Going Back to the Basics of Farming

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I am not a farmer, I did not even grow up in a farming community. But I get to learn some farming techniques when I started to work at the Agricultural Training Institute about 15 years ago (whew, that's surely a lot of learnings and realizations I should have right now).

At first I thought I wouldn't enjoy agriculture, the very reason why I didn't focus my elective courses in college on agriculture, but I took some agricultural economics instead. Little did I know, you wouldn't learn the economics of it if you have no knowledge on farming.

But what I got more interested on is when we started learning organic agriculture and meeting the successful organic farmers in the country. In my years of being exposed to the farming communities, organic farming is really not new. It's what our elders were really practising in the past, using or rather maximizing what was available within their farm.

Following the four principles of organic agriculture -- on health, ecology, fairness and care -- people got more concerned on their health that they now go into organic food.

Going back to the basics is difficult but since many have done it successfully, it means it's really not impossible.

Oh and even an investment whiz recommends that if you want to get rich, be a farmer. :)

Let's meet some of them...

Costales Couple

Mr. and Mrs. Ronald Costales own the Costales Nature Farms in Majayjay, Laguna. Their farm is the first agro-tourism destination accredited by the Department of Tourism. Their farm produce range from high value vegetables, lowland vegetables, herbs and spices to organic poultry and livestock. They have been certified by the NISARD Certification Services or NICERT, an independent organic certifying body. Aside from their farm produce, when you visit their farm, they offer farm tour, a sharing of their organic practices and a taste of their organic meal. Costales is one of the Magsasaka-Siyentista or Famer-Scientist of region IV-A. Aside from being a Gawad Saka Outstanding Farmer awardee, he is also this year's outstanding organic farmer in the region.

Ramon Uy

Mr. Ramon Uy is the owner of RU Foundry and Machine Shop, Puro Organic, Negros Occidental Design and Packaging Center and Fresh Start in Bacolod. Uy was a mechanical engineer who ventured into organic farming, so his machine shop is into producing shredders designed for biodegradable and non-biodegrable wastes while his other businesses - Puro Organic offers services on processing of organic products and Fresh Start sells organic products. Together with his wife, they established May's Organic Garden in their farm, which serves organic foods and products.

Rey Pedrosa

Mr. Rey Pedroso, an organic farmer himself, is an advocate of organic agriculture in the country. He is an active member of the National Organic Agriculture Board of the Philippines.

Ramon Peñalosa and me

Mr. Ramon Peñalosa, Jr. of Peñalosa Farms in Negros Occidental. Like Costales, Peñalosa is a recognized Farmer-Scientist of the Western Visayas Agriculture and Resources Research and Development Consortium. He believes that a farmer is not just a farmer, but an 'agri-preneur' especially if he ventures in the global market.

ATI Today

Extension services continue to evolve. With the challenges that extension workers and farmers face, the Agricultural Training Institute (ATI) continues to explore various strategies to improve its efforts as the extension and training arm of the Department of Agriculture. In over 30 years, the ATI has celebrated various successes and learned from the lessons during hard times. Nonetheless, we are proud to be standing the test of time through the support of our partners and the clientele themselves. This is the ATI Today, more committed to bring you extension services beyond boundaries.