We have known him through the newspapers. We have also exchanged several texts more recently. And then last February 12, we met him in person at the Field Day of Allied Botanical Corporation in Tayug, Pangasinan.
He is Fr. Eddie T. Panlilio, more popularly called Among Ed, the priest who had to shed off his priestly robe to run for governor in Pampanga, and won. He has now given up politics and is into honest-to-goodness organic farming in Brgy. Cabalantian, Bacolor, Pampanga.
Among Ed brought to the Field Day his farm manager and the lady agriculturist of the Department of Agriculture who is the focal person in organic farming in Pampanga. Among Ed calls himself the Head Steward of Eden Farm which is into production of organic crops and livestock.
The other members of the staff of the farm are Eman Alfonso, farm manager; Joey R. Rivera, agronomist; Eisen C. Parungao, reforestation officer and Joseph and Len Guevarra, Eden couple steward.
Among Ed is really upbeat in organic agriculture, especially so because a big trader has substantial volumes of 11 organically produced vegetables and herbs.
He said that their buyer is a well known distributor of farm products to big supermarkets and other outlets in Metro Manila and elsewhere. Did you know that the trader needs 100 kilos of hot pepper per day at a price of P180 per kilo? That’s P18,000 a day, if he could deliver.
Even pepper leaves (for tinola) is a possible money-maker for the farm. The buyer requires 120 kilos of leaves daily at P120 per kilo. That’s worth P12,000 a day!
Pakchoi, a member of the pechay family, is in big demand. The buyer, according to farm manager Eman Alfonso, needs 300 to 500 kilos a day at P60 per kilo. Also, the ordinary pechay (Black Behi) is needed at 300 kilos a day.
Other items are onion leeks at 80 kilos a day at P80 per kilo; Coriander or wansoy at 100 kilos a day; kangkong at 700 kilos; celery at 50 kilos; kinchay, 50 kilos; Thai basil at 60 kilos per day at P100 per kilo; and a small amount of rosemary.
The program now for Among Ed is to intensify production. Among Ed is forming a production cluster of farmers within the community so they can rationalize production according to the requirements of their big buyer.
Eman Alfonso said they are into organic pig and chicken production. They now have 120 head of swine. Their chicken is a cross of the Darag from the Visayas and a purebred Costa Rican fowl. The chickens come in black and gray. They weigh 1.6 to 2 kilos at maturity.