Wednesday, April 29, 2015

All Set for Urban Agri Trade Show

SNAP Hydroponics
It is all systems go for the May 1-3 Urban Agriculture trade show at the Rockwell Tent at the corner of Estrella St. and Rockwell in Makati City. It is open free to the public.
The trade show is under the auspices of the Manila Bulletin’s Agriculture Magazine which is now into its 19th year and is the most widely circulated agriculture magazine in the country.
Among those who will be showcasing their products and services are RU Foundry and Puro Organic from Bacolod City. RU Foundry of Ramon Uy manufactures shredders, essential oil extractor, ram pump and others. Puro Organic, a sister company, is into organic vegetables, organic rice, coffee and other organic farm produce.
Allied Botanical Corporation is one of the seed companies that will showcase its new vegetable hybrids, both for the lowland and the highland. The others are Ramgo, Harbest Agribusiness and East-West Seed Company.
Aside from high-value seeds, Harbest Agribusiness has its small tractors which are highly efficient in bed preparation for vegetable planting. It has drip irrigation system, plastic mulch and other farm inputs.
Kainitz Corporation owned by Caysing Tan boasts of its drip irrigation system, small farm machines, power tools, shredders, rice mill, chippers and many more.
Macondray Philippines will showcase its plastic products that are used in urban farming and gardening. Costales Nature Farms from Majayjay, Laguna will also be there. It is one of the big users of Macondray’s plastic tubes and other products for growing lettuce, herbs and other vegetables.
Also joining the trade show are Land Bank of the Philippines, Seven Days of Green, God’s Grace Farm, UP Los Baños, Milea Bee Farm of San Jose, Batangas, Support Organic Agriculture Philippines (SOAP), Aztec Spirulina Farm, Paningbatan Farm, Sarian Farm, Got Heart Foundation, Modular Aquaponics, The Green Company, Sanchez Farm, Juan Longanisa and others.
FREE SEMINARS – Free seminars will be among the highlights of the trade show. At 1 p.m. of May 1, Zac B. Sarian will lecture on how to grow fruit trees in containers. This is something we have been doing for many years now. There are advantages in growing fruit trees in containers, especially in the urban areas where space for growing plants is usually limited.
Starting at 2:30 in the afternoon of May 1, Prof. Primitivo Jose Santos will discuss container gardening using the SNAP Hydroponics technology developed by a team of Los Baños researchers headed by Prof. Santos himself.
On May 2, starting at 1 p.m., Dr. Pio Javier will discuss “Management of Insect Pests in Organic Vegetable Production.” Then, on the next day, May 3, at 4 p.m., Dr. Fernando C. Sanchez Jr. will talk on Edible Landscaping.
WHAT TO BUY – Attendees will be able to buy organic food products that will include colored rice, fruits and vegetables, herbal preparations like turmeric products, food supplements, pickles, regional delicacies and many more.
For sure, East-West Seed will be offering its farm-ready-seedlings like tomato, pepper, eggplant, cucumber and more. Also, seeds will be available.
On our part, we will be making available our superior fruit trees like the super avocado, sweet kamias, imported makopa varieties (five kinds), Abiu, ever-bearing cacao, Vietnam pummelos, sweet balimbing, longkong lanzones, durian, seedless atis, pomegranate from Israel, Japanese saluyot seeds and many more.
Written by: Zac Sarian

PhilMech Develops 3 Bio-organic Solutions VS Crop Pest, Fungi

MANILA, April 27 (PNA) — The Philippine Center for Postharvest Development and Mechanization (PhilMech) has come up with three types of organic solutions for controlling pests and fungi which all have promising potential for mass use in the country.

PhilMech executive director Rex Bingabing said the three ‘emerging technologies’ in the field of bio-control for pests and fungi are a product of the continued research and development (R&D) of the agency into non-chemical solutions for use in farming.

“Once these technologies are fully commercialized, the Philippines can improve the quality and safety of its food products,” he said.

The emerging technologies are named Biofungicide Th-DGA02, Biofungicide 8a-DGA14, and Biopesticide Piper betle L.

Biofungicide Th-DGA02 is a formulation containing biologically pure culture of Trichoderma harzianum that has strong anti-fungal properties.

Bingabing said lab tests have shown its effectiveness against the banana crown rot disease.

