GNFI tweeted about SabilaFarm and their awesome plan to expand their business selling Dragon fruit to Europe. We would like to share more of this inspiring story.
Little did people know, success did not come easily for this family business. Their story started back in 2004. They have leased a piece of land up above in Merapi which the land is harsh and the weather is cold, which is a huge challenge because Dragon Fruit, like cactus, loves the hot weather to thrive. But Gun Soetopo ain’t the quitting type. He believed he could put his knowledge from his studies in Soil Faculty of IPB to good use.
They can plant it, but can they sell it? Indeed, SabilaFarm faced difficulty to market their first harvest. No fruit seller dared to take the risk to sell Dragon Fruit because the price was a whopping Rp 30.ooo/Kg! SabilaFarm had to give them a guarantee, that they just sell the fruits and all risk will be guaranteed by the farm. In 2009, Gun’s daughter, Sabila Ayu Bestari (the farm is named after her) decided to jump into the family business, and became the Manager of Sales and Marketing for SabilaFarm. She was only 18 then.
Through tears and sweat, success is indeed the sweetest fruit. In 2010 the farm won a farm competition in Yogyakarta and SabilaFarm had a chance to go to Taiwan to learn how to market their fruits. In the same year, SIPPO (Swiss Import Promotion Programme) came to SabilaFarm. The representative of SIPPO said, “Indonesia is such a paradise for fruits. I taste the most sweet fruits in here, especially your dragon fruit.” and he gave them an irresistible offer… to sell their dragon fruits at 4 Euro (or US $6) each! SabilaFarm was also invited to attend Berlin Foodlogistica, but the plan had to be scraped in the last minute due to some problem with G.A.P. By then, SIPPO had already printed their name in catalog and prepared a stand for SabilaFarm to sell their farm’s produce. From there, they received a lot of calls and emails from Russia and the Netherlands!
In Taiwan, SabilaFarm (which was represented by Sabila and her father, Gun) attended business meetings in Grand-Hyatt Taipei Hotel with a lot of Asian investor, exporter and importer. From there, they received some emails from Taiwan and United Kingdom from people who were interested to market their products.
Today, this farm who could not even sell their first produces faces a problem to fulfill the demand for export because they cannot even fill the local market demand. They would have to expand their farms in order to do so.
Gun Soetopo has appeared several times on the national news paper and TV programs about SabilaFarm. The farm has also featured on TV several times, for example in “Ala Chef” on Trans TV, several times in Trans 7, even ANTV already several times broadcast a full time show with Gun Soetopo and ex-agriculture ministry, Mr. Anton.
A lot of people seem to think that Dragon Fruit tastes so sour or even tasteless. Seems to us you have been eating the wrong kinds of dragon fruits. The ones produced by SabilaFarm are sweet and scrumptious! And don’t just take our word for it, you need to give it a try!
Thank you Sabila and SabilaFarm, for showing that it is cool to be a farmer, and profitable too! Best of luck to you!
Source: Sabila Ayu Bestari’s personal blog
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