Friday, June 24, 2016

Upland farmers in Inopacan earning more because of organic farming.





The following is a reprint from SamarNews.com

Officials from DAR and East-West Seed Philippines harvest organically grown pechay at the farm of Jose Dautil (right) in Barangay Hinabay, Inopacan, Leyte. (Jose Alsmith L. Soria) 
photo courtesy of SamarNews.com

Hello veggies, goodbye abaca!

By JOSE ALSMITH L. SORIA
April 19, 2016

TACLOBAN CITY – When we reached Barangay Hinabay, we were led to a vegetable farm of Jose Dautil, 54, that was ready for harvest. We picked some kilos of sweet pepper, and pechay, and paid him the corresponding price. Then we moved to Barangay Cabulisan to see more vegetables in other farms. These adjacent villages nestled on top of a mountain in Inopacan, Leyte are now known for organic vegetables.

Farmers here are now seriously pursuing high value organic vegetable production after the Department of Agrarian Reform (DAR) subjected last year the members of two agrarian reform beneficiary organizations (ARBOs) to a five-month training on high value crops production using the natural farming system. 

Being covered by the second phase of the Agrarian Reform Communities Project (ARCP-II), DAR tapped the East-West Seed Philippines for the conduct of the said training under the Agricultural Enterprise Development to the Hinabay Upland Farmers Association (HUFA) and the Cabulisan Multi-Purpose Upland Farmers Association (CAMUFA).

When asked what they like about organic vegetable production, Marissa Bisnar, 38, an agrarian reform beneficiary (ARB) said the products are sold at a higher price than those grown the traditional way. Even if they are a little bit expensive, more consumers prefer to buy organic vegetables, she added.

From her last harvest, Marissa shared that she earned P8,350 from her four plots of sweet pepper, four plots of tomato and ampalaya, which became additional income for her family.

Cristita Abenoja, a merchant from Barangay Cabulisan who buys the farmers’ harvests and sell them at the town’s market disclosed that her products are easily sold out because consumers opt for organic vegetables.

Organic farming now becomes the trade mark of these two barangays. When buyers learn that the vegetables come from the said barangays, they already know that it’s organic, Abenoja said. Further, “my customers increased,” she added, because the information had spread to nearby towns like Hindang, Bato and Baybay City.

For that, these farmers living on top of the mountain, 18 kilometers away from the town proper are thankful they were taught organic farming.

Abaca used to be the major crop of the farmers here. But because of the bunchy top disease, farmers ceased planting abaca, and shifted to vegetable production in 2004. Last year, with the joint effort of DAR and East-West Seed Philippines, the natural farming system was introduced and changed the lifestyle of the farmers here.

With this method the farmers no longer sniff chemicals when spraying pesticides, according to CAMAFU president Edelito Merrano Sr., 51. Likewise, they can save more because they no longer buy fertilizers and pesticides, he added.

Instead, they use the vermicast their association is producing. Vermi-culture and vermi-composting have been introduced to them by DAR in 2015 as alternative sources of livelihood.

CAMUFA was among the 100 ARB organizations provided with a shredder and 30 kilos of African night crawlers last year.

At the moment CAMUFA is also selling vermicast at P350 per sack of 50 kilos. While African night crawlers are being sold by the association at P500 per kilo. 

Click here to read the original post of SamarNews.com

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Author of Philippine Food, Cooking, and Dining Dictionary - the first and only published Pinoy food and dining dictionary. The book won the national category as Philippine's finalist to the Gourmand Awards international food writing contest in Yantai, Shandong, China to be held in May 2017. A lexicographer who began to compile and wrote his first vernacular dictionaries at the age of 14. A collector of contemporary and vintage dictionaries, both local and foreign.  A linguist studying the many dialects you can find in the Philippines. A blogger maintaining at least 11 blog sites. A researcher of food culture, Pinoy pop culture, interesting places and structures in the country, local transportations, Philippine churches and other places of worship of any religion and beliefs, local anthropology, socio-cultural issues, and whatever interesting about the Philippines and the Filipinos. A visual artist who uses pencil, watercolor, pen, and fingers as medium of expression - once an editorial cartoonist of local broadsheet and campus publications. Created his first hand-made comics magazine and participated the Marian watercolor exhibits in his hometown parish while in high school. A photographer taking at least 2K photos a week in the field while on travel for almost two decades now.  A poet hiding most of the time. A low-profile historian studying continually the origins, history, and progression of many places in the country. A computer programmer who wrote the codes and designed the software application of his digital Cebuano-English dictionary and distributed it for free around the country and over the internet. A traveler who had been to all four corners of the Philippine archipelago, and still setting more footprints anywhere in the country.  A holder of professional driver's license once took the wheels for UBER. A home cook who loves to enhance, modify, elaborate, experiment if not invent more of  Pinoy dishes and delicacies.

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