Meanwhile, Biofungicide 8a-DGA14 is from a biologically pure culture of a novel strain of Bacillus amyloliquefaciens DGA14 and can also be used to inhibit the fungi that cause banana crown rot disease.

On the other hand, Biopesticide Piper betle L is a volatile oil extracted from Piper betle leaves in 30-percent dust formulation.

It is effective against the cowpea beetle which can destroy bean harvests; lesser grain borer which can damage grains; and the corn weevil which targets corns and other grains.

“After thorough testing with the R&D collaborators of PhilMech, any of the three technologies can be readied for commercialization in the next few years,” Bingabing said.

The PhilMech chief said the three organic-based controls were developed as the agency’s contribution to make food products safer for consumption in the Philippines as well as to help boost the exports of bananas to other countries.

“Today, the most widely used measures to control the banana crown rot disease along with pests found in uncooked food products are chemical solutions. However, the long-term health implications of using chemicals to control fungi and pests in farm products cannot be ignored,” Bingabing said.

Thus, he said that PhilMech continues to undertake research work on indigenous Philippine plants that can possibly have active ingredients that can help control common pests and fungi in food products.

“Earlier investigations by PhilMech showed a reduction of fungal and insect activities when extracts from native plants like Bituon, Bangbangsit, Anobrang, Hagonoy and Bayating were tested on grains that were stored,” Bingabing said.

He said that R&D undertaken by the agency on bio-control agents is also in support of the National Organic Agriculture Program of the Department of Agriculture.

Incidentally, Agriculture Secretary Proceso Alcala was the main author of the Organic Agriculture Act of 2010 (Republic Act No. 10068) which provides for the development and promotion of organic agriculture in the country.

“The biocontrol agents developed by PhilMech can be very useful for organic farming practitioners. Organic products are becoming popular because more people are opting to consume chemical- and pesticide-free products which are safer and more environment-friendly,” Bingabing said. (PNA)

By: Philippine News Agency

Friday, April 24, 2015

Organic farms can sustain effects of dry spell

The continuing dry spell in Negros Occidental
resulted to P28 million worth damage
 to crops and livestock. (Photo from

As the dry spell continues to take its toll on the agricultural lands in Negros Occidental, organic farmers experienced otherwise.

Ramon Uy Jr., president of Organik na Negros Organic Producers Association, said that organic farmers have not yet feel the effects of the drought.

Uy said that they have not received any reported damages caused by excessive heat, adding that production of organic crops continue to surge since April.

Thursday, April 23, 2015

Organic Farming by the Numbers

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Definition of Organic Agriculture

Organic Agriculture is a production system that sustains the health of soils, ecosystems and people. It relies on ecological processes, biodiversity and cycles adapted to local conditions, rather than the use of inputs with adverse effects. Organic Agriculture combines tradition, innovation and science to benefit the shared environment and promote fair relationships and a good quality of life for all involved.


Organic Certification

Certification is defined as a system by which the conformity of products, services, practices, etc. to applicable standards is determined and confirmed. This confirmation can be done either by:

  • The first party - the supplier
  • The second party - the customer, or
  • The third party - an independent body
Certification is the procedure by which an independent third party gives written assurance that a clearly identified production or processing system or methodically assessed and conforms to specified requirements/standards. Certification of organic agriculture combines certification of products and quality systems, but it is primarily certification of a production system or method. All operation in the product chain, including farmers, processors and distributors, must be certified as acting in conformity with the standards and regulations of the certification program.

Certification is one way of ensuring that products claimed to be organic are actually produced according to organic farming principles. It is a way of protecting consumers, producers, and traders against the use of misleading or deceptive labels. It is also a marketing instrument enabling producers to access markets for organic products and obtain premium prices. It also creates transparency as information in certified producing organizations an their products is made public.


Monday, April 20, 2015

New Kind of Fertilizer Now in the Market

Anthony A. Cortes, president of Corvill Agricom
A new kind of fertilizer that is very different from the ordinary NPK formulation is now in the market. It is a plant growth booster derived from natural plant extracts that is a product of nano or colloidal technology.

