17 New Learning Sites for Agriculture Certified, Brings total to 110

A bounty of veggies (and more): The good life is definitely here at The Good Life Nature Farms in Sitio Limbusan, Tamboboan, Claveria, Misamis Oriental. This farm has a land area of 5-hectares practicing a combination of natural and organic farming technologies which aims to provide all-organic vegetables, herbs, spices, and quality meats to its customers.

ATI Compound, El Salvador City--- The Agricultural Training Institute-Regional Training Center X (ATI-RTC X) as the lead agency in agricultural and fisheries extension in Northern Mindanao, adds to its roster of Learning Sites for Agriculture (LSA), 17 new certified farm partners for knowledge sharing opportunities for farmers, would-be farmers and agri-enthusiasts.

As per directive to increase the LSA of the center as well as to empower the farmers and family farms, it aspires to strengthen the farming community and empower innovative farmers to provide extension services including technology transfer.

An LSA also serves as model for applicable agriculture technologies and agri-products processing technologies. ATI taps farm areas to teach the young generation the value of farming as well as develop farmers to make them competent with a high degree of credibility. The center extends technical assistance and financial support, granted that its certified farms will continue to conduct trainings in their respective learning sites.

Below are the new Learning Site (LS) partners of the center:

1. Central Mindanao University (CMU) - The CMU is a state institution of higher learning located at Musuan, Dologon, Maramag, Bukidnon. It is recognized by the Commission on Higher Education (CHED) as a Level IV state university while their academic programs in Agriculture and Veterinary Medicine are Level IV Accredited and both colleges are recognized by CHED as Centers of Excellence. The College of Agriculture is composed of ten departments, and offers market-driven non-degree programs in its 3 special short term courses, nine Doctorate programs, and eleven master’s degree program and also offers a ladderized agriculture education program. The school continues to improve its services for the benefits of the students, faculty, staff and partner institution. They also cater to young farmers to study and have the first-hand experience in farming. The University has also diversified and integrated farms used by students for practicum.

2. Zambrano’s Integrated Farm in Purok 3, Brgy. Kaatuan, Lantapan, Bukidnon – Farm owner Leo B. Zambrano is the current Coffee Ambassador of Germany’s Gesellschaft fuer Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ)-Nestle involved in the Project Coffee+. His farm is one of the demo farms among other selected farms across the municipalities covered by the project. The integrated farm is called “Zambrano’s Integrated Farm” with a crop combination of coffee, fruit trees, sayote, and sweet pepper plus other Small-Medium-Long (SML) term crops. Furthermore, he is currently the Chairman of the Palambuon Farmer Association. His farm has been a show-case to other farmers and serves as the demonstration area for his fellow farmers in their community in the Municipality of Lantapan as well as other municipalities in Bukidnon covered by the Project Coffee +.

3. The Springs of Life (SOL) in Purok 1, Brgy. Mailag, Valencia City, Bukidnon – For their involvement, farm owners Ryan and Diola Galorport received Certificates of Recognition as an emerging Agricultural Learning Site and Farm Tourism destination in Valencia City, Bukidnon. The couple is a linguist/translator and community health nurse for thirty-eight (38) years. They served the Northern Subanen ethnic group in the Zamboanga Peninsula. They became farmers when they integrated the Sloping Agricultural Land Technology (SALT) and Food Always in the Home (FAITH) gardens in their Community Health Education and Promotion (CHEAP) project. With this endeavor, they were recognized and awarded by the Department of Health (DOH). After their retirement, they developed the family’s heritage land and call it The Springs of Life (Developing Ornamental Gardens and Backyard Farming). They engage in backyard farming with “back to the land” way of producing locally food source such as meat, fish, eggs, fruits, and vegetables for family consumptions. They promote an organic way of farming to have a healthy soil and safe product consumption for consumers.

4. LI-CHOCO’s Rice Based Integrated Farm in Purok 4, San Andres, Kadingilan, Bukidnon – The farm is cultivating 2.5 hectares area since way back 1998 and is now fully planted with different crops such as la tundan banana intercropped with cacao, coconut, and fruits (rambutan, mango, durian, and few lanzones trees). A portion of the area of nearly 1 hectare is planted with lowland rice (hybrid/black rice) following the recommended production technology. The farm is practicing proper fertilizer management including the composting of farm residues, which will be applied back to the area when decomposed. Farm owner Fedia P. Dumangon is also raising livestock and poultry-chicken (native). Moreover, she is into value-adding of her farm produce like turning rambutan fruits into vinegar.

