A group of 40 farmers from Lanao del Sur held an educational cross-visit in three major successful farms in the provinces of Misamis Oriental and Bukidnon to learn diversified organic farming, experiential systemic value chain of farm enterprise, and reflect from these experiences to improve farm development.
These Maranao farmers are members of Ompongan o mga Taribasok sa Ranao (OTR) and Ompongan o mga Bae sa Ranao (OBAERA) from barangay Diolangan, Salipongan of Bubong municipality; Langi Talub, Masiu town; and Moriatao Datu of Lumbayanague, Lanao Sur.
There were 16 women and 24 male participants in this educational trip.
They visited Bohian Diversified Farm in Initao, Misamis Oriental as well as Jacque’s Garden and Managog Rice Mill in Bukidnon.
In Bohian Diversified Farm, Maranao farmers were lectured on natural farming technology system (NFTS), agri-business, and coconut plantation.
“Diversified Farming System (DFS) is a practice that intentionally include functional biodiversity at multiple spatial or temporal scales in order to maintain the ecosystem services that provide critical inputs to agriculture, such as soil fertility, pest or disease control, and water management,” said Marvin Abajano, caretaker of the farm.
“Diversification provides habitat that is beneficial to control insects and pests by rendering host crops less apparent for pests colonization. It also increases economic stability by reducing financial risk, stabilizes farm income, and increase choices of farm practices,” Abajano added.
He further expounded that part of diversified farming is raising native chicken. For them, “native breed of chicken is playing an important role in rural economies in developing and undeveloped countries.”
“Efforts have been made to present the importance of native fowl to rural economy for higher production performance and consumption in the market,” he added.
“Through these chickens, dungs are purposeful as superior organic fertilizer because of its nitrogen, phosphorous, and potassium content,” he said.
Abajano also pointed that coconut fiber can also be added in vermi-composting although shredder machine is essentially relevant and efficient to decompose the different organic matters placed in a vermi bin.
In late afternoon, participants moved to Jacque’s Garden and learned about reducing farm pollution and increasing income through natural and organic vegetable gardening.
Jacquilyn Beth Robiyo, the farm manager, introduced them their coffee and honeybees processing and shared that their products are delivered in Cagayan de Oro and Iligan city markets.
The Maranao farmers had ocular visit of Robiyo’s romaine lettuce, leck, basil, chives and other vegetable garden.
They also tasted their coffee and honey products. They also looked into coffee seedlings and various fruit trees.
“Perseverance in working, willingness to do business, and good linkaging with others are the key for successful farming or gardening. My husband and our workers are inspiring me in managing this farm,” Robiyo expressed.
Meanwhile, in Managog Rice Mill, the farmers observed a new rice-mill technology of smaller-type that is more efficient than the older machinery and has built-in separator of whole and broken rice grains.
“Rice milling business has been around for a long time. For countries that are reliant on rice as staple food, milling is a part of processing rice produce,” said Alisha Gobay, rice mill operator.
The mill also helped accommodate workers and transformed their lives in many ways.
“People get fresh and fine quality of rice from local farmers. The rice husks can also generate income as feeds for poultry and sheep,” Gobay further explained.
Gobay also showed to farmers how to operate the new rice mill technology.
The educational trip was conducted on March 29, 2019 and was supported by Caritas Australia. (Amiladen H. Imam)
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