Farmers Learn Innovative Farming Practices at Demo Farm Tour

A picturesque view greets the demo farm tour participants as they visited one of the most-visited flower gardens in Tupi, South Cotabato

From being linked to the Communist revolutionary movement, former members of Underground Mass Organizations, all of them farmers, are now empowered to transform their lives as they learned new and innovative ways of farming that they could apply on their farms back at home.

Now proud members of various People’s Organizations (POs) formed through the Philippine Army’s Community Support Program (CSP), some twenty participants from Davao Oriental and villages situated at its borders have recently visited farms in the municipality of Tupi, South Cotabato, an idyllic rural town which is host to scores of thriving demonstration farms and vast swathes of pineapple plantation with the majestic Mount Matutum serving as its backdrop.

During the three-day tour on demo farms that showcases innovative agricultural practices in growing and improving crops, members of these POs were given series of lectures on agriculture innovations and practical demonstrations on farming, livestock-raising, and aquaculture production.

Enthusiastically jotting down notes, asking questions, and touring the huge farms that are dotted with a variety of crops and grazing livestock, the participants toured the state-of-the-art farming facilities of Mindanao Baptist Rural Life Center, Department of Agriculture-Central Mindanao Integrated Agricultural Research Center (DA-CEMIARC), and the family-run fruit park Kablon Farm that boasts of a range of innovative agricultural practices – from the ideal diversified farming system to food processing.

Also included in the places they visited were the sprawling commercial flower gardens of Mariano’s Blooming Farm and Eden’s Flower Farm.

The educational tour, which was initiated by the Philippine Army’s 701st Brigade under the leadership of Brigadier General Reuben Basiao, is only the army’s first step in helping these PO members build a niche on agriculture. The army plans to further assist these POs by organizing them to become cooperatives or SEC-registered organizations for them to be able to easily access and avail assistance from the government.

A researcher gives a lecture as she tours the participants at the state-of-the-art facilities of the Department of Agriculture – CEMIARC

Accompanied by military officers led by Deputy Brigade Commander Col. Rodolfo Lavadia, Jr., the members of the POs are being graciously toured by well-known local farmer entrepreneur Ernesto Pantua, Jr. at his fruit farm Kablon Farm.

Participants during the tour include members of POs under the 701st Brigade area of responsibility which covers the areas of the 28th Infantry Battalion in the province’s second district, 67th Infantry Battalion in the first district, and 66th Infantry Battalion that covers area in the boundaries of Davao Oriental, particularly in the neighboring Compostela Valley Province.

A GAME-CHANGING TOUR

Coming from formerly identified “New People’s Army-infested” barangays in Davao Oriental and bordering villages in the neighboring province, the participants say the trip was indeed a game-changer and a transformative one. Having seen the success of the farms they visited with crops abundantly growing in seemingly endless strips of land, the participants say they saw great potentials of their farms back at home in the province of Davao Oriental which is widely known as a suitable area for agriculture.

Tour participants views in awe the beauty of one of Tupi’s famous flower gardens– Eden’s Flower Farm.

Despite seeing standard designs that are too large and expensive for small farmers like them during the tour, they said they were inspired, adding that everything can be possible with persistence, determination, and a bit of support from the government.

A tour guide shows how livestock is being raised at the Mindanao Baptist Rural Life Center.

Participants say they have learned a lot during the tour in terms of good farming practices. They gave particular emphasis on multi-cropping and diversified farming techniques which if applied would allow them to grow other crops on the rest of their farms – thus maximizing the use of their land.

For Erlinda dela Rosa, a member of Magandang Buhay Women’s Association, the tour has taught her a big deal especially on raising livestock which is their association’s major business. “For farmers like us, the tour is an extraordinary learning experience. It taught us not only the best practices in farming but it has also made us realize the goodness of the government and our soldiers. This tour has really inspired us to dream and unlock our potentials as farmer entrepreneurs,” she said.

CREATING SUSTAINABLE PEACE AND DEVELOPMENT

Recognizing that poverty and insurgency are closely interconnected, the government and the army are steadfast in their efforts to address the deep-seated poverty in the communities.

Tour participants enjoy a free tasting of the natural food products and preserves produced at the Kablon Farm in Tupi, South Cotabato.

The Philippine Army says that the educational tour is only among the many interventions implemented under its Community Support Program which is piloted in the province of Davao Oriental to back the Local Government Units in their peace and development efforts. Aiming to counter insurgency, it has become an effective venue in helping empower marginalized communities transform their lives, create jobs, and arming them to become self-sustaining, thus also empowering their communities to become conflict-resilient.

A highly-innovative local initiative that explores and directly address the plight of the people at the grassroots, especially the marginalized sector, the CSP is also poised to pave the way for more sustainable economic programs not only to strengthen communities’ resilience to conflict but also to beef up the government’s footing for development interventions. Text and Photo by Karen Lou Deloso

One Response to Farmers Learn Innovative Farming Practices at Demo Farm Tour

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

Copyright © 2018. All Rights Reserved.Powered by Public Information Office