Five Farmers in CAR join Magsasaka Siyentista Family

 The Agricultural Training Institute (ATI) - CAR endorsed five farmers as Magsasaka Siyentista to the ATI-Central Office for the first semester of 2017. They are Valerio Ramos of Tuba, Benguet; Cornelio Benigno Jr. of Buguias, Benguet; Honorio Clemencia, Teodoro Kub-ao, and Henry Angli, all from Tabuk City, Kalinga.  
 
Prior to the endorsement, these farmers were assessed and were able to pass the requirements to become a Magsasaka Siyentista (MS). As newly endorsed MS, they were encouraged to continue doing research, innovate, document their farm practices, and to continue establishing their unique farm practices and technologies.
 
The MS is part of the extension modality known as the Techno Gabay Program (TGP) initiated by the Philippine Council for Agriculture, Aquatic and Natural Resources Research and Development (PCAARRD), which is now being institutionalized as a regular extension program of the Department of Agriculture through the Agricultural Training Institute (ATI). The MS, also known as Farmer Scientist refers to an outstanding farmer recognized for his/her use of S&T-based and indigenous technologies and plays a crucial role in sharing the knowledge and experiences in the use of science and technology-based farm practices. The MS complements the staff of the Farmers Information and Technology Services (FITS) Center based mostly at the Municipal Agricultural Office or Office of the Municipal Agriculturist. 
 
The assessing team for Benguet was composed of Jaila Sagpa-ey and Adrian Chris Velasco of ATI CAR;  Constantino Sudaypan of Benguet State University; Andy Colte of the MS Federation-CAR Chapter; and  Marlo C. Abyado of HAARDDEC. Meanwhile, for Tabuk City, Kalinga, Sharon Dallo of the OPAG Kalinga joined the ATI CAR and MS CAR Federation representatives during the assessment activity.  
 
Mr. Valerio Ramos of the VnL Mini Farm
Mr. Ramos is the owner of the VnL Mini Farm, an ATI-CAR accredited learning site on Organic farming located at Palina, Tuba, Benguet. After retiring from a private mining company, together with his wife, they transformed their 4,000 square meter sloping land into a productive agricultural area. To conserve soil or minimize soil losses, he produced his own clay stone bricks and designed the area to become vegetable terraces. 
 
The VnL Mini Farm practices natural farming, composting from plant residues and biodegradable wastes available within the farm area. Mr. Ramos also produces wood vinegar or “mukosako” as a major farm input. To prevent insect pest and diseases, he employs intercropping and crop rotation in his plastic house. A water impounding facility, which is also being used as tilapia farm, was constructed at the upper portion of the farm for irrigation. Presently, he is developing a simple drip irrigation method with the use of plastic cola bottles. 
He was endorsed as MS on organic farming for high value crops.   
 
Cornelio Benigno Jr. of the CeeJee SAVERS Garden
Inspired to make a difference in the area, Cornelio Benigno Jr.  started his organic farm in Lusong, Buyacaoan, Buguias, Benguet.  The CeeJee SAVERS Garden maximizes a 2,000 square meter area planted with various crops as it employs a systematic farming production from seed-to-seed. Benigno nurtures variety of vegetables both in green house and open field. He is one of the beneficiaries of the Save Vegetables from Rich Soil (SAVERS) project funded by the JICA. He also learned to produce mukosako which serves as his main farm input. Aside from vermicomposting, he also produces compost as solid fertilizers from rice hull and other available biodegradable wastes.  Organic farming practice is consciously being practiced in his production making his farm a certified Organic Farm by the OCCP and he is also waiting for the result of his application for GAP certification. 
 
The area is an ATI-CAR techno demo farm, a farmer-partner of DA CIARC on the research on PAR on Management of Turnip Yellow Mosaic Virus on Chinese cabbage and a private company on the use of plastic mulch and soilusyon (a volcanic fertilizer). He was endorsed as MS with organic carrot as his focus commodity. 
 
Honorio Clemencia of Balong, Tabuk City, Kalinga 
Mr. Clemencia was endorsed as MS on good agricultural practices (GAP) on rice.  The Clemencia Farm, a two-hectare rice area, is an ATI-accredited learning site on GAP rice-based integrated farming. Following the GAP practice, he applies his own produced vermicompost fertilizers as basal fertilizer and then applies synthetic fertilizers days after transplanting as needed. One of his best practices is planting hybrid rice during summer and inbred varieties during wet season.
Aside from rice production, he is into vermicompost, fruit trees seedling, lowland vegetables, and tilapia production. 
Recently, he was awarded as the 2017 Regional Gawad Saka Awardee for Rice by the DA-RFO-CAR. 
 
Teodoro Kub-ao of Bulo, Tabuk City, Kalinga 
The farm of Mr. Kub-ao is one of the ATI-CAR accredited Schools on Practical Agriculture (SPA) with his 5-hectare integrated rice-based farm. He incorporates isdaan, gulayan, farm animals, vermicompost, and mini-forest in the farm. 
As a good farm practice, he adopts the Palay Check and the Saving Water with Alternate Wetting Drying (AWD )method to his 5-hectare rice farm. As an SPA, Teodoro will also serve as a teacher and community extension worker serving other farmers. 
A 2012 National Gawad Saka Awardee, Teodoro was also recommended as MS on rice –based integrated farming. 
 
Henry Angli of  Madopdop, Lacnog, Tabuk City, Kalinga
Among other farmers recognized as MS for their crop production, Henry is quite an exception. Henry was endorsed for his bioorganic fertilizer production specifically vermi compost and vermi tea.  Vermicomposting substrates used are locally available in the area like sunflower, water lilies, weeds, coconut trunk, pig and carabao, cow, goat manures and others that are rich in nutrients needed by the plants. He was able to establish his ratio or mixture of vermi tea. 
His production of bioorganic fertilizer is facilitated by the support he gained from different agencies like DA, DAR, DTI, DENR, DOST, BSWM, and NIA. 
Aside from bioorganic fertilizer, he is also into fruit and vegetable seedlings production and backyard lowland vegetable production. With Marlo C. Abyado of HARRDEC.