Newbies Learn Basic Organic Farming at Free Seminar

A staff from Costales Nature Farms assists some participants of the seminar in the preparation of fermented plant juice. (Photo by Jayvee Masilang)

DILIMAN, Quezon City—In support to the goals of providing safe food and ensuring food security through sustainable farming, the Agricultural Training Institute (ATI) held a free seminar entitled “Organic Farming for Newbies” which is the first of its seminar series for 2018.

Kenneth De Gracia, Farm Tourism Director of Costales Nature Farms (CNF), served as the resource person, providing the 205 ‘newbies’ and enthusiasts who attended the seminar the knowledge they need about organic agriculture. He discussed the basic principles of organic farming and shared the farming technologies and strategies being implemented at CNF.

Located in Majayjay, Laguna, CNF is one of the successful organic farms and agri-tourism destinations in the country. It also serves as an ATI-accredited Extension Service Provider.

Aside from the lecture, hands-on workshops on the preparation of various concoctions were also held. Under the supervision of CNF personnel, some of the participants were able to prepare fermented plant juice, fermented fruit juice, and fish amino acid which are used as natural fertilizers for plants as well as natural food additives for animals.

Other topics discussed were the preparation of soil media for nursery operation, vermicomposting, and agri-tourism.

In his closing remarks, De Gracia encouraged the participants to venture into organic farming not just for the sake of eating healthy food but also to ensure that food is available for the future generations.

Also present in the seminar was Angelito Quirog from the ATI Regional Training Center in Northern Mindanao. He also shared some organic agriculture practices of successful farmers in their region and encouraged the participants to be innovative farmers and venture into agri-tourism.

Some of the participants expressed their gratitude for the seminar. One of them is Franchette Dulfo, 39, from Quezon City who remarked on how comprehensive the seminar was. She also shared, “I have zero experience in farming [which is why I came today]. I want to commend the speaker for his expertise on the topic and for accommodating our questions.”

Meanwhile, 26-year-old Christian Kiel Cordon said, “I am also a newbie in agriculture. In 2016, I finished school with a degree in information technology (IT). Having attended this seminar, I’m thinking of ways to combine IT and agriculture. I hope to pursue farming and have my own farm someday.”

The free seminar was held on February 9, 2018 at the ATI Serrano Hall in this city. Spearheaded by the Partnerships and Accreditation Division, the seminar gathered participants from areas in the National Capital Region, CaLaBarZon, Central Luzon, and Western Visayas.

ATI Today

Extension services continue to evolve. With the challenges that extension workers and farmers face, the Agricultural Training Institute (ATI) continues to explore various strategies to improve its efforts as the extension and training arm of the Department of Agriculture. In over 30 years, the ATI has celebrated various successes and learned from the lessons during hard times. Nonetheless, we are proud to be standing the test of time through the support of our partners and the clientele themselves. This is the ATI Today, more committed to bring you extension services beyond boundaries.