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Farm Family Approach on Resource Management for Sustainability (FFARMS)
Aims, Activities, Features, and Advantages
In its effort to carry out its mission of improving the lives of farmers and fisherfolks, ATI-Caraga has come up with a brilliant solution which is to establish a farm project that makes use of matured technologies and agricultural extension approaches that had been products of intensive study by reputable research institutions and can easily be replicated by farmers more particularly here in Caraga region. Thus, the Farm Family Approach on Resource Management for Sustainability (FFARMS) was conceptualized mainly by the Technical unit of the Center spearheaded by Senior Agriculturist of ATI-Caraga in the person of Mr. Carlos C. Salcedo. The FFARMS demo site showcases various technologies and farming system for various commodities. Also, FFARMS shows how a simple household is able to maximize the utilization of its small farm and its limited resources.
What FFARMS aims for?
The FFARMS in its simplest way aims to improve the lives of the farm families in Caraga region through the practice of appropriate and sustainable farming systems. Through FFARMS, it specifically aims to teach the farm family to maximize its limited resources, to increase farm productivity and income as well as strengthen the family bond.
Things to see in FFARMS demo site
The FFARMS demo site is a project composed of several farm undertakings such as the SSPM for Rice, SSPM for Vegetable, NFTS for Swine Fattening, Bio-Compost Production, Banana Production (Cardava), and Improved Native Chicken Production. We shall describe each one by one:
- Sustainable System of Production Management (SSPM) for Rice. The area of this demo project covers 0.60 hectare of ATI-Caraga’s two-hectare lot. It is organic-based rice farming since theCenter’s own bio-compost is applied during the early land preparation. The technology of SSPM suits to Caraga’s agro-climatic conditions. Through the practice of SSPM, the Center harvested almost 200 cavans per hectare of fresh palay during May-October cropping season using hybrid Rice (Bigante) which surpasses the yield of the neighboring farms in Barangay Los Angeles which only reaches between 80-120 cavans per hectare of fresh palay. Mr. Abdon R. Mantilla, Training Specialist II of ATI-Caraga, supervises this particular farm endeavor.
- Sustainable System of Production for Vegetable. Among the organically-grown vegetable present in the demo site are Pole Sitao, Okra, Camote Tops and Horse Radish. The vegetable garden occupies a total land area of 250 square meters. This project is spearheaded by Mr. Patricio P. Diolanto.
- Nature Farming Technology System (NFTS) for Swine Fattening Production. The demo site previously was able to produce 5 heads swine whose average weight in kilograms is 81.4. Now the Center has a new batch of swine for fattening. Mr. Samuel L. Calonzo and Dr. Marie Jocelyn C. Santiago take charge of the supervision. Working with them are Mr. Diolanto, Mr. Allan D. Andig, and Mr. Hermis S. Sañez.
- Bio-Compost Production. This is one way of encouraging farmers to produce their own organic fertilizers for additional income and practice of organic farming for health and environmental reasons. The Center’s own bio-compost is a mixture of Carbonized Rice Hull, Chicken Dung and Banana Peelings. The said bio-compost is also utilized in FFARMS demo farm. There are lots of farmers from adjacent barangays purchasing bio-compost from the center since it is only sold at P150.00 per bag. It is under the supervision of Mr. Ricardo N. Abao.
- Cardava Banana Production and the Proper Management of Banana against the Bugtok disease. The Cardava banana production covers a total of 0.25 hectare and it is under the technical supervision of Mr. Heracleo A. Paler together with Mr. Freddie R. Montejo. It specifically showcases the technologies on how to control common pests and diseases in banana such as Bugtok which is the most prevalent disease in Caraga.
- Production of Improved Native Chicken. Production of Native Chicken is under the supervision of Mr. Samuel L. Calonzo and Dr. Marie Jocelyn C. Santiago. It has four (4) pullets, twenty (20) hens and two (2) roosters. They have already produced matured chicken since the start of the establishment of FFARMS. Working with them are Mr. Andig, Mr. Diolanto and Mr. Sañez.
Features of FFARMS
Diversified and Integrated Farming System. It is where you can find various commodities planted and integrated in one farm.
Small Farm. The average land holding of a small farmer on rice and other commodities is one hectare.
Family Farm. It is a farm that is run by a family.
Farm Family. It is a family engaged in farming.
Farm Size. It is the size of the farm that a family tills.
On the average, a farmer tills an expanse of 10,000 sq.m. or an equivalent of one hectare of land.
Economic Farm Size. It is the income of the farm. Ideally, it is sufficient enough to provide for the basic daily needs of a family.
Advantages of FFARMS
Promote /Practice Diversified /Integrated Farming System. Farmers can see an example of a diversified and integrated farming system in the established FFARMS demo site of ATI-Caraga. The demo farm also showcases how a farmer can have a sustainable income through diversified and integrated farming system.
Environmental benefits (responsible management of natural resources) FFARMS encourages the practice of organic farming, this is to attain the goal of sustainable agriculture.
Intensive use of land. The one hectare FFARMS demo site is thoroughly utilized by the Center. This will show that through diversified and integrated farming system a farmer’s one hectare land, if fully utilized, can produce more commodities and give the farm family a sustainable income.
Family labor personally committed to the success of the farm. In FFARMS, all members of the household like the father, the mother and the children are involved in various farm activities. In such way, the farm family will be able to save money since they will no longer have additional cost for labor. At the same time it draws the family closer to each other since they will work hand in hand in the farm as each member will be assigned to a specific task in the farm.
The FFARMS project is indeed of great help not only for the farmers but for the Center as well. Through this undertaking, the Center is able to enhance its extension services and pave the way for the increase in the number and level of clients who are visiting the farm. Now, not only farmers, extension workers, and professionals visit the site but also elementary pupils and preschoolers. The Center believes that young children should be educated about agriculture so that early on they will appreciate agriculture since it is they who will sustain it in the future.
All those who have come to the demo farm were taught about various farming technologies. What is most memorable for them is the hands-on experience and the learning they gained on best farming practices that will help them earn sustainable income. It is no surprise why many of the excursionists had the eagerness to follow or pattern the FFARMS in their own places. They had seen for themselves what benefit one can get if ones small farm with limited resources is wisely utilized.
Though the FFARMS project is already gaining ground in the region, but the Center believes that many still needs to be done in order for the Center to pursue its plan of further expanding the project like putting in place a fish pond as an added activity. Hopefully, as more improvements will take place, the most ambitious component of the project which is the Agri-Tourism will not be a far-fetched idea. If realized soon, the demo farm will transform into a leisure farm, a tourist attraction with a rural setting right in the heart of Brgy. Los Angeles in suburb Butuan!
On the next issue, FFARMS Strategies and Methodologies will be featured. Watch out for it!