Going organic in
By Quing Romero
Posted 5 August 2006
in her organic garden.
EVERY time Adela Avian
Dalapo, 48, and her family eat their home-grown fruits and
vegetables, they eat their food with gusto, knowing they are among
the lucky ones, unlike many people who get theirs from the market,
not knowing how these were grown.
“Me, I’m very satisfied
with my vegetables and fruits because I know these are free from
fertilizers and other chemicals,” said the 48-year-old housekeeper
from the hinterland Sitio Languyod in Barangay Libertad, some 18
kilometers away from downtown Gingoog City in Misamis Oriental.
Adela is lucky because she
was among those trained by BMFI, starting in 2005, on diversified
integrated farming system, which is basically sustainable
agriculture covering, among others, organic farming.
“I always have a passion
for farming,” she said. Because of her interest in the farm, the
Barangay Development Council noticed and endorsed her to be trained
as a local farmer technician.
The training turned out to be
very useful for Adela as she acknowledged that the shift from their
usual way of farming was really enlightening.
After the series of training
that she underwent, she learned how to produce and use organic
fertilizers. In effect, they now don’t buy fertilizers and
pesticides, lessening farming expenses considerably. Her family now
totally uses organic pesticides for their rice fields.
Despite the fact that her
family’s main source of livelihood is farming, Adela’s family
gambled with this new method.
But for Adela, it wasn’t a
smooth-sailing ride toward sustainable agriculture. Anyone can
undergo different trainings, but to put into practice one learned in
trainings is another matter, especially because sustainable
agriculture and organic farming is totally new to her.
Sharing her new-found skill
with her neighbors is even more difficult, for who would believe
someone who is not even a graduate of any college degree, a major
qualification one looks up to in a teacher. People were
apprehensive, saying the technology is impossible.
But Adela kept on promoting
what she believed was the right way of farming that is both good for
the environment and beneficial to farmers, especially to poor ones.
Her first attempt, after BMFI
conducted the diversified integrated farming system in the area, was
to convince a few of her neighbors to start a communal farm. But
they were apprehensive, so not everyone participated. But Adela was
happy because she was able to show the benefits of organic
technology. And when people saw these, they started coming to Adela
for information on sustainable agriculture.
Now, Adela is happy looking
at the backyard gardens in every household in her community, where
the farmers can easily get their vegetables for the day’s meal. It
indeed is a great help since the barangay is quite far from the
After that, she then tried to
organized another communal farm, this time with the women.
Unfortunately, the women were busy with household chores. Instead,
she ended up organizing a learning farm for out of school children.
Soon, the children were harvesting pechay and upland kangkong. Soon,
they will be harvesting bell pepper.
Together with the Philippine
Youth Association in her barangay, they hope to widen their area of
coverage as she sees the potential of the youth.
Aside from being a local
farmer technician, recently she was trained as a “paravet”
(short for “paraveterinarian”) in her barangay. As such, she is
active in facilitating the backyard poultry raising in her barangay,
which she thinks is a great help for the participating families.
The backyard poultry, she
said, maximizes the free time of housewives. Aside from the
additional income of P2,000 pesos every 32-day cycle, the project
lets the family go on with their everyday routine. The housewife can
still accomplish her everyday chore with occasional monitoring on
the chickens. This project, Adela says, also encourages
participation among out of school youths.