Lifestyle Bloggers Get to Know SOX Organic Farms

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Vlogger Azrael Coladilla and DA-AFID staff Gumamela Celes Bejarin with Gerardo Cordero

Gerardo Cordero, owner of GerNil's Farm, gives an interview with the bloggers and writers who joined the event.

SOUTH COTABATO—Lifestyle bloggers and online influencers intensify the call for organic farming after experiencing sustainable and environment-friendly agriculture during an expository tour led by the Agricultural Training Institute (ATI) in SOCCSKSARGEN.

In the 10th Bloggers’ Event held in the region, travel and lifestyle bloggers, online magazine writers, and in-house writers visited three ATI-supported organic farms in South Cotabato. These are Sebul Farm, an ATI Learning Site for Agriculture in Lake Sebu; GerNil’s Farm, an ATI School for Practical Agriculture (SPA) in Koronadal; and Felicidad Orchard and Garden Organics, an SPA and Farm Tourism Site of the Department of Tourism in General Santos City.

“This bloggers’ event is our strategy to encourage more people to go into organic farming. Also, with the aging farmers in the Philippines, we hope to entice the youth, who mostly can be found online, to venture into farming,” ATI Information Services Division chief Antonieta Arceo said during the opening program for the activity.

Felicidad Orchard and Garden Organics owner James Reamon shares the same advocacy, as he initially planned for his farm to be a place for agricultural learning and discovery.

“I started farming with the sole purpose of collecting plants and opening this place up to children so I can teach them about organic agriculture,” he shared. Reamon’s farm is the first ever Farm Tourism Site in the region and is now also set to become a Farm School supported by the Technical Education and Skills Development Authority.

Aside from the humble beginnings of these farm owners, the participating bloggers and writers also learned about the technologies they apply in crop, herb, livestock, and poultry production. Sebul Farm owner William Sy also utilizes a ramp pump for an efficient water supply system, while Reamon built an aerodynamically designed windmill and an aquaponics structure for Felicidad Orchard and Garden Organics.

Gawad Saka Outstanding Coconut Farmer Gerardo Cordero, of GerNil’s Farm, is also a strong advocate of intercropping and farm diversification. Aside from coconuts, his farm is abundant with mangosteen, guyabano, jackfruit, cacao, rice, fish, and even livestock for which he built a three-tier housing for effective ways to save space and manage wastes.

Jen Aspacio of expressed her appreciation for the tour. "This valuable learning trip will further get the message across on the feasibility of organic farming,” she said.

Content creator and video blogger Israel Coladilla, on the other hand, learned new techniques in protecting the farm from pests. He also shared his hopes to join future bloggers’ events so that he can expand his knowledge about farming and add it in his blog to transfer this knowledge to his readers.

The 10th Bloggers’ Event was held on June 17-20. Aside from organic farming practices, farm tourism activities in the visited sites were also showcased, such as water tubing and hands-on sessions on rice planting and vermicomposting.

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.