On its first day, ATI’s media farm tour went to Luntiang Republika Eco Farms in Alfonso, Cavite. Established in 2011, Luntiang Republika is a 2.3 hectare farm designed as an integrated and diversified organic farming system.
“We integrate a lot of crops here including livestock. Our aim is to create a loop so that there is no waste in the system,” said Eduardo Cleofe, president and CEO of Luntiang Republika Eco Farms.
Cleofe used to work in the energy sector. After his retirement in 2015, Cleofe decided to become a full-time farmer and entrepreneur at Luntiang Republika.
Presently, the farm is equipped with a variety of activities which include agritourism, value-adding, production and product development, and training.
The plants and vegetables found inside the farm are all labeled and grown without chemical fertilizers and pesticides. Even the livestock are grown following organic principles such as feeding them only natural ingredients without the use of chemical supplements.
Cleofe said that it their advocacy to provide customers with a natural alternative from the conventional food.
“We want people to have a safer source of food because we believe that the chemicals we are using in producing our food is harmful to our health,” Cleofe said.
Another feature of the farm is that they go into value-added farming.
“Value-adding is when you have a simple product and turn it into something more valuable like re-processing it. In a way, you create more value other than the mere product,” Cleofe said.
Cleofe also said that value-adding has become one of the farm’s advocacies because they observed that farmers either discard excess harvest or are left confused about what to do with them.
To solve this problem, Luntiang Republika teaches farmers that there can be more value to the basic product by turning it into something more than what it is.
For example, several months ago, Cleofe said that the farm had too much tomatoes to sell so they processed it into bottle sof tomato sauce, labeled as “pomodoro,” which they managed to sell a lot of.
More than just being an organic farm, Luntiang Republika is also an ATI accredited Learning Site for Agriculture (LSA).
“We were certified as a learning site sometime in 2017. So part of our responsibility is to train farmers or to push the advocacy of the Department of Agriculture. We take the farmers in and teach them something about agriculture,” Cleofe said.
Cleofe added that they have already trained about 500 farmers on their premises.
Aside from the organic food production, value-adding, and agricultural training, Luntiang Republika is an ideal venue for team building activities and family gatherings because Cleofe encourages the visitors to put down their gadgets for the time being and enjoy the outdoors.
Visitors can see all the farms amenities such as cozy guest rooms, a multi-purpose hall for meetings and seminars, as well as a hiking trail that leads to the Catmon River just a few meters from the farm.