Yamang Bukid Farm to host reg’l agri execs summit

Published: February 22, 2020 02:22pm | PUERTO PRINCESA CITY


PUERTO PRINCESA CITY—-After drawing over a quarter of a million tourists last year, Yamang Bukid Farm is setting its sights on becoming a prime destination for agriculture learning, with its hosting of a gathering of dozens of agriculture executives in Mimaropa (Mindoro, Marinduque, Romblon, Palawan) region late this month.

(Photo by JM Zap)

Some 40 executives from Department of Agriculture are scheduled to hold a live-in summit at the 20-hectare farm tourism destination in Barangay Bacungan on Feb. 24-28, according to Elaine Durian, Yamang Bukid Farm executive assistant.

The four-day gathering will also include the participation of various stakeholders of the learning sites and practical agriculture institutions in the region, said Durian.

“We will give them the utmost hospitality the Yamang Bukid Farm way,” said Durian, adding the Farm will provide the venue, food, accommodations and some training facilities to summit participants.

(Photo by JM Zap)

A new convention hall made of mixed materials and can accommodate over 50 people is now being built near the farm’s entrance. The building is expected to have been completed and ready for use before the summit begins.

In pitching Yamang Bukid Farm as host for agriculture training and meetings, Durian said the farm has a vast area where sustainable agriculture and good farming practices are being done and which can give an excellent immersive experience for training participants.

(Photo by JM Zap)

“We have agriculturists and technicians who are well-trained by DA’s Agriculture Training Institute (DA-ATI) and farmers who can give hands-on lessons and experience,” she said.

Yamang Bukid Farm has consultants who can also give scientific inputs about agriculture and the Farm’s farming methods, Durian added.

(Photo by JM Zap)

As a bonus, participants will get a chance to taste Yamang Bukid Farm’s delectable food treats, with ingredients of dishes of freshly picked and harvested organically-grown vegetables, native chickens and healthy drinks and refreshments.

(Juan Lim)


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  • PUERTO PRINCESA CITY—Information technology ministers from Brunei, Indonesia, Malaysia and the Philippines-East Asia Growth Area (BIMP-EAGA) visited Palawan’s emerging agriculture tourism destination Yamang Bukid Farm on Thursday, immersing with local farmers and learning about sustainable agriculture and tourism.

    Undersecretary Mano Verabathran of Malaysia’s Ministry of Communication and Multi-media led the delegation of representatives from the four-country sub-regional bloc.

    The foreign guests were accompanied by their Filipino counterparts and representatives from the provincial and local governments in the hour-long tour around the six-hectare farm at Barangay Bacugan here

    Upon arriving, the visitors were greeted by a flash mob performance of flag-waving farmer-employees of the farm. Hope Alas, Yamang Bukid Farm’s tourism officer and several lady-farmers led the guests to a guided tour around the farm, visiting the picture-perfect sunflower garden, nursery of herbal and ornamental plants, the farm’s bee yard, clamping tents and other parts of the sprawling upland getaway before being treated by performances of Filipino folk dances from some young farm workers and a sumptuous lunch featuring authentic Filipino dishes. “It’s a very beautiful farm, and I like the way that you all have the farming going back to the people,” Verabathran said.

    The Malaysian official also praised the farm’s unique business model of giving importance to the welfare of its workers as “it’s not too profit-oriented and it’s more of people going independent of the farming”, even as he cited it as a good farming model for the sub-regional bloc.

    “I’m sure that different models are applied in Malaysia but this seems to be more soft, soft model. Everybody is happy. You’ll realize everybody is happy here. We came here and there is dancing,” said Verabathran, who gamely obliged when prodded by his host to a round of Filipino courtship jig “tinkling,” much to the delight of everyone.

    “So maybe we can inject happiness into the other models, within BIMP-EAGA,” he added. Souvenir bags made of indigenous materials and adorned with designs painted by the farm’s in-house artists Julio Opiala and Jjoy Umambong were given to the guests, who in turn, bought Yamang Bukid Healthy Products such as turmeric 10-in-1 tea and local delicacies like the famed suman sa bulo or sumbulo, a rice cake of varied flavors cooked in bamboo.

    The foreigners were in Puerto Princesa for a four-day information communication and technology (ICT) cluster meeting among top Cabinet officials from the BIMP-EAGA member-states. Malaysia, headed by Verabathran, is the current cluster chair. Kuala Lumpur will head the bloc until 2021 and Manila will follow the next three years after that.
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Yamang Bukid Farm's pro-biodiversity business model lauded at int'l confab

  • PUERTO PRINCESA CITY—Local and international panelists commended Yamang Bukid Farm for its efforts to help preserve biodiversity and provide former destroyers of the environment an alternative livelihood in its sprawling farm tourism development in Puerto Princesa City.

    The commendation came following Thursday’s presentation by Yamang Bukid Farm’s Bro. George Maria of the farm’s unique business model during the second day of the International Conference on the Biosphere and Sustainability at a posh hotel here. Maria, a seminarian now on his immersion, said the farm has evolved into a haven for biodiversity and as a tourism draw from being just a simple getaway for officials of wellness products maker Yamang Bukid Healthy Products Inc.

    "Yamang Bukid was created because of a demand—a demand coming from our hearts to do business with a heart by living a life for others,” Maria told the panelists and dozens of local and foreign scientists, academicians and business leaders. “From a simple dream, something very beautiful happened. We believed our biggest contribution to biodiversity is by taking care of the most important component or the prime mover in biodiversity which is the people,” he added.
    He said the “best thing I can share today for biodiversity is the stories of our farmers,” whom he called “the most beautiful people I have ever met.” Maria said that business model of “doing business with a heart” helped the farm effect behavioural change towards environment conservation in a community that used to rely on illegal logging and other destructive forest activities for livelihood.

    “The former illegal loggers are now very proud to say they have become farmers. They stopped cutting trees and are now planting food food for our tables. They led environmental protection campaigns,” he said.

    Maria also highlighted the farm’s efforts of protecting and conserving endemic and exotic flora and fauna that have thrived within the 42-hectare farm tourism estate by tapping experts from various universities as consultants and training technical people for biodiversity conservation. He hoped the Yamang Bukid Farm experience would help policymakers in crafting measures on agriculture, food security and biodiversity. “If a small company like Yamang Bukid can do little change for the environment, what more can we accomplish if we all work together? This is mostly the realisation of tourists visiting the farm, ‘If a former illegal logger is now taking care of biodiversity, how about me?’, he said.
    Also presenting during the conference was Dr. Rodolfo “Jun” Abalus Jr., a forest scientist and professor of Palawan State University.

    Abalus, who is also a Yamang Bukid Farm forestry consultant, talked about the carbon trapping of trees within the forest cover of Mt. Makiling in Southern Luzon.
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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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