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Foresight, the principle of MANG ELLO, a National Outstanding Quality Corn Farmer
Sincerity, interest in business enterprise, scientific know-how and hands-on management strategy are some of the traits that a farmer-entrepreneur needs to become successful. But for purpose of surviving the volatile agribusiness environment, an add-on is required, the “foresight”. This is the principle of Mr. Rogelio Bagunu, the hailed “National Outstanding Quality Corn Farmer" in 2007.
A retired three-termed Barangay Captain of Anao, Cabagan, Isabela, and now a Barangay Councilor, Manung Ello has four children (three of them are now in Greece and Dubai) with Manang Nena, an Agricultural Technologist (AT) in the Local Government Unit-Municipal Agriculture Office of Cabagan, Isabela. As a couple, they became successful in their chosen profession. They was able to send their children to college.
They started to venture in corn production in a two-hectare land in Anao since 1997. Manung Ello said they were using the inorganic way of farming and they would yield approximately 90 cavans per cropping season at that time. Unpredictable weather condition and no stabilized price of their produce were some of the factors that pulled the couples away from success.
But then, they were able to overcome the obstacles. For every year that had passed, the couples got wiser. They sat down and evaluated the problems and mistakes they encountered in their farming endeavor. Finally, they both realized that it would be better for them to learn the scientific way of growing corn.
Manung Ello has attended trainings to gain a tecnhical-knowhow in corn farming. The latest of which is the role of seasonal climate forecasts in the agriculture sector in Isabela last February 2008. He also attended Aflatoxin Seminar which was held in Cagayan Valley Integrated Agricultural Research Center (2007) and Training on Package of Corn Tecnhology and Farmer-Led Extension Delivery System conducted by ATI-RTC in 2005 and some agriculture-related trainings that he cannot recalled that he was sure helped him a lot in achieving his success as a quality corn farmer.
“ATI-RTC is one of the doors that open my mind to different altrernative ways to improve my farming through continuous provision of updated technology in corn produciton", Mang Ello expressed. The technical-knowledge that he acquired from the trainings plus his experience and the technical knowhow of his wife as an extensionist is a great combination to their success as a corn farmer.
They started to try the organic farming or the use of organic fertilizers and they observed it beneficial to the crops for its free chemicals and drought tolerant. They also applied lime in their farm to enhance the fertility of the soil and the use of muriate of potash to boost their production. This new technology they acquired led them to a higher level of success.
The couple began to yield 150-160 cavans per croppping with a good quality of produce even after sun drying. They became one of the suppliers of quality corn in the local market and even in other municipalities. Aside from the high income they get from corn production, a recognition as a 2007 National Quality Corn Farmer was awarded to Manung Ello, one of the great successess that he attained. According to him, it was really a rare opportunity to win such award. I am so happy that I was able to win it, he said.
As an FLE and an outstanding farmer, he advised farmers to work hard, be resourceful and have foresight on what may happen in the future in order to have alternatives and right directions towards improved farming practices. He further said not to expect too much from the government, although it is not bad to expect some support he said. He also shared that every harvest season, he, with the support of his wife, invites farmers from different barangays for a field day to showcase his crop stand. Extending the technical assistance and sharing his experiences with small farmers are the things Manung Ello did to share the blessings that he is enjoying. No doubt that he became a barangay captain for 14 years and an outstanding farmer with such a good heart.
Despite the success that Manung Ello had achieved, there are still some dreams that he wanted to be realized. The biggest of which is to be a Gawad Saka Awardee which he is trying to work hard on now, and that someday, the government would be able to subsidize price for agricultural inputs for the betterment of all farmers in the countryside.