4Ps beneficiary manages own organic demo farm
I wanted to learn more about farming because this is what I know and where we get our income,” said Francisco Elardo in Cebuano as he tends his plants in their family backyard in Barangay Taytay, Badian town, southwest Cebu.
Francisco’s inclination to farming started after he attended a seminar on organic farming in 2010.
“Nakat-unan nako sa seminar nga dili kinahanglan mogamit og spray nga adunay mga kemikals (I learned from that seminar that it is not necessary to spray chemicals to plants)”, Francisco said.
Together with his wife Marilou and their two children, Reese and Christian, Francisco immediately applied what he learned from the seminar and planted a variety of vegetables like alugbati, talong, camote, batong, pechay, patola and malunggay. He also grew fruit bearing trees like guyabano, papaya, tambis, guava, coconut and avocado.
“I was happy that after a year, we were able to harvest many vegetables. Our neighbors and people from other barangays also bought our fresh produce),” Francisco beamed with gladness.
Instead of chemicals, Francisco applied organic fertilizers on his 1,000 square meters backyard garden through vermiculture. Vermiculture is the use of earthworms to breakdown organic materials into rich fertilizers for use in organic gardening and farming.
Francisco also uses organic chemicals for spraying his plants and planted insect repellant plants like lemongrass (tanglad) to ward off insects.
In 2013, he decided to make his backyard garden as a demonstration farm because many people now visit his backyard garden to know about organic farming. In fact, many high school and college students visit his demonstration farm to learn more and see an actual organic farm.
In 2014, the Municipal Links of Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program (4Ps) coordinated with the Municipal Agriculture Office (MAO) for seeds to augment Francisco’s demonstration farm.
“Even though I am tired, I am happy to demonstrate to students the vermiculture technology because I love to share what I have learned about organic farming,” he said.
If there are visitors, Francisco would discuss the natural farming system like indigenous microorganism, fermented plant juice and fermented fruit juice.
There are also two small fish ponds in their backyard garden.
“During lean season, these tilapias serve as our viand and we do not worry about rice since we already have the rice subsidy,” he added.
Last year, the Agricultural Training Institute tapped Francisco as one of the resource speakers for organic vegetables farming seminar.
Currently, he is the Farmer Scientist Training Program Barangay Coordinator and at the same time a farmer’s trainor under the Office of Provincial Agriculture.
As an advocate of organic farming, he encourages other Pantawid Pamilya partner-beneficiaries to follow the natural farming system.
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