CEBU’S leading pork retailer opens the year with their first expansions outside of Cebu.
The Pork Shop, Virginia Farms Inc.’s retail arm, officially enters Panay with the opening of its first two branches in Iloilo City last Wednesday, January 8, 2020.
The branches are located in Super “Terminal Market” and La Paz beside the public market, providing families in the neighborhood access to fresh supply of pork delivered daily.
According to Virginia Farms president Rolando E. Tambago, they decided to setup their first expansion outside of Cebu in Iloilo because of the province’s expected fast economic growth in the next five years fueled by Iloilo City’s current building frenzy and continuous infrastructure developments.
Iloilo City is considered the center of economy in the Western Visayas region with the 4th busiest airport and huge concentration of middle class. Also, the presence of several swine farms in Panay added more reason for the company to start operations in the island.
“Aside from bringing in high quality pork meat through our retail arm, which is The Pork Shop, we would also like to help alleviate the standards of farming in Iloilo and anywhere we will be expanding.”
Virginia Farms, through its subsidiary Virginia Farmers Solutions (VFS), partners with other farmers for contract breeding and growing.
Being in the farming business for over 50 years now, Tambago said they believe that Virginia Farms has already developed the best farming practices and technology when it comes to raising hogs either for breeding or growing. Through that knowledge and expertise, he said they can help raise the bar in terms of swine farming by engaging the local farmers as partners under VFS.
A partner farm is assured of the best technology support from VFS including genetics, nutrition and management. The harvested livestock will all be bought by Virginia Farms making their businesses more sustainable.
“The advantage is that we have The Pork Shop where we can readily sell the meat to the consumers so the farmers will no longer worry about how to sell their hogs. Also, because these farms are our partners, follows our technology, we are assured of the quality of the meat that we sell to our customers,” said Tambago.
The Pork Shop, which first opened in 2008, is currently the market leader in Cebu with 43 branches already operating mostly in Metro Cebu area providing employment for at least 600 people. Ten more branches are set to open this year.
“We recently opened two branches. One in Liloan, Cebu and another in Maribago in Mactan Island last month. We will continue to open more shops within Cebu this year at the same time expand in other regions.”
Tambago said they hope to replicate their success in Cebu, guided by the same principle of providing only guaranteed quality pork for the household, in other regions starting with key economic areas.
“So, there are three things we’d like to achieve – provide quality pork, provide job opportunities to the locals and raise the standards in pig farming in every place that we plan to expand,” said Tambago.
In the short term, he said they are looking to open a total of ten branches within the metropolitan area of Iloilo within the year and then add more branches in Panay island as well as key cities and provinces in Mindanao and Luzon.
Virginia Farms, Inc. is currently the biggest integrated “farm-to-pork” swine business in Central Visayas, with base operations in Cebu since 1968 in a 360-hectare farm property located in Asturias, Cebu.