5. Mushroom City in Purok 8, Kalasungay, Malaybalay City, Bukidnon – The Quemado family acquired the 1.1 hectare parcel of land in 2013 and put in the name of the family’s matriarch, Nelly Olivo Quemado. During the acquisition, there was nothing but grasses and pine trees. After the acquisition, it was then planted by the family with vegetables like bell pepper, cauliflower, and eggplant but oftentimes experience failures. After just six months of operation by Mr. Quemado III, there are now 8,000 mushroom fruiting bags that provides daily income, native pigs, free-range chickens, different vegetables, and spices. Also, they are growing several types of trees such as Talisay, Coconut, Pink Trumpet, Yellow Trumpet, Cacao, Rambutan, Durian, and other fruit bearing trees. From this, there are 3 families provided with income by the production in the farm not counting all the reseller, distributors, processors that also get additional income from it. Mr. Quemado III together with his family created a company named the Mushroom City. It is an existing farm family business dedicated to the production and marketing of edible Oyster mushrooms (fresh and processed), free-range chickens, and corn. Numeriano O. Quemado III (son of the land owner), graduated from CMU with a degree of Bachelor of Science in Agriculture- Major in Plant Pathology- Cum Laude.

6. Payag ni Daday Integrated Farm in Purok 8A, South Poblacion, Maramag, Bukidnon - Jesus Galendez Cornito acquired his 1.25 hectare farm land in 2015 and planted with sugarcane but the result was not quite good. So he converted it into a diversified and integrated farm. Part of the area is now planted with cacao, coconut, banana, madre de cacao, madre de agua, rensoni, lumber trees, fruit trees, bamboo, and surrounded with lemongrass. The remaining part is also planted with corn, squash, melon, sweet potato, cowpeas, black pepper, cassava, ginger, turmeric, and flowers on a rotation basis.

7. Caderao’s Integrated Farm in Purok 6, Langcataon, Pangantucan, Bukidnon - This 16 hectare farm land is practicing diversified farming. Farm owner Antonio C. Caderao is growing corn, sugarcane, rice, coconut intercropped with banana, black pepper, assorted kind of fruit trees, ginger, and cacao. The farm is also into free-range chicken production and livestock raising. They are also processing coco honey, coco sugar, coco vinegar, and cacao tablea.

8. Bukidnon Farmer Bee Production and Pasalubong Center Inc. in Purok 1, Ducusin Compound, Nasuli, Bangcud, Malaybalay City, Bukidnon - Ms. Angela Marie Almendras-Aribal and Mr. Benjy Aribal own the farm where they have been producing honey for almost 7 years and recently developed their farm area to become a bee farm tourism site. They have a total of 34 colonies/hives at the moment. They offer intensive trainings on beekeeping and sell honey frames to those interested to start beekeeping business. Their products as pasalubong items include honey, honey mead (wine), lip balm, soap, candle, and pollen capsules with brand name Helen’s Bukidnon Pure Honey, inspired by the name of Mr. Benjy’s loving mother, Helen Ducusin-Aribal. They market their products online thru Shopee and Lazada.

9. A and N Diversified Farm in Purok 6, Puntian, Quezon, Bukidnon – This 2-hectare property is planted with rubber, banana (cardava variety), cacao, coconut, rice, coffee, and fruit trees. They have native chickens and goats (5 heads) under the rubber trees. Farm owner Arturo T. Pabualan developed a technology to improve the quality of their banana (giant banana + native sab-a) through plant breeding. He is also engaged in value-adding of their farm produce like cacao into tablea, chocolates, tea, and vinegar. Moreover, the farm also produces charcoal briquettes made out of agri-waste as their contribution against climate change.

10. Fergber Integrated Organic Farming Incorporated in Zone 7, Mahayahay, Bayabas, Cagayan de Oro City - In 1992, the couple Fernando and Leona Bermoy started implementing an integrated rural farm within a CARP-awarded property in Upper Palala, Lumbia, CDO City involving a 2.7 hectare of prime agricultural land. In 2007, the farm was converted into organic agriculture in partnership with GreenMinds Incorporated which is also committed to save life and environment by providing skills and technology both to urban and rural communities. Nowadays, the urban farm located in Bayabas, Cagayan de Oro City showcases a meter square vegetable garden, meter square herbal garden, meter square flower garden, seed/seedling nursery, chicken raising, integrated livestock and poultry raising, integrated aqua culture (African Hito), and meter square tilapia culture. They have also organized a family, non-profit corporation to operate and manage such a model urban farm with a learning center component.