The fertilizer is called Supravim from the United States and is distributed by Corvill Agricom headed by Anthony A. Cortes. Being a product of nano technology, the particles are so minute that they are readily absorbed by the plants, whether sprayed on the leaves or stems. Supravim, according to Cortes, does not totally replace the regular fertilizers applied in the soil but it helps reduce the amount that the farmer needs to apply.
The new fertilizer when applied in the early stage of plant growth, Cortes said, stimulates natural growth defenses of plants at the cellular level, encouraging increased root size which allows more efficient uptake of nutrients and moisture to the stalks and leaves. Of course, it can also be applied during the more advanced stage of plant growth. It improves the stamina of the plants which enable them to resist stress like low level of moisture in the soil.
Supravim is not an insecticide but according to Cortes, it reduces insect damage. That’s because Supravim increases sugar production inside the plant, and because many insects cannot effectively digest sugar, the insects look elsewhere for their meal. This means less need for insecticides, less introduction of chemicals into the ecosystem and reduced cost to the farmer.
Cortes emphasizes that Supravim is a natural blend of 99.9 percent processed extracts of natural plants (phytochemicals) and is completely biodegradable. It is not hazardous to human health nor does it do anything to degrade the environment.
Cortes adds that Supravim acts also as an effective surfactant which helps evenly spread the mixture over the leaves and other plant surfaces, thereby maximizing plant absorption and effectiveness.
Supravim is now registered with the Fertilizer and Pesticide Authority (FPA) for use in leafy vegetables. Field tests are ongoing for eventual FPA registration for fruit crops, rice, corn and other crops.
**** **** ****
HARVEST FESTIVAL – Costales Nature Farms in Majayjay, Laguna, held its 3rd Annual Harvest Festival last April 11-12 with about a thousand visitors attending the two-day event.
The organic farm that Ronald Costales and his wife Josie started in 2004 has gone a long way from its beginning as simply a producer of organic lettuce and other salad vegetables. Today it is into an expanded organic pig production, chicken meat and eggs, agritourism with lodging facilities, and technology provider in organic agriculture.
The latest and most promising as another money maker for the farm is the bottling of spring water. The upscale restaurants that the company is supplying with organic vegetable and meat products could initially be the ready market for the bottled spring water.
Arrangements are also ongoing for the farm to become an accredited training institution by TESDA or Technical Education and Skills Development Authority.
A highlight of the Harvest Festival was the launching of the new logo of the company. At first glance, the prominent feature looks like a lettuce leaf. The upper half of the leaf is a silhouette of Mt. Banahaw from a distance. On top of the leaf is a rising sun which symbolizes a bright beginning. After all organic farming cum agritourism is a sunrise industry. Then there’s the bold handcrafted name of Costales Nature Farms below.
**** **** ****
AGRI-KAPIHAN TOMORROW – This is a highlight of the three-day Agri-Bazaar cum Agri-Kapihan that started yesterday and will end tomorrow at the Quezon Memorial Circle in Quezon City.
Next month, the AANI Agri-Bazaar cum Agri-Kapihan will be held in tandem with the Mango Festival on May 15-17 also at the Quezon Memorial Circle. Attendance is open free to the public.

Wriiten by: Zac Sarian

Saturday, April 18, 2015

Organic Library opens in Bacolod

Uy (Panay News Photo)
The Library and Organic Farming Learning Center was inaugurated in Bacolod City, Negros Occidental, Friday.

The organic library, which is located at the 36-hectare property  Eco-Agri in Barangay Pahanocoy, in this city, is free and open to everyone who is willing to learn new technology in organic farming, said Ramon Uy Sr., president of RU Foundry Shop/Ecological and Agricultural Development Foundation.

He believed that out of school youths and communities have hidden talents that are not tapped due to poverty that’s why they want to cater them.

This library and learning center will give them a break and opportunity to succeed in life, he said. 
He said that everyone is welcome to learn in the library, especially those who are willing can learn the best practices in organic farming.

Also, the private and public sectors entered into a memorandum of agreement to extend services to out of school youths and communities in promoting organic farming and technological assistance.

The memorandum of agreement was signed by Uy; Dr. Fernando Sanchez Jr., president of University of the Philippines (UP); Dr. Romulo Sisno, president of North Negros State College of Science and Technology (NONESCOST); and Stephen Leonidas, regional director of Department of Agrarian Reform-6 (DAR-6).

The MOA will also provide communities with organic fertilizer production technology.

