Thursday, January 21, 2010

MS Peñalosa graces Negros organic congress

By Niño Manaog
Regional Applied Communications

To address people’s ignorance by teaching them on farming is to help address the problem of poverty.

This is one advocacy of Ramon D. Peñalosa Jr., Magsasaka Siyentista (MS) of the Western Visayas Agriculture and Resources Research and Development Consortium (WESVARRDEC) who shared his expertise on probiotics-based swine raising during the Organic Festival held on November 25–27, 2009 at the Panaad Park in Alijis and Organic Market in Bacolod City.

In the annual organic fest hosted by the province of Negros Occidental, WESVARRDEC’s farmer scientist shared his know-how and shed light on the nitty-gritty of his practices in probiotics-based swine technology.

Constantly stressing the need to create the market for these and other farm products, Peñalosa’s input on how to package them by adding value to it also elicited a number of queries and feedback from the audience.

Among others, the Vera-Yus who also manage an organic farm in Sibariwan, Dumarao, Capiz were convinced of Peñalosa’s farming practices that they even went to the Peñalosa farms after the lecture.

(clockwise from top left) During the 4th Organic Festival in Negros, MS Ramon D. Peñalosa, Jr. of WESVARRDEC shares practical tips on how to market farm products simply and effectively; womenfolk stay glued to the lively and engaging lecture; and Ayesha Vera-Yu of Capiz throws questions to
Peñalosa, finding the speaker and his practical technology convincing.

According to Ayesha Vera-Yu, Peñalosa’s lecture was so engaging because he is citing the real thing, not to mention the “vivacity of the speaker who effectively relates with his audience.” The Vera-Yus visited the Manapla farms to see the actual practices advocated by the speaker. Peñalosa graciously hosted the visitors, as he does regularly every week. After the visit, Vera-Yu told Peñalosa that they could copy some of his practices into their own farms.

Mrs. Edna Garde, manager of the Farmers Information and Technology Services (FITS) Center based in the Office of the Provincial Agriculturist (OPA) Negros Occidental, assists him in the conduct of agri-tourism for the visitors who come from Luzon and other parts of the country. In the organic fest week alone, Peñalosa hosted two batches of visitors from the Cordillera region and La Libertad town in Negros Oriental.

Garde says that their province takes pride in the “edible landscape” being advocated by Peñalosa. The concept of edible landscape provides that there should be food in everyone’s backyard because it is easy to maintain and does not rely on commercially available pesticides and other interventions. In edible landscape any ordinary person can raise vegetables in his own yard. Garde said that the good number of visitors to the Peñalosa farms adds to the good figures for agri-tourism in their province.

Peñalosa’s farms situated in Manapla town and Victoria City, both in Negros Occidental, showcase integrated natural farming, one that is environment-friendly, low-maintenance, self-sustainable and profitable. Among others, the farms practice zero waste management, intercropping, vermi-composting and probiotics-based swine technology.

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