It’s difficult to unlearn traditional farming methods, especially since they have been practiced by many farmers for so long.
However, it’s never too late to switch or start with a better system like natural farming that will benefit both the environment and the health of the growers and consumers in the long run.
Several youths in the local agriculture sector are setting an example by producing food without using toxic chemicals. Here are some of them:
Benzone Kennedy F. Sepe
Despite today’s numerous job options, there are still young individuals who are interested in agriculture.
One such person is Benzone Kennedy F. Sepe, 30, who decided to try something unusual in the Philippines: apple cultivation.
Sepe is an agriculture student, a certified apple grower, and a YouTube vlogger with more than 20,000 subscribers.
His orchard, Kapatagan Apple Orchard, Rare Fruit Farm, and Nursery, is also said to be the first ATI-certified Learning Site for Agriculture (LSA) for apple production in the country.
Behind his success in growing apples are challenges that have something to do with pests. To manage this problem, Sepe uses Integrated Pest Management (IPM) to control pests naturally, which minimizes risks to both humans and the environment.
It took more than five years before Sepe was able to reap his first apple harvest. This shows how apple cultivation is a tedious process that requires accurate care and careful attention to prevent wasting time and effort, especially since it doesn’t usually grow in this country.
The years of waiting will be worthwhile if the right processes are followed and resources are properly utilized.
Coming from a farming family, Gwenneth Brillo from Callao, Alicia, Isabela chose to embrace her roots and farm full time.
At 24, this farmer built her own natural farm, Brillo Integrated Farm, which she effectively runs, allowing her to expand its operations and employ over 10 young farmers.
Brillo Integrated Farm is a two-hectare productive farm that contains elements like rice, mushrooms, fish, vegetables, poultry, and more. It also serves as a farm school with facilities conducive to learning.
One of her secrets? Brillo makes sure to grow her farm as natural and diversified as possible. For instance, she cultivates beneficial plants instead of using synthetic pesticides and fertilizers.
This way, she protects and does not deplete natural resources, ensuring that she and the future generations can continue to benefit from them.
Like the farmers previously mentioned, the brothers behind Serrano Agri-Ventures Farm, have gravitated toward natural farming.
They are among those who understand the value of food security. With their lives being disrupted by the pandemic, the siblings decided to make their idle family farms productive to supply their community with fresh and safe produce.
Serrano Agri-Ventures Farm operates in two locations: Morong, Bataan, and Capalonga, Camarines Norte.
“Since our farm operation is not that big, operational cost is a big consideration. That is why we aim to grow and maintain our crops as natural as possible,” said Jet Serrano, the managing partner of the farm.
Animal dung, fermented fruit or plant juices, and compost are some of the natural soil conditioners and fertilizers that the brothers use to reduce their reliance on commercial fertilizers.
To cut costs, they raise free-range chickens that provide them with chicken meat and thus nutrients their body needs, as well as chicken dung, which feeds the soil.
They nourish the chickens with vegetables they naturally grow. As a replacement for synthetic vitamins and chic boosters, they also use oriental herb nutrient (OHN) and fermented plant or fruit juices.
By employing natural practices, these young folks make the world a safer and healthier place to live. They have the power to leverage their skills to develop new methods and technologies for the betterment of farming systems.
Hopefully, their efforts convince other farmers to adopt more non-polluting and environmentally-friendly farming methods.