Palawan farmworkers to run for fellow farmers

Published: September 11, 2019 11:22am | PHILIPPINES


A farm tourism destination in Puerto Princesa City, Palawan is organizing a run-for a-cause In an effort to help farmers suffering over plummeting palay prices, with proceeds to be used for buying palay above farm gate price and giving the rice back to them.

The sorry state of rice farmers in the Philippines brought about by plummeting farm gate prices of palay is the centerpiece of a run for a cause to be organized by Yamang Bukid Farm-Palawan on Sept. 28. Proceeds of the event will be used to buy palay from farmers in Narra town, Palawan well above the prevailing prices and redistribute the milled rice back to them.



Dubbed “Takbo para sa mga Magsasaka (Run for the Farmers)”, the five-kilometer run also aims to raise funds to help a non-government organization and a farmer’s group in Palawan, said Hope Alas, tourism officer of Yamang Bukid Farm. “This is for the farmers all over the Philippines. We have been running for other causes but we haven’t had one for our farmers who have toiled so much so we can put food on our tables,” Alas said.

The event coincides with Yamang Bukid Farm’s 5th Agros Farmers’ Festival which will be held at Barangay Bacungan on Sept. 28.
Proceeds of the run will go to the Palawan Center for Appropriate Rural Technology (PCART) and a farmers’ association in the southern town of Narra, Palawan’s rice granary where palay farm gate prices have plunged to as low as P7/kilo, Alas said. Alas said the farm destination, which has been supportive of advocacies for sustainable agriculture, will make the fun run an annual event.

The 42-hectare tourism destination in Barangay Bacungan has been known for employing former illegal loggers as farm workers, teaching them sustainable agriculture and environmental protection and conservation.
The run will start from Bacungan proper, traversing an uphill paved road that ends at the Yamang Bukid Farm welcome marker in Purok (Community) Candes III.
Each ticket costs P350, inclusive of singlet and race bib.
Alas said the race which seeks to enlist at least 1,000 runners will not be exclusive only to Bacungan and Puerto Princesa City residents.
“Other well-meaning individuals who love to help our farmers are also encouraged to buy tickets and we will find someone else to run in their behalf. They can send their registration fees to us through wire or money transfer or other means,” said Alas. The city council, where Alas sought an audience to bring home the advocacy campaign has vowed support for the initiative.

During a break in the council’s session Tuesday, Yamang Bukid Farm’s tourism manager teared up as she appealed help for the farmers.
Upon hearing Alas’s impassioned talk, several spectators watching inside the legislative hall also turned emotional, with a woman weeping openly and asking the farm’s executive assistant Mauin Bumanlag how she can buy tickets.
City councilor Jimmy Carbonell bought some P10,000 worth of tickets.
Alas hoped the event will snowball into “something big” and further raise awareness into the sorry state of Philippine farmers.
She said the event will also be participated by Yamang Bukid farmer-employees, with “farmers helping their fellow farmers.”
“We started out as a place to help former tree poachers become farmers and environment protectors. We want to do something more than that,” she said. For registration and ticket inquiries, interested runners and partners may call mobile phone numbers 0907-237-7258 or 0967-544-3928 or email [email protected]
Registration fees may also be deposited in these accounts:

BPI Account:
Mauin D. Bumanlag
8879-0345-67

BDO Account:
MAUIN DIAZ BUMANLAG
011950052085
(JL)


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UP expert urges farmers: Keep forests in farms

  • PUERTO PRINCESA CITY——A University of the Philippines-educated crop scientist has urged farmers engaged in natural and organic farming to plant trees and take care of the forests in and around their landholdings to ensure the sustainability of their areas. Dr. Elderico Tabal said farmers should understand the need to balance their farming needs with nature in order to help stabilize the soil and benefit their crops.

    The thick forest cover on the fringes of the 20-hectare Yamang Bukid Farm at Bacungan, Puerto Princesa City, Palawan is an excellent buffer zone and breathing space for crops grown within Palawan's emerging farm tourism destination|JM Zap

    “Agriculture without a forest is a dead agriculture. The only way to be resilient is to put a forest within your land,” Tabal, an agronomist, told farmers and officials from the local government units of Mindoro, Marinduque, Romblon and Palawan provinces as well as representatives from the Department of Agriculture (DA) during the 7th Regional Organic Agriculture Conference (ROAC) at the A&A Plaza Hotel here, Sept 25.

    Dr. Elderico Tabal, a UPLB-educated agronomist stresses the importance of forest cover in agriculture during the 7th Mimaropa Organic Agriculture Congress at Puerto Princesa City, Palawan, Sept. 25.|Jennifer Milante

    Tabal, who is a faculty member at state-run Western Mindanao State University (WEMSU) and consultant of tourism destination Yamang Bukid Farm, said putting or keeping forests within their landholdings can help farmers or farm owners maintain biodiversity and maintain sufficient water supply to the Farm.

    Tabal, said Yamang Bukid Farm, which has over 20 hectares of landholdings in Barangay Bacungan here, follows the natural and biological ways of agriculture. Composed of six sub-farms, two of it are open for the public as Yamang Bukid Farm’s agri-tourism site, while four others are off-limits and planted with high-value commercial crops and herbs (HVCCH).

    “At Yamang Bukid, we follow the natural and biological farming system. We try to understand the way of Mother Nature in agriculture,” said Tabal. While the Farm is not certified as organic by the third-party Organic Certification Center of the Philippines (OCCP), Doctor Tabal said the Farm follows both the natural and organic way of farming to enhance production output.

    For instance, the Farm uses natural way of controlling pest infestations on its crops and plants by utilizing bees and other natural pest predators. The Farm also practices contour plowing and intercropping as it is located in an area of mostly rolling hills and few flat lands.

    Tabal urged farmers and farm owners to support planting of diversified crops to help attract and support population of natural predators and stop relying on commercial and harmful pesticides.

    “We also do minimal to zero tillage cultivation in order not to disrupt the soil structure and prevent erosion.

    Tabal said farmers, particularly those still starting up, should understand that organic farming is not an easy way of agriculture in its initial stages. “It’s a system that needs to be developed. It takes years to rebuild our lands to their original intended state. It takes years to rebuild your land. Be patient,” the forest scientist said. “It’s not just planting but growing the right crops in the right soil.” During the event which was participated in by over 300 farmers, farm owners and agriculturists, the UP-educated Tabal also discussed Yamang Bukid Farm’s various best practices that include, among others, propagating and raising native chickens and livestock, the introduction of herbs and other plants as pest control as well as the propagation of different animal species like over two dozen of colonies of stingless bees and the use of natural plant-based concoctions as fertilizers and pesticides.

    Tabal also announced the various expansion efforts at the Farm’s tourism destination component, saying the farm has become among the must-see destinations in Puerto Princesa and the whole of Palawan.

    It has nearly 300 employees, over 90 percent of whom are former illegal loggers.
    (JL)
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      Do you want to be our partner in doing business with a heart? Contact us on (+63) 956 371 5057 or (02) 688 9416. You may also visit our website (www.yamangbukid.com), or send us a message on our social media sites. Our account executives will be more than happy to give additional technical and logistical assistance to you.

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