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Monday, February 26, 2024

An end-of-the-year call to aspiring farmers

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Farming can be a daunting task for those who have no prior experience, even in gardening, where the care of plants is considered an already delicate process that requires a lot of time and effort.

Compared to gardening, farming allows people to be profitable rather than more leisure-focused. As the backbone of the agriculture industry, there are many things to consider when deciding to jump into farming for the first time.

Manuel Gurion Acosta is a retired civil engineer who now manages Ibit’s Farm and encourages others farmers to start their agricultural journey

Manuel Gurion Acosta, a retired civil engineer who owns Ibit’s Farm in La Union, seeks to help other farmers get a head start.

Given his civil engineering background, he had no experience beforehand. But, this did not stop him from learning about it through various workshops, training sessions, and seminars from the Department of Agriculture. Such programs allow people to understand the basics of farming.

Acosta does not just teach farming —he specifically teaches organic farming, promoting sustainability. While organic farming can take longer to produce results, it is, by far, a better, healthier option for new farmers from the get-go.

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Once new farmers have grasped the principles, it is time to discuss tools. There are a variety of efficient tools for farming, such as hoes and rakes. However, some farmers can get by even with simple sticks, like indigenous farmers.

Jay Cabutihan, an urban farmer from Rizal, took on the challenge
to grow the world’s second-most expensive spice

Having the fanciest farming equipment can be nice, but simplicity in utility allows for sustainability. Some farming methods depend on environmental conditions, so new farmers should know which ones to utilize.

Then, the crop of choice comes next. Some crops are in high demand and are very profitable, such as cacao. Japhet Tabale, owner of Cacao Prince, advises that farmers should consider their capital for farming their chosen crop and to learn about the upsides and downsides of the specific crop.

The crop of choice can benefit other farmers, just like what Rizal native Jay Cabutihan did with his vanilla farm. A highly-sought spice, he took on the challenge of cultivating vanilla and has helped less fortunate farmers increase their income with just a tiny plot of land.

By sharing his knowledge with others, he effectively boosts the role of farming as a livelihood.

Having deliberated on the crop of choice, it is now up to the farmer to maintain their farm all year round. But agriculture isn’t just for annual profit, as it brings other benefits to the surrounding community. Self-sufficiency is one thing, allowing even remote communities to thrive despite limited access to outside resources.

Another Rizal native, Fernan Bejerano, is a volunteer with a strong desire to help his local community, so he has made it his mission to promote agricultural tourism. He stresses how farmers, in general, secure the people’s future and implores other farmers to work in solidarity to create a better quality of life for everyone else.

With all of these in mind, there is an opportunity for more Filipinos to get into farming. Capital or ample space may be challenging issues for newcomers, too. Still, farming benefits are tenfold and are sure to deliver an experience worth pouring attention into for more years to come.

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