t find the right target market. But despite it all, they still persevered and didn’t give up their business.
“Sa umpisa, ang challenge namin is wala pa kaming market. Yun ang unang problema namin. So nag-production kami nang marami—mass production—pero wala kaming target market. Pero hindi kami nawalan ng lakas ng loob para ipagpatuloy yung mushroom venture,” she recalled.
Their initial market was just households, and they tried offering mushrooms to vendors in the public market. Unfortunately, at that time, people weren’t informed about how to prepare mushrooms.
“But sad to say, sinasabi ng mga tao doon sa palengke na nakakalason yung mushrooms namin. Ganoon ka-challenging yung pag-establish ng market during that time,” Rona shared.
But their break finally came when they started introducing mushrooms to chefs and cooks at hotels and restaurants.
“Ini-introduce namin ang mushrooms namin sa mga chefs ng mga restaurants dito sa Bohol. Luckily, they found out na maganda yung products namin,” Rona said.
Like any good entrepreneur, Rona tried to improvise their products to make up for the off-peak seasons of hotels and restaurants. So, they came up with mushroom chicharon.
Rona’s hardwork paid off, and now the Green Thumb Farm and alfresco restaurant have become tourist spots.
One of the biggest lessons entrepreneurs can learn from Rona’s story is the importance of investing in oneself. Eventhough she already had training, she invested and continued to study.
She shared, “When you start on something, never quit as this will be the secret to success. At mamuhunan din kayo sa training. Ako, ginastusan ko talaga ang training ko noon para matutunan ko ang negosyo ko.”
If you’re interested in agribusiness and don’t know where to start, you can begin by following vloggers who can help you build your agribusiness.
You can watch the live interview via Jiggy Manicad’s Facebook page: