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Pantawid Pamilya partner-beneficiary manages own organic demonstration farm

Ganahan ko makakat-on pagdugang kabahin sa pamaol kay mao man kini akong nahibaw-an ug mao kini among panginabuhian (I wanted to learn more about farming because this is what I know and where we get our income),” said Francisco Elardo as he tends his plants in their family backyard in Brgy. Taytay, Badian, Cebu.

Francisco (leftmost) makes sure that the whole family is engaged in their organic backyard garden from which they get a good supply of vegetables.

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 matter-of-factly.

Francisco immediately applied what he learned from the seminar and fortunately he was right on his decision to pursue organic farming. Together with his wife Marilou and their two children, Reese and Christian, he planted a variety of vegetables like alugbati, talong, camote, batong, pechay, patola and malunggay. He also grew fruit bearing trees like guyabano, papaya, tambis, bayabas coconut, bayabas and avocado.

Human sa usa ka tuig, nalipay ko nga naka-ani mi og daghang utanon ug kini nagamit sa akong pamilya ug ang among mga silingan ug uban sa laing barangay mopalit pud sa among mga ani (I was happy that after a year, we were able to harvest many vegetables, which benefited our family, neighbors and people from other barangays who also buy our fresh produce),” Francisco beamed with gladness.

Instead of chemicals, Francisco applied organic fertilizers on his one thousand square meters backyard garden through vermiculture.

Vermiculture is the use of earthworms to break down 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 tanglad (lemongrass) to ward off insects, which are pests for his backyard garden.

Francisco tends to his alugbati.

In the 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 coordinated with the Municipal Agriculture Office (MAO) for seeds to augment Francisco’s demonstration farm.

Miski kapoy, malipay gihapon ko mag-demo sa mga estudyante kay ganahan man sad ko nga mapa-ambit sa lain akong nahibaw-an kabahin sa organic farming (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.

Sa panahon nga wala pay ani, kining mga tilapia maoy among sud-anon ug dili man pud mi magkalisud palit og bugas kay naa naman rice subsidy nga gihatag sa amo (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 (ATI) 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 Agriculturist of Cebu Province.

As an advocate of organic farming, he encourages other Pantawid Pamilya partner-beneficiaries to follow the natural farming system.

Francisco shows his home-made organic fertilizers.

Magkugi, mag-antos ug labaw sa tanan dili gyud hikalimtan ang atong Diyos kay tungod siya ang naghatag natu sa tanang mga grasya (Persevere, sacrifice and most importantly do not forget God because is the one who provides us all the blessings),” Francisco’s reply when asked of his principle in life. ###

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