The Abra farmers and their leader at the Sarian Farm where they tasted the sweet fruits of Vietnam pomelo, rambutan and Longkong lanzones. From left: Arnel Molina, Luisito Dion, Conrado Sevilleja, Irene Bringas (co-op CEO), Luisa Bernardez, Carla Astudillo, Jose Sta. Maria and Daniel Pog-ok.
Seven farmers who are participating in the Integrated Farming Program of an award-winning multi-purpose cooperative in Abra participated in a ten-day tour of organic as well as conventional farms in Japan for 10 days.
The cooperative based in Bangued, Abra, is the Abra Diocese Teachers and Employees Multi-Purpose Cooperative (ADTEMPCO) headed by Irene Bringas, the chief executive officer. Ms. Bringas accompanied the farmers in Japan that included Arnel Molina, Luisito Dion, Conrado Sevilleja, Luisa Bernardez, Carla Astudillo, Jose Sta. Maria and Daniel Pog-ok.
Upon their return, they went direct to visit the Sarian Farm in Teresa, Rizal from the airport. Ms.. Bringas said they wanted to get some ideas on exotic fruit trees and other special crops that they can adopt in their integrated farming program. The Diocese had recently transferred the operation of an 18-hectare property which the cooperative can develop into a model showcase of improved farming practices.
The cooperative is now accredited by the Agricultural Training Institute of the Department of Agriculture as a learning site and is also now an agritourism destination.
One highlight of the co-op’s Integrated Farming Project is financing the crop production activities of 50 farmers who are members of the cooperative. They are advanced money to help them grow crops that they will sell through the cooperative. The advanced financial assistance will be charged from the sale of their harvests.
Ms. Bringas said that the cooperative has a store where the vegetables and other harvests of the participating farmers are sold. The farmers are now growing
pinakbet-tyoe veggies like eggplant, tomato, beans, okra, ampalaya and others. The produce can also be marketed in some other outlets in the province as well as outside.