Organic Agriculture: Consumer and Family Welfare First Before Profit
Mr. Reynaldo Quilicot, or “Nong Olong”, for people who know him, is from Brgy. Yanaya, Carmen, Bohol. He is 46 years old and married to Marcela Quilicot of La Paz, Carmen, Bohol. They have five (5) children, three already have college degrees, while the youngest two are still studying. Nong Olong, who only finished elementary level, is very proud that he was able to send all his children to school from the earnings of his 0.5 hectare organic farm. Farming is the family’s sole source of income that provides them their basic needs such as food, shelter and education for the children.
Nong Olong is very active in organic community and an active member to different organizations such as Carmen Tilapia Growers Association (CTGA), Carmen Multi-purpose Cooperative (CMCP), Samahang Nayon Multi- Purpose Cooperative, La Paz Vegetable Growers, and Bol-anong Mag uugma. With his active participation in all those organizations and the success of his organic agriculture enterprise, he’s been a recipient to various awards such as Best Organic Vegetable Garden for the Utanon sa Tugkaran Alang sa Kabataan (UTAK) Program; finalist for the provincial-wide search for the Best Bahay Kubo FAITH Garden in 2010; Outstanding Vegetable Grower in 2008 (Barangay Level); 2nd Place for the “O My Gulay sa Barangay” Program (Provincial Level), and in 2010 Gawad Saka Awardee as Outstanding High Value Commercial Crop (HVCC) Farmer.
Nong Olong was an on and off family driver and a rice mill worker/operator before he became a full time farmer in 2008. His primary reason in adopting organic agriculture is to provide safe food for his family and for other people. He decided to go into organic agriculture after attending training on organic vegetable production at their Municipal Agriculture Office. Armed with the new learnings he had acquired, he utilized his tenanted 0.5 hectare land into an integrated and diversified farm which used to be a conventional farm using agrochemicals that was supplied by the landowner. In the initial stage of the conversion process, Nong Olong experienced financial losses due to the significant decrease in yield. But that experience did not deter him to continue organic farming because he believes that in the long run the soil will be in good condition again.
His knowledge and skills in organic farming were further enhanced from the trainings he had taken as a member of different organic organizations. He was also influenced to pursue organic agriculture by his daughter who was then a student taking up Agricultural Technology at the Bohol Island State University. It was his daughter who first brought him a handful of African Night Crawler that he had multiplied and used in his vermicomposting. He was not only able to learn the scientific side of farming but also its management.
With the numerous recognitions from different organizations and institutions that Nong Olong received for his organic farming technology, he was able to obtain various rewards that help him further improve his farm production. These include tools and equipment such as water pump, knapsack sprayer, seedling trays, carts for harvest and a tricycle unit for transporting his produce. Indeed, Nong Olong have gone a long way from being a part time driver to a full time organic farmer.
The Quilicot farm is located in Sitio San Miguel Dos, Brgy. La Paz, Carmen, Bohol where the famous Chocolate Hills can be found. The farm has a flat elevation and the soil is clay like. Nong Olong’s farm is diversified and integrated that uses his self-produced vermicast, vermitea, carbonized rice hull (CRH), compost tea, and employs Natural Farming Technology Systems (NFTS) in growing his crops. He also raises pigs organically, ducks and native chicken as sources of additional income; and cultures tilapia for their consumption. It is indeed a family enterprise where all family members participated in all farm activities.
One of Nong Olong’s plans as his personal advocacy is to encourage more farmers to produce organically grown food for a healthier community. Even though he is an agri-entrepreneur, he believes that consumer’s welfare should come first before profit. It is Nong Olong’s aspiration that farmers across the country would adopt organic farming and that locally organic produce could compete in the global market.