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Spreading the Gospel of Organic Farming

Photo from
AN organic evangelist has put up a store to encourage more farmers to venture into sustainable organic farming.

Lawyer Emmanuel B. Paronda, co-owner of Tienda Organica, said it's just a matter of educating the market on the wonders of organic products for more farmers to realize that the underrated farming method is far better than conventional farming using chemicals.

The Tienda Organica, located at Suarez Bldg., University Drive, Juna Subdivision in Matina, is home to organic products produced by small groups across Davao Region.

As a member of a non-government organization (NGO) himself, Paronda said farmers often bring up the lack of market as the reason why they are not keen to switch to organic farming.

Having that in mind, Paronda, who is a social entrepreneur himself, added that they buy the products from the producers to help them market and earn the livable income for the products they work hard for.

Tienda Organica, (organic store in English), has a wide range of organic products, from chocolates, soaps, fruit concentrate, rice, eggs, juices, honey and vegetables.

The vegetables are delivered fresh from the foothills of Mt. Apo, south of the city in Barangay Sibulan, Toril. The veggies are grown by the Organic Producers and Exporters Corp (Opec).

"What we are promoting is healthy lifestyle and environmental protection. We also want to help the micro, small, and medium enterprises)," Paronda said.

By putting up an organic store, he wants to change the game by bringing down the cost of organic products and make them available not just to high-end consumers.

"Not because it's organic, the products are prices," he said.

There has been an exponential rise in the demand for organic products, as consumers become more aware of the health risks posed by produce laden with chemical fertilizers.

Proof of this was the warm reception they got during the bazaar held at the Felcris Centrale.

Paronda said he is looking for more partnerships with other groups, and plans to expand to Digos City later this year.

"They can partner with us for as long they share similar mindset with us," he said.

Aside from the planned second store, he is looking at bringing the fresh vegetables to the supermarket of the Abreeza of the Ayala Malls.

The social entrepreneur has high hopes that organic farming will eventually replace the conventional farming method.

"This is sustainable because it will enhance the soil; the more you apply organic fertilizer, the lesser the cost in the long run. The microorganisms in the soil will not be distrurbed, you enhance it even," he added.

Aside from sustainability, organically grown products will not pose a risk to farmers and the customers who eat the products.

Organic Farm in Urban Davao

Photo from
MOST organic farms are located in rural areas. The farm of Dr. Rodelio Dalisay is an exception.

Dalisay put up his organic farm in the heart of the city.

Dalisay converted his grandfather's resthouse, at Regina Dalisay Compound in Bajada into an organic urban garden.

He said organic farming was just a hobby when he started in 2012. Starting off with a small plot, planting it with tomatoes, lettuce, cauliflower, and broccoli, which are not commonly grown in the tropical climate of Davao City.

"I started with a small plot because when I go to the groceries, I cannot find organic produce and then the trend of organic vegetables started at that time when I left the United States, so I started my own," he said.

The following year he added kohlrabi, lettuce, kale, and endives to his farm.

"From one plot, then it became two, three, then four until I expanded it," he said.

On January 2014, Wynward Organic Vegetable Garden was opened to the public. Dalisay promoted the farm through Facebook (

Recently, he started planting zucchinis, kalette, and sage. He is also growing tomatillos, sugarbeets, salad dandelions, swiss chards, and the dark cherry tomatoes.

Dalisay, who holds a doctorate in Plant Pathology with a cognate in plant biochemistry, plant breeding, and genetic engineering from The University of Kentucky in Lexington, is also a chef.

Using the skills and training he gained as a chef during his stay in the US, he opened up a bistro at the farm offering healthy meals featuring vegetables freshly harvested from the farm.

Dalisay said being in organic farming is no easy task, since one has to take care of each plant individually.

He also makes his own organic pest control techniques like covering the fruits with newspaper and using marigold as a deterrent. He also makes his own compost using the dried and dead leaves of the plants and food scraps mixed with goat manure.

In maximizing the space of his urban farm, Dalisay practices tower gardening, making use of old plastic jugs and bamboo.

In a bid to promote organic and urban farming to Dabawenyos, Wynward Organic Vegetable Garden opened its doors to farmers, students, and individuals who want to learn.

"People are now opening their eyes to going organic," Dalisay said.

