Farmers from the provinces of Kalinga and Apayao participated to the Experiential Training and Expository Visit to Successful Organic Learning Sites and Accredited Farm Tourism in Ifugao last March 21, 2019.
The scorching heat of the sun did not stop the 44 farmers to visit the six Organic Farm Learning and Tourism Sites in Ifugao that includes the farm of Peter Puh-hay and Meliza Guiab’s Family Farden in Lagawe; the Provincial Organic Nursery and the farm of Catherine Buenaventura in Kiangan, and the Ivan Baguilat’s Farm and Camat’s Integrated Organic Agriculture Farm in Lamut.
The expository visit is an expressed need of farmers and was arrange by the Organic Agriculture Program (OAP) of the Department of Agriculture Cordilleran (DA-CAR) to expose the farmers to various organic farming technologies. This is in support to the National Organic Program’s aim to strengthen organic implementers and practitioners through continuing education and capacity building.
According to Judy Rose Bisoy, Agriculturist I, the OAP has been implementing various support services to organic farmers and practitioners in the region. For more than seven years of implementation, information advocacy campaign was done through distribution of IEC materials, trainings, radio broadcasts as well as television shows. To intensify further and increase the campaign and adoption of organic agriculture technology, expository tour is needed for the farmers to see how things are actually done in the field.
During the learning visit, the farm owners shared their experiences and struggles in venturing to organic farming. Peter Puh-hay, one of the farm owners shared that organic farming is challenging in the beginning but it could commensurate the safety of the food serve for the family.
On the other hand, Villafuerte Camat Jr. of Camat’s Farm also noted that venturing into organic farming is not easy especially if your neighbors do not believe in you. He said that it entails a heart to pursue organic farming. When he was starting, he really tried his best but it seems like his best was not enough, he felt like giving up. It was through the genuine encouragement of Catherine Buenaventura, Provincial Focal Person for Organic Agriculture of Ifugao that he finds the strength to go on.
He further testified that he started from nothing; he was only motivated by his strong interest to pursue organic farming. He learned through ‘lakbay-aral’ and trainings until the government appreciated his effort. The assistance of the DA-CAR and the Agricultural Training Institute Cordillera (ATI-CAR) especially in terms of machineries and training facilities such as shredder, vermicomposting shed, and concoction center among others made life in organic farming a bit lighter.
Now, his farm is an ATI-CAR and Technical Education and Skills Development Authority (TESDA) accredited learning site and one of the most visited farm tourism site in Ifugao. He can now show something to those who were saying, ‘to see is to believe’.
In return, the farmer participants shared their insights in this expository visit.
Luzviminda Pappa, former Provincial Agriculturist of Apayao said that she found the answer to her wish through this activity – integrated farming. She also encouraged the others to embrace the efforts of the government to improve the lives of the Filipino Citizen especially farmers.
Moreover, Brainer Sambat, a farmer from Kalinga said that it is a challenge for them to apply what they learnt. He confessed that he once discouraged his students before not to take agriculture courses, but now he appreciates it. He said that venturing into organic farming is a way of taking care of the land and a way to return gratitude to mother earth and to God. Organic farming is also a means of preserving the land for the next generation.
The tour lasted for a day but the learnings from the experiences shared by the successful Organic Farmers is worth to sustain them for a lifetime. //RDibdiben