The kids are all right: ATI presents new batch of organic farmers

OIC Beduya imparts some wisdom and strong morals to the FFS graduates.

92 farmers recently graduated as champions of organic vegetable production in the Zamboanga Peninsula.

Fresh from the Farmers Field School (FFS) on Organic Vegetable Production, the farmers sealed their support for the High Value Crops Development Program of the Agricultural Training Institute – Regional Training Center 9 (ATI-RTC 9) during two back-to-back culmination ceremonies on November 3 and 4, 2016.

The ceremonies celebrated the farmers’ completion of a season-long training that lasted from August 19 to November 3, 2016. One theme arose from the celebration, and that was working hard for the happiness of one’s children.

On November 3, at the municipal hall in Molave, Zamboanga del Sur, 15 graduates represented Lower Dimalinao while 30 represented Sitio Malili, Barangay Ariosa. The ceremony opened with Panatang Makapalay, the farmers’ pledge to be stewards of the earth, which entails minimizing wastes and avoiding inorganic materials in farming. The farmers gave their impressions of the education they received, and facilitators Kent Manija and Dr. Carlito Larobis responded to the farmers’ insights and gratitude with affirmations of their learning. Dr. Larobis went so far as to challenge the farmers to hold an organic market day every week and to aim for 3rd party certification.

In his remarks, Molave Mayor Ireneo Glepa raised the virtue of hard work. “As long as we persevere, we can send our children to school,” said Mayor Glepa.

To officially culminate the training, MA/MAO Dr. Dominga Ramos presented the graduates to ATI-RTC 9 OIC Training Center Superintendent II Reynaldo A. Beduya for confirmation. Before closing the ceremony, OIC Beduya imparted some words of wisdom on health and farming.

The next day, at the Tinindugan Barangay Hall in Sergio Osmeña, Tinindugan, Zamboanga del Norte, OIC Beduya started the day with some more words of wisdom. Before the culmination ceremony for 22 graduates from Purok 1 and 25 from Purok 2, OIC Beduya conducted a Technical Briefing on Organic Agriculture.

Barangay Captain Hon. Dalilah Jumawan opened the ceremony proper with words of welcome. As before, the graduates offered their impressions, which were affirmed by facilitators Caroline Yabu and Je-Ar Tome, as well as Project Officer Julito Cordova. Cordova underscored the government’s expenses in teaching the right ways of farming. “Hard work is key to paying back your government and Mother Nature,” said Cordova.

Training Center Superintendent I Neddie Jumawan presented the graduates to OIC Beduya, and facilitator Gedeon Mananquil, Sr. closed the ceremony with words of praise.

In both ceremonies, OIC Beduya reiterated the virtue of hard work. He shared his extensive experience with farming and inspired the graduates to reach for better lives. “Look at your children,” said Beduya in his inspirational message. “They are all the inspiration you need.” OIC Beduya ensured the sustainability of organic agriculture by promising to establish learning sites for the farmers.

As these farmers join other FFS graduates in embracing organic agriculture, they truly nurture a better place for their family as well as their consumers./Angela Bernice C. Cabildo