Some of the groups that have visited his farm are the Kiddie Chefs of Italiannis summer camps, farmers from Barangay Tagbaobo, Islang Garden City of Samal, students from Ateneo de Davao University, and students from the University of Southeastern Philippines.

Dalisay and his farm has been featured in multi-awarded television progam Agri Tayo Dito of ABS-CBN.

Wynward Organic Vegetable Garden was a finalist for the 3rd Lunhaw Awards, held last March 13. The farm also received a special award for Urban Organic Vegetable Gardening.


Negros Occidental gets P191M to boost agri, organic farming

Marañon (Watchmen Daily Journal Photo)
The World Bank had allocated P191 million for Negros Occidental after it was chosen as priority province of the national government’s Philippine Rural Development Program (PRDP).

Negros Occidental Governor Alfredo Marañon Jr. stressed that it is a big boost to the province’s agricultural sector and advocacy on organic farming.

“This is an opportunity of a lifetime for us to feed the whole country. Let the PRDP be a model for all provinces because this will help the underprivileged solve poverty and generate more employment for Negros Occidental,” he said.

The PRDP is a platform that calls for an inclusive, value chain-oriented and climate-oriented agriculture and fisheries sectors. Using the $500 million fund from the World Bank through a 15-year old loan agreement, the national government extended grants for agricultural enhancement programs of qualified local government units.

Negros Occidental was the only local government unit in the Visayas cluster that was chosen as pilot area with muscovado as a priority commodity for development.

Marañon emphasized that rice self-sufficiency remains as his top priority, adding that about 50,000 hectares of rice land are currently irrigated and is expected to expand to 90,000 in the next five years or so.

“The resources of this province are beyond imagination. The agriculture sector is like your three-in-one coffee. It is the key to solving poverty and unemployment,” the governor pointed out, as he cited that the Philippines is the “darling” of agricultural advancement in Asia, and was way ahead of Japan, growth-wise in the 50s and 60s.

“With agriculture, we will solve the problem of Metro Manila. If we develop this sector, Metro Manila will be decongested as people will go back to the provinces,” Marañon added.

The governor is thankful for the support of President Benigno “Noynoy” Aquino III, as the latter had committed to help spur the countryside development through the agriculture sector’s modernization.

With the P191 million allocation from World Bank, under the program, Negros Occidental is expected to develop and strengthen its advocacy and interventions in the organic agriculture program, said Larry Nacionales, regional director of the Department of Agriculture.

The P191 million will be allocated for the rehabilitation of Sitio Magtuod to Sitio Vergara Farm to Market Road (FMR) in Toboso with P47,237,317.11; rehabilitation of Barangay Caduhaan to Sitio Aluyan FMR in Cadiz City - P143,758,568; and P500,000 each for the rehabilitation of fishing equipment for blue swimming crab enterprise in Manapla town and the fish coral rehabilitation and fish trading support in Escalante City.

Nacionales said that the WB-funded projects were implemented in the 16 regions in the country, which started in 2013 to 2018.

