|DR. FRANK DE LA PENA JR.|
The ongoing trend is production of healthy foods, which means naturally-farmed food products that are not sprayed with chemical pesticides or meat products that are not laced with antibiotics.
The problem is that there are no well-established institutions where interested individuals can learn the fine points of organic farming. Most of the seminars or short courses are conducted by individuals who have some experience in organic agriculture. The curriculum is not included in formal institutions of learning such as the college of agriculture and universities.
Of course, the pioneering individuals are doing good service to the movement. But if the training is well organized, it could be more effective in promoting the organic movement. A healthier partnership of the private sector with the government could materialize.
Probably that was what was in the mind of Dr. Francisco de la Pena Jr. when he decided to put up about a couple of years ago his Natural Farming Institute in Panabo City. After all, he is the founder of two colleges in Davao del Norte, one Tagum and the other in Panabo.
So far, he has established showcases of naturally-farmed pigs, chickens, goat, vegetables, bananas, papaya and even bangus. He has formulated an organic fish feed (he is a fisheries expert with a PhD degree), and has vermiculture bins for the production of organic fertilizer. The institute has also a fermentation house where fermented juices of fruits and plant materials are processed for application in organic farming.
The first batch of trainees came fromDavao City consisting of mostly barangay officials. The strategy is to train the higher ups in the community so they can influence their constituents to adopt organic farming techniques more effectively.
Trainees at the Natural Farming Institute also come from other provinces. For instance, the officials and council members of Maribojoc, Bohol, including Mayor Leoncio Evasco, have undergone training in Panabo.
Agri Tip No3.: Find the nearest support group you can find. By joining Agri Tours, you can eventually meet like minded people like you. Eventually you can also network and eventually learn from each other.