Agripreneur in Action: Ricardo Sanchez
Mr. Ricardo P. Sanchez, an agripreneur of Lifebank Foundation Inc, is from Sta Cruz, Angat, Bulacan, born on May 25, 1963 and graduated at Feasti University with a degree of Bachelor of Science in Mechanical Engineering. He is married to Mrs. Perla Fernandez Sanchez and have three siblings namely Reginald, Micky and Jared. He owns 2 and half hectare of farm area in Sta Cruz, Angat, Bulacan and was converted into organic agriculture last 2013.
He started conventional farming in the year 1996. His decision to venture into a more sustainable farming in 2013 was an outcome of the learning and exposures in his membership in Sta Cruz Farmers Association. He attended several trainings and seminars on sustainable agriculture and he was also one of the first batch who attended Organic-based Farm Practices, Social Enterprises Development, and Farmer-Clustering” which was conducted by the Sustainable Agricultural Technicians (SAT) of Lifebank Foundation, Inc. These exposures changed Mr Sanchez’s outlook in farming and environmental protection and he always quoted “Your food is your medicine”, means that whatever you eat, whether it’s bad or good, it directly affects your health. Mr. Sanchez’s main motivation for conversion to organic agriculture is his commitment to produce healthy organic products for his family.
His experience in organic farming has convinced neighbouring rice farmers to try organic farming. Just like Mr. Sanchez, adopters also observed higher yield from organic than conventional practices due to increased tillering and reduced pollen abortion. Moreover, the water holding capacity of the soil was improved due to build-up of organic matter. Pest incidence was also reduced due to healthier plants. In general, the communities in Sta Cruz and Sta Lucia Angat, Bulacan have increased their knowledge and understanding of the beneficial effects of organic farming to the whole agroecological system.
Last October 4, 2018, several farmers from Sta Cruz and Sta Lucia, Angat, Bulacan visited his organic farm for the event Farm Harvesting Festival which was facilitated by the Municipal Agricultural Office and Mr. Sanchez showcased his organic agricultural practices and introduced his System of Rice Intensification demo farm. Lifebank’s Sustainable Agriculture Technicians partnered with him for the conduction of his SRI demo farm and from this he gained a lot of new concepts on how to get more yield from low inputs. SRI is a practice of planting younger (8-12 days- old) seedlings using one seedling per hill at wider spacing of 25 cm x 25 cm (or wider). The soil is kept moist but not flooded where intermittent irrigation or alternate wetting, and drying is practiced. Shallow flooding at 2-3 inches depth is done 2 days before rotary weeding. Flooding is also done during the reproductive phase.
Mr. Sanchez has a strong intent on continuing his advocacy for sustainable organic agriculture. This includes diversification and integration of different farm components, which he has proven to be effective in his farm. He plans to further develop his farm into an agri-tourism destination in Sta Cruz, Angat, Bulacan.