Monday, April 13, 2015

Why Telecom Executive Chose to be an Agri-preneur

An information technology expert, who graduated magna cum laude from the Polytechnic University of the Philippines in 1989, retired at the age of 39 in 2004 as a vice president of a telecommunication company to pursue his passion for agri-tourism.  Today, his six-hectare organic farm in Laguna province employs 120 workers and is considered one of the country’s most popular agri-tourism sites.
“I was tired and burned-out of the very stressful life in the corporate world. I managed to escape the corporate life at the age of 39 by availing an early retirement plan from the company in 2004. I just thought that engaging into organic agriculture and healthier lifestyle will somehow prolong our lives and spend more quality time with my family,” says 48-year-old Ronald Costales
Costales and his wife Josephine own Costales Nature Farms, a six-hectare integrated farm in Barangay Gagalot, Majayjay, Laguna, which is the largest single producer of certified organic vegetables, culinary herbs, organic pork and chicken in the country.
Josephine is a former owner of Cyberworld, a chain of Internet cafes in Laguna. The couple have two children--Reden Mark, a graduate of De La Salle University - Dasmariñas who is currently the farm manager and Angelica, who studies at the University of the Philippines - Los Baños and works as the marketing manager of the farm.
Costales, who grew up in Umingan, Pangasinan, used to be the head of the IT and engineering department of a large telecommunications company in Makati. He took up Bachelor in Computer Science and graduated magna cum laude from PUP in 1989.
“Since I came from a very poor family, I studied in a public school in my elementary and high school days, and in my college days, I worked as a security guard during daytime and a college scholar during nighttime. I dreamt of becoming a corporate guy working in an air-conditioned room with very nice office attire,” Costales says.
After working in an air-conditioned office for more than a decade, he discovered that there was a better working environment out there.
Today, Costales is a proud organic farming practitioner and a staunch advocate of organic agriculture, an agri -technology innovator, a self-sacrificing extension service provider and an astute agri-entrepreneur.
He is a board member representing the agribusiness/private sector in the National Organic Agriculture Board, the policy-making body of organic agriculture in the country.
Among the awards he received are most inspiring agri-preneur in the Philippines from Go Negosyo, most outstanding community enterprise in the Philippines from the Villar Sipag Foundation, most outstanding son of Pangasinan from the Pangasinan provincial government and most outstanding organic farmer of the Philippines from Gawad Saka.
Costales was also named the most outstanding professional of the Philippines and the outstanding Philippines organic agriculturist.
Costales says he ventured into organic farming, after realizing that he was tired of being in the corporate world.  “I started the business as a hobby by planting chemical-free fruits, vegetables, organic poultry and livestock for family consumption in 2005.  We love to eat so we decided to produce our own food. These are safe and healthy food,” Costales says.
He says with an initial seed capital of P250,000 in 2005, the farm started on a very small area of 1,000 square meters. The farm now covers 6 hectares and has 120 employees.

“After learning the nitty-gritty part of organic agriculture by attending crash courses [from Agricultural Training Institute] and abroad [Saraburi, Thailand], we went commercial in 2009 by supplying organic  high-value vegetables and culinary herbs to hotels and restaurants in Metro Manila,” he says.
After a successful stint as a prime producer of certified organic food, Costales opened the farm to the public to become the first agri-tourism destination in the country, accredited by the Tourism Department.
Costales Nature Farms offers certified organic vegetables, culinary herbs, organic pork and chicken, processed meat (organic lucban longganisa) and organic feeds for livestock. As an accredited partner of Agricultural Training Institute, it also provides technical and business training on diversified organic agriculture and agri-tourism courses.
“Costales Nature Farms is a private extension service provider of ATI. As a technical resource speaker of Asian Productivity Organization or APO, we also conduct training on agri-tourism development to other Asean countries,” says Costales.
“As an accredited partner of DOT, we also offer different farm tourism packages to local and foreign tourists ranging from half-day lakbay aral tours to three days wellness tours,” he says.
Costales says the seeds used in the farm are being supplied by Allied Botanical, Eastwest, Ramgo and Harbest. “The organic feeds for livestock are being formulated and mixed in-house. Piglets are from own sows. Day-old chicks are from F1 Farmers Choice and we own production of fertilized eggs,” he says.
Costales says being an entrepreneur was not his first career option.  Despite the success in the agri-tourism business, Costales says there are a lot of challenges along the way.
“Technical skills are the initial challenges and were addressed by attending trainings and seminars. People management was likewise a challenge since managing blue-collar staff is quite different from managing white-collar employees,” he says.
“I used to manage remotely in the telco and IT industries but these were not applicable in agriculture.  Agriculture and agri-tourism are full-time hands-on job. I learned that the best fertilizer is the owner’s footprints in the farm,” he says.
Costales says his biggest accomplishments are making farming more appealing through agri-tourism and spurring economic development in the town of Majayjay, which became the model of progressive agriculture and tourism farming of the country.
Despite his busy schedule, Costales says he always makes sure he spends quality time with his family.  “On weekdays, I do farm works, conduct training, prepare proposals, plan the company direction, attend NOAB meetings, and meet with my staff. But on weekends, I enjoy precious time with my family,” Costales says.
He says his family serves as his inspiration to work harder.  “My wife, Josie, my son Redz, my daughter, Angel and her angel, Rion Isabel are the people who influence me the most. I am also inspired by people who are continuously inspired by following our footprints,” Costales says.
Costales says he hopes to expand the services offered by their farm to include facilities for accommodation and spa.  He also plans to extend the production of organic produce to cooperator farmers in the community and help small farmers gain access to both local and foreign markets.
“I hope that organically grown food will become the mainstream in the next five years.  Majority of food producers will shift to organic agriculture production.  I want the Philippines to become the major supplier of organic food exported abroad and for agri-tourism sites to become the preferred tourist destinations for both local and foreign visitors,” Costales says.
“In five years time, I also hope that Costales Nature Farms will continue to be the leader in the field of organic agriculture production and agri-tourism.  It will also expand its operation by opening up chains of organic fastfood storefronts that will be affordable,  making safe and healthy food available to everyone,” he says.
Costales says good management style and hard work hold the key to success. “Lead by example. Work as a team player. Work hard to reach your dreams. There is no substitute for hard work and always remember that kingdoms are won by armies, while empires are made by great alliances,” Costales says.
He advised those who have similar passion in the field of agriculture and tourism “to be our partners and join our venture programs to make farming more sexy again.”
“Help us in feeding the nation with safe and healthy food. Let us unite to fight poverty and hunger,” Costales says.

