The town of Dagami, Leyte, located 32 kilometers from Tacloban City, prides itself with verdant lands planted to coconut, rice, and corn. Yet the once plentiful harvest became a distant memory when Typhoon Yolanda (Haiyan), the world’s strongest typhoon in recent memory, brought about unprecedented destruction. But five years after the tragedy, people from Dagami have completely recovered, rebuilt their life and livelihood.
The Mamanwa or Indigenous people of Biliran grant scholarship from TESDA, which is a free training program on how to produce organic vegetables and organic concoctions.
Mr. Benito Santos started as a conventional farmer in 1995. But after attending seminars and symposia on organic agriculture, he decided to apply the cultural practices he learned from CLORFA and MASIPAG. In 2007, he gradually converted his farm to organic agriculture from 30:70 (30% organic: 70% conventional); 40:60; 50:50; 75:25 until he reached 100% full organic conversion in 2013. His motivation in shifting to organic agriculture is to provide safe and healthy food for his family. He believes that synthetic chemical farming is harmful to the environment.
During Benjamin Maggay’s time as a mayor of Cervantes town, Ilocos Sur, he noticed that whenever their farmers used chemicals, they suffered lung problems two to three days after. He thought organic farming would solve it. His purpose was to lessen the number of farmers who were using commercial fertilizers and pesticides, because these are what’s causing our health problems. So Cervantes ventured into organic farming both as a strategy for agricultural development and as part of the town’s health program.
Mr. Martirez shifted to organic agriculture in 2000 after attending a training on agroforestry production and post-production system conducted by the Philippine Rural Reconstruction Movement (PRRM). Since then, he had attended several trainings on organic agriculture where he learned more about sustainable farming strategies that he applied in his own farm.
Mr. Mauro started as a conventional farmer in 2009 and shifted to organic farming in 2012. His shift to organic-based farm practices is not only motivated by the opportunity of gaining higher profit and higher productivity but also by his desire to advocate for healthy living and sustainable agriculture .
Following the success of the six previous trainings in Bulacan, Leyte, and Nagcarlan, twenty-two more farmers became SEP partners in the organic agriculture advocacy.
Ka Bernie has been awarded several recognitions on organic farming including
Dangal ng Lipi ng Bulacan and National Gawad Saka Award (Farm Family Category)
both in 2012. In 2013 he was awarded as the Best Farmer Cooperator by BASC.
“Organikong pamamaraan ay tuklasin para magkaroon ng masagana at magandang ani ang ating bukid,” says Tatay Ricardo, who is part of LifeBank’s training and mentoring program. The training expanded his skill sets in crop production and opened him to new concepts in organic-based farming.