Thursday, February 04, 2010
FITS Buenavista hosts calamansi farmers forum
On January 14, 2010, the Farmers Information and Technology Services (FITS) Center in Buenavista, Guimaras, backed by the local government of Buenavista and the Guimaras State College (GSC) sponsored a farmers’ forum on organic farming and calamansi production featuring Dr. Eleuterio Guarino, professor of the Aklan State University (ASU).
Under the theme “Buenavista: Amligan, Patahumon, Pasanyugon,” the convention gathered some 60 calamansi farmers and raisers from 19 barangays of Buenavista. Specializing in crops production, Guarino shared to participants functional know-how and useful practices in raising calamansi while rendering helpful insights on organic farming.
The forum generated valuable comments from participants. For one, 82-year-old farmer Jesus Medina who maintains some five hectares of rolling plantation for calamansi in barangay Mantangingi found the concepts on organic farming helpful that he will practice vermi-composting in his farm. Medina said his previously abandoned calamansi farm is now being rehabilitated. He now is working on it through the help of two farm hands. With added know-how, Medina hopes to profit from his calamansi farm.
Partners Elme Tayo and Janie Legita, who have been sharing a 1.5-hectare farm in barangay Tanag for more than ten years, said that the seminar refreshed their knowledge on calamansi even as they try to practice organic farming in their farms. According to them, Guarino gave particularly fresh ideas on planting, pruning and other cultivation practices which they can use in their farms. Tayo and Legita also said that in order to make profit, they usually ship them to Bacolod and Iloilo City where the price of calamansi is higher. They are hoping that the local government can find a way by which their yield can be marketed for a higher price.
Meanwhile, Theresa Pama of barangay San Nicolas keeps a two-hectare farm and maintains a nursery in her own backyard. Although she profited from her harvest last year, she says that calamansi processing will help boost their sales and even lure more producers.
Guarino likewise acknowledged the importance of processing, and supported that marketing is essential to calamansi production. FITS Manager Jonathan Elidia echoed this sentiment, saying that calamansi processing is the prime concern that needs to be addressed. Elidia also recognized the importance of establishing a farmers; organization that can institutionalize the concerns of calamansi farmers in Buenavista.
According to Techno Gabay Team Leader Lilian Diana Parreño, GSC’s research director, Pama is being groomed for Magsasaka Siyentista evaluation by the Western Visayas Agriculture and Resources Research and Development Consortium (WESVARRDEC) this year.
The forum was made possible through the coordination of FITS Buenavista and Guimaras State College, its partner member agency.