Written by: Anna Leah E. Gonzales


Friday, April 10, 2015

Women Partner with DTI in Nipa Vinegar Production

SAN FABIAN, Pangasinan – The Pangasinan Council of Women Incorporated (PCWI) renewed its partnership with the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) to produce the nipa vinegar ’ in tetra-packs.
Irene Libunao, PCWI founding chairman, said a memorandum of agreement was signed over a year ago between PCWI and DTI provincial office for the giving of equipment to the women’s group to enable them to produce nipa vinegar.
Libunao explained the equipment will be used to produce nipa vinegar, and pack and seal the produce in tetra-packs.
Nipa vinegar is an organic vinegar made from nipa palm that grows in rivers and estuaries and is abundant in the town.
She said PCWI members from barangay Songkoy are already making nipa vinegar but are selling their produce in bottles.
“We want to widen the market, so with DTI’s equipment we can make this in tetra packs which will be affordable”, she said.
PCWI continues with its goal to empower women in barangays through livelihood programs.
“We are currently producing bangus in corn oil and tomato paste with the equipment previously given by DTI under the Shared Service Facility program”, said Libunao.
PCWI has almost 7, 000 members in San Fabian town alone.
Writer: Philippine News Agency

Thursday, April 9, 2015

Army pushes organic farming for rebel returnees


The military in Negros Occidental are pushing for organic farming as livelihood for the rebels who returned to the fold of the law, stressed by Brig. Gen. Jon Aying, commander of the 303rd Infantry Brigade of the Philippine Army.

Aying said that it is part of the army’s rehabilitation program for the rebel returnees. He further said that they want “to capacitate former rebels by teaching them organic farming and other means of livelihood.”

Aying said that the said farms “will serve as learning and livelihood centers especially designed to cater to former rebels who want to return to the mainstream society.”

This is to ensure that they will have sustainable sources of income when they re-integrate to the community, he added.

“Plans are already being drawn for the establishment of satellite organic farms in various parts of the province, particularly in the first, fifth and sixth districts,” he added.

He said that “more and more groups coming from various sectors are joining our call to fight poverty and other ills of the society through peaceful means and not by bullets.”

“This is our contribution to the peace and development efforts of the government. This is our commitment to the people,” he said.

Tuesday, April 7, 2015

Organic agriculture to cushion effects of AFTA

( photo)

Negros Occidental Governor Alfredo Marañon Jr. said that organic agriculture will prepare the province on the effects of the ASEAN Free Trade Agreement (AFTA), which started early this year.

The governor said that "we have to prepare" in the looming crisis of the sugar industry, which lower tariff on imported sugar are implemented. 

We have to make sure that our agriculture can compete with the other ASEAN countries, he added. 
The governor said that "we have to meet the demand of organic agriculture because it has a huge demand. The potential is big."

For her part, May Ann Grajo, head of the Agri-business Division Department of Agriculture-Region 6,also challenged the farmers to produce more products to meet the demands in the market, as she cited that organic agriculture was the thrust of the provincial government.

Meanwhile, Regional Director Helen Catalbas of the Department of Tourism (DOT) challenged the Negrense farmers to "take advantage of the tourism boom" in organic farming.

She stressed that connectivity, infrastructures and tourist arrivals were the factors that placed Negros Occidental in the second spot in Western Visayas with most tourist attractions.


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