By Frank E. Dosdos, Jr.,
LUINAB, Iligan City – The Regional Agricultural Training Institute (ATI) of Region 10, based at El Salvador City in Misamis Oriental launched last Friday, June 23, a Farmers’ Field School (FFS) for Vegetable Production at Balay sa Hardin, here, one of its accredited Learning Sites in the region.
Teodosia D. Jaraba, ATI Training Specialist III, explained to the participants that the establishment of Learning Sites throughout the region is the Institute’s approach in bringing agricultural knowledge and skills closer to the farmers as it does not need for them to leave their farms and spend money in travelling to the Regional Training Center.
Training will be conducted by the owners of the Learning Sites as they can show to the participants the actual application of learning, she said.
It was learned that Balay sa Hardin is owned and established by the couple Arthur and Gloria Fernando, both graduates of the Mindanao State University College of Agriculture who chose to practice their professions in their farm.
Fernando told this writer that his farm, now almost fully integrated, is less than a hectare yet it is raking in P70 thousand monthly in gross sales.
He has been awarded an NC II as Trainor in Agricultural Production by ATI, he told this writer.
He had also received several awards and citations from various government agencies, as shown in the Certificates and Plaques displayed in one of the cottages in the farm.
Twenty-seven farmers have appeared during the launching though Jaraba encouraged more to come when the training formally begins.
She said that younger individuals are encouraged as most farmers are getting older.
In Balay sa Hardin various plants, herbs and vegetables are grown, it was observed.
Animals such as Swine, Rabbit, range chickens, ducks, guess, goats are grown in the farm.
Fernando said that the manures from these animals are being used in a vermi-composting shed that generates the organic fertilizers used to nourish the plants in the farm.
He confidently said that all the animal feeds are home-made and purely organic.
A small fishpond is also growing tilapia and koi.
According to Jaraba and Fernando, the trainees shall be attending sessions only one day and work the rest of the days of the weeks during the whole season in their respective farms applying the knowledge and skills that they acquire from the Learning Sites.
Jaraba encouraged farmers to develop their own farms and be accredited as Learning Sites so that their neighbors could also train in a place close to their homes.