Ingrain Corporation, which was eventually renamed as Allied Botanical Corporation, was founded in 1984 by Willy Co, an aspiring entrepreneur with a vision to help Filipino farmers attain global competitiveness. Mr. Co gained an interest in agriculture after a moving experience with a family of corn farmers who celebrated and eagerly shared their harvest despite their crops’ poor yield. He had no prior experience in agriculture, having only taken courses on philosophy, literature, and business, yet his admiration for farmers drove him to purchase a few shares of a fruit tree farm where he worked and informally learned about plant diseases until he decided to start his own company at the age of 27.
A Story That Started With Sorghum
A ban on seed importation at that time plunged the agricultural sector into an arduous period of debate and antagonism among seed companies, traders, research institutes, and the government. Among countless others, Mr. Co, who was serving as the president of the Philippine Seed Industry Association, was a passionate advocate for globalization, asserting that the efforts of a single country were no match for the combined contributions of seed companies and institutes worldwide. With a goal to deliver the means of global competitiveness to the Filipino farmer and bring his principles to reality, Mr. Co finally had a vision for his company.
Sorghum served as the foundational product of the company, leading to the establishment of Allied Botanical Corporation’s first research and production facility in Alcala, Pangasinan. With a simple team of four employees, the company’s capabilities were limited and thus, the task of nurturing the company demanded much from each individual. Once the seed import ban was lifted, Allied Botanical Corporation began distributing seeds for international suppliers, thus taking its first steps towards its goal of bringing the world to the hands of Filipino farmers. From humble beginnings with its first distribution agreement with the Ferry-Morse Seed Company, the company saw continuous growth, forging close relationships with foreign suppliers while gradually expanding its product portfolio, selling even more crop varieties, and eventually, expanding into flower seeds. Suppliers were carefully chosen and the company moved ever forward, striving to continue its search for crop varieties that farmers needed to push their margins.
Mr. Co eventually launched the Condor brand in 1991 which, ever since, has served as the proud face of Allied Botanical Corporation. The vast majority of the company’s seeds were distributed under the brand, unifying its products under a single name.
In 1996, the company then proceeded to establish Allied Agro Technology Incorporated, its research and breeding facility located in Tayug, Pangasinan. It was through this institution that the Condor brand was further improved and expanded through the extensive amounts of research, breeding, production, and trials conducted within its grounds. Each and every variety had to undergo strict screening procedures and trials, solidifying the Condor brand as a guarantee of quality.
Allied Botanical Corporation, having finally been established as a sophisticated company with a nationwide presence, had accomplished what it initially set out to do:
To bring agricultural products from around the world to the hands of Filipino farmers.
Despite this outstanding achievement, Mr. Co understood that the company had much room for growth. And so, Allied Botanical Corporation proceeded to find more suppliers to meet even more needs, eventually distributing seeds for high-value greenhouse crops and even developing Allied Botanical Corporation’s new crop care division which focused on products such as fertilizers, fungicides, and growing media.
Mr. Co continued to nurture the company to the very end until his passing in 2013. Following the loss of its founder and leader, Allied Botanical Corporation was faced with a period of grief, stagnation, and recuperation. The company was in dire need of a new chairman, and this very leadership was found in Mr. Co’s wife herself, Mimi Co. As Mrs. Co had no background in agriculture, she began the lengthy task of familiarizing herself with the industry and the operations of the company while working to revitalize and reorganize its employees. Soon after, Mrs. Co orchestrated a movement of rapid professionalization within Allied Botanical Corporation. Redundant manpower was reallocated, procedures were standardized, workspaces were organized, and new systems were put in place. Under Mrs. Co’s management, the company experienced tremendous growth and reemerged far beyond its former greatness, reestablishing itself in the agricultural industry with a stronger presence than ever before.
Today, Allied Botanical Corporation continues to deliver premium farm products from the global market to farmers nationwide. Throughout its decades-long history and as long as it continues to exist, the company has and always will operate under the late Willy Co’s guiding principles:
- To carry the best range of inputs to make the Filipino farmer globally competitive
- To only carry environmentally-friendly products
- To continue in the pursuit of excellence
- To do our best to improve our products and services
Allied Botanical Corporation has traveled to great lengths and changed dramatically throughout its history, yet its founding principles are still reflected in all of its actions today. In a similar manner, the mostly discontinued sorghum that once served as the company’s core product still adorns its logo to this day.