Monday, June 06, 2011

Be organic agripreneurs, Western Visayas farmers urged

By Vishia Mae Tolcidas
Representative, FITS OPA Negros Occidental
Regional Applied Communications Group (RACG)

Be agri-preneurs; there’s money in organic farming”—such was the encouragement of established agri-preneur and organic farming practitioner Ramon Dayrit Peñalosa, Jr. in the forum titled Business Opportunities in Organic Farming during the first Regional Techno Gabay Summit and TechnoMart held on May 25–26, 2011 at Amigo Plaza Mall in Iloilo City.

MS Ramon Peñalosa keeps his fingers crossed
for the future of organic agriculture the province.
For the farmer scientist, after having started
to convert 10% of its agricultural lands to organic,
Negros Occidental is on its way to being the top producer
of organic products in the country—
and eventually, the Organic Bowl of Asia.
The Magsasaka Siyentista (MS) of the Farmers’ Information and Technology Services (FITS) Center based in the province of Negros Occidental, Peñalosa urged fellow farmers to consider farming as a business venture.

According to MS Ramon Peñalosa, “as farmers, we should be entrepreneurs. Farmers should be the one to create the demand, and satisfy it.” Peñalosa said natural farming is a global irreversible concern in all fields of business because it has grown to more than USD80 billion annually from only USD20 billion five years ago.

MS Peñalosa believes that while people react against synthetics for health and environmental reasons, going natural is the wave of the future. The farmer scientist expressed optimism, saying, “Mother Nature and Father Business can rock-and-roll in a natural, sustainable, and replicable way.”

Sponsored by the Western Visayas Agriculture and Resources Research and Development Consortium (WESVARRDEC), the summit gathered some 300 participants composed of farmer scientists, agricultural extension workers and technology and marketing experts.

One of the components of Pinoy S&T (Science and Technology) Services, a banner program of the Philippine Council for Agriculture, Forestry and Natural Resources Research and Development of the Department of Science and Technology (PCARRD-DOST), TechnoMart brings S&T-based products from the farm to the market, farm to the kitchen, and farm to the table.

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