Lifestyle Asia

RICE UP

Rachel Renucci-Tan and her husband Patrick Renucci were happily living successful lives in Paris when Typhoon Yolanda was ravaging the Philippines. “We saw the images on TV of Yolanda really destroying the province of Leyte, and I realized we had to do something,” says Rachel, “we couldn’t just sit there and stare at the Eiffel Tower and sip champagne.” Feeling like they had to do something, they left everything behind and moved to the Philippines.

Their efforts were initially to help the province recover. During that period, they observed the abundance of rice fields, but lack of proper facilities. “We decided to help uplift the rice farmers of Leyte, help them recover from poverty brought about by Typhoon Yolanda,” says Rachel, “and then to produce world-class rice for the Filipino people by building the most technologically advanced rice processing complex in Southeast Asia.

Chen Yi Agventures, which produces Dalisay Ricefresh and ready for milling, a process that uses Japanese technology to purify the air, ensuring the air blown out is clean and safe to breathe in. “The local rice industry has no base standard for what makes good quality rice,” says Rachel, “for most other companies, they're not concerned about the quality, because for them it's about making profits.” She mentions the practice of mixing low quality, imported rice from Thailand or Vietnam that has been in storage for a few years with local rice, fumigated and sold in the market. “We have a different model, we believe in working with the farmers, empowering our key stakeholder, our producers of . We believe in quality, and we fight for it,” she says, “so even if our profits are not as high as the importers we stick to producing only local rice.”

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