11. TESDA Regional Training Center-Tagoloan in Zone 8, Sta. Cruz, Tagoloan, Misamis Oriental - The center is practicing organic way of farming with the lead of their skilled agriculture instructors. The farm has various facilities located at the back area of the farm. It has duck pen, chicken pen, nursery site, lecture room, and a fishpond. The mini organic farm has a total land area of 837 square meters with loamy soil type which is very suitable for growing crops.

12. Dapanas Fruits and Vegetable Farm in Sitio Donque, Brgy. Tuod, Manticao, Misamis Oriental - Mr. Ronnie Dapanas and his wife are former Overseas Filipino Workers (OFWs) who wanted to go back to farming. For the past 15 years, the Dapanas couple has been engaged in semi-hydroponics and greenhouse farming. Using these sustainable farming technologies, they produce salad tomatoes and green bell peppers directly sold to selected hotels and restaurants in Iligan City. The couple ensures continuous supply of in-demand farm produce through staggered planting in their greenhouse. They also engage in vermicomposting to manage their agricultural wastes and uses environment-friendly pesticides to eliminate harmful pests that may damage the crops. Their newest ventures are the coconut and cacao plantations. Likewise, they engage in poultry and koi fish raising. The business earned different prestigious recognition since 2017.

13. The Good Life Nature Farms in Sitio Limbusan, Tamboboan, Claveria, Misamis Oriental – This farm has a land area of 5-hectares practicing a combination of natural and organic farming technologies which aims to provide all-organic quality vegetables, herbs, spices, and meat to its customers. It started April of 2015 with cayenne peppers and turmeric as its first produce along with lettuce and other crops that was initially grown for family consumption. Nowadays, they continue to provide quality organic vegetables and spices with their business partners while still expanding its line of produce. The farm is owned and managed by Ms. Edith Christmae Rosales-Tan.

14. Mario Sahilan Paderanga’s Farm in Langcangan, Poblacion, Mahinog, Camiguin Province - Engr. Mario S. Paderanga is a retired Marine Engineer and is a Magsasaka Siyentista nominee. He is the treasurer of Cacao Growers Association in Camiguin Province. He developed his 3-hectare land and practices intercropping of crops and livestock. He is also practicing an organic way of farming.

15. Santo Ocate’s Farm in Owakan, Mahinog, Camiguin Province – Mr. Santo S. Ocate is a retired Philippine National Police who is engage in farming for he considers that farming is the best medicine and working in the farm is his leisure time. He used some of his retirement funds and took back the leased land of his parents then converted it into a productive farm. He managed the 0.70 hectares of land and planted with cacao as the main crop intercropped with other crops and livestock. He is practicing organic farming in which he applied animal manure and chicken dung on his crops. He is also the President of Cacao Growers Association in Camiguin Province.

16. Luther & Azucena (LA) Integrated Farm in Butuay, Jimenez, Misamis Occidental - LA Integrated Farm is a rice-based farm. This farm can be a good avenue in promoting Palayamanan System. The farm is also engaged in vermi composting, swine raising, chicken, ducks, bangus and prawn production. They use ducks to manage the weeds in their rice fields.

17. Alman Foundation Farm in Purok 1, Mansabay Alto, Lopez Jaena, Misamis Occidental - This farm is an integrated and diversified farm which is practicing organic farming technologies. The area promotes the use of farm waste through vermiculture and composting. They have farm components such as free-range chicken/turkey, goats, cows, assorted vegetables, mango orchard, corn, coconut, cacao, ornamentals plants/flowers, and dragon fruits. The said farm is owned and managed by Nerea May L. Maghuyop.

At the moment, the center through its Partnership and Accreditation Services Section (PASS) has already profiled and classified new learning sites in 2020. For an existing farm to become LSA, applicants must undergo different processing stages, starting with an endorsement from the local government. When applying as farm site partner, some of the basic requirements include (1.) that the farm is integrated, diversified and specialized, implementing tested technologies and producing a specific commodity in sizable volume (2.) the farm or process owner is a graduate of ATI’s training courses and programs relevant to the operations of an LSA (3.) it has a practicum area to complement classroom and field learning (4.) has a venue for practical and hands-on learning site for immediate use (5.) has a visit area for other farmers, other rural community members, ATI’s training participants and others who are interested in agriculture and agri-products/by products processing.

The certified learning sites in the region serves as demonstration areas for the institute’s agricultural training programs. To date, the center has now 110 LSA partners, 14 Schools for Practical Agriculture (SPA) and two Extension Service Providers (ESP). (Report and data furnished by Cristine A. Galupo, Agriculturist II and Reymard Galarrita, Technical Support Staff)