Thursday, November 05, 2009

Birds over Flowers

Exploring MS Baltazar Gumana’s Tropical Garden
By Ricky P. Becodo and Niño S. Manaog
Regional Applied Communications

What do love birds and flowers have in common?

Both species are found in Gumana’s Tropical Garden in barangay Balabag, Pavia, Iloilo, a cutflower farm owned and maintained by Engr. Baltazar J. Gumana, Magsasaka Siyentista (MS)—farmer scientist—recognized by the Western Visayas Agriculture and Resources Research and Development Consortium (WESVARRDEC).

Named Outstanding Farmer by the Province of Iloilo during the Semana sang Iloilo in 2009, particularly for his efforts in horticulture, Gumana maintains a garden in Pavia, Iloilo and a bigger cutflower farm in Calinog, Iloilo.

Situated in the Pavia Garden in barangay Mali-ao and in his own farm in barangay Balabag, Gumana’s cutflower culture is a must-see in the municipality of Pavia, boasting of a wide array of flowers including desert rose (Adenium obesum), cacti and a whole lot of other plants.

To complement his cutflower farm, Gumana put up an aviary in December 2008 even as he wanted to have a modest investment from which he can source additional income. This local government official who has penchant for raising birds breeds African love birds, cockatiels, parakeets (our love birds) and diamond doves, among others.

Parakeets or love birds (top left) and diamond doves (bottom left) are raised in Gumana’s aviary-cutflower farm; extension workers tour Gumana’s aviary (center); and MS Baltazar Gumana shows his trademark arrangement of anthorium, one of the flower species he raises in his cutflower farm in Balabag, Pavia, Iloilo (extreme right).

Gumana believes everyone who likes to have pets must consider the advantages of having birds as pets. For Gumana, having birds as pets is practical, cheaper and low-maintenance.

Compared to dogs and cats, birds need less feed and can even take care of themselves. Also, the birds’ songs render therapeutic value to people, particularly the elderly who are said to live sedentary lives in the household. Gumana goes on further to say that the presence of colorful caged birds could hasten the convalescence of sick or bedridden patients.

According to the farmer scientist, since
raising birds as pets is a serious matter, those who wish to take on the hobby must first read up about them so they can be guided on how to properly take care of them. Advocating the care of birds as pets, Gumana hopes that one day, bird owners in Iloilo host a bird show in order to create more awareness among the public.

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