Agriculture magazine, in cooperation with the Agricultural Training Institute, presented AgriTalk Cavite 2019, the last for the year.

Held in SM Dasmarinas in Cavite, the event attracted over 800 guests, all eager to learn about starting a business in the agriculture industry.

Dr. PJ de Castro discussed basic beekeeping. Dr. De Castro, a beekeeper and consultant for native honeybees, explained that honey is actually the least valuable product one can get from bees, and that beekeepers can make a lot of money if they concentrated on other products such as propolis and bee pollen, which have medicinal properties. He also discussed the benefits of cultivating local stingless bees called lukot, adding that recent research has shown that honey from local stingless bees have higher antimicrobial properties than Manuka honey, the most expensive honey in the world. 

Honorio Cervantes gave an introduction to square foot gardening. A former policeman who became a farmer after retirement, Cervantes relied on the principles of Mel Bartholomew’s book The Square Foot Garden as well as online resources to teach himself the basics of square foot gardening. His 200 sq.m. planting area where he grows kamote, pechay, kangkong, and ampalaya in the middle of Cagayan de Oro City is a source of inspiration for urban farmers. 

Marilyn Gonzales talked about mushroom production. Gonzales is an agriculturist with the Regional Soils Laboratory  of the Southern Tagalog Integrated Agricultural Research Center. 

Types of mushroom grown in the Philippines include straw mushrooms, banana mushrooms, milky mushrooms, white oyster mushroom—the most popular mushroom in the world, grey oyster, pink oyster, abalone mushroom, tenga ng daga, and reishi. Mushrooms that can only be grown in cooler climate such as Tagatay and Baguio include shiitake and button.

Emma Tolentino spoke about mushroom production. Emma left the corporate world to set up Eco Natura Integrated Farm in Victoria, Tarlac where she grows vegetables, rice, fruits, chicken, and of course, mushrooms. “Mushrooms are one of the most nutritious foods,” she says. It’s healthy a staple in plant-based diets, and can aid in weight loss.

She enumerated different products one can make from mushrooms to sell at a higher price, which includes bottled ready-to-eat mushroom, mushroom chips, mushroom vinegar, and vegeong—vegan bagoong made from mushrooms. 

The event was broadcast on Facebook Live via the ATI and Agriculture Online pages, and was retweeted at Agriculture magazine’s Twitter account, @agriculturemb. Next year, AgriTalk plans to cover more provinces to expose more people to the money making opportunities in agriculture.

Read a longer report on the event this Saturday in the Agriculture section of Manila Bulletin.