After farm destination buys palay in high prices, grateful Palawan farmers give away free rice

Published: November 28, 2019 01:25pm | PUERTO PRINCESA CITY


PUERTO PRINCESA CITY—Paying it forward.

Farmers in a rice-producing village in Narra, Palawan have expressed gratitude to a farm tourism destination here for fulfilling their vow to buy palay from them at higher gate price by giving away rice to neighbors.

Photo by JM ZAP

At least 21 farmers from the village of Burirao benefitted the palay buyout scheme by Yamang Bukid Farm which highlighted its campaign to help impoverished farmers in Palawan, which palay bought at double the current buying prices, according to Bro. George Maria, Yamang Bukid Farm Palawan (YBFP) vice president for community relations.

Photo by JM ZAP

“We were able to gather some 21 farmers and each of them brought with them five sacks of palay,” said Brother Maria, adding they coordinated with the local government of Narra and the Department of Agriculture in identifying small-time farmers who may want to sell their harvest.

The buyout scheme, Maria said, was the culmination of the farm attraction’s advocacy to help palay farmers adversely affected following the steep lowering of palay prices since late this year. Last month, YBFP kickstarted its campaign by launching a fun run with the aim of generating awareness and support towards the plight of palay farmers across the country.

That campaign dubbed “Run for the Farmers” generated massive support and a significant amount of money which was used for the palay-buying project.

In buying the palay, Maria said they ensured those who can benefit were really poor, lowly farmers.

“We challenged them to work hard and not view our initiative as a sort of dole-out,” said Maria.

In a simple ceremony, YBFP’s chief farmer, Totong Arceo, gave the farmer-traders inputs on organic farming “which they received overwhelmingly,” according to Maria.

“They even requested if we could come back in another time and share them more knowledge on natural way of growing crops, which we promised to do,”said the YBFP executive.

The Farm bought a total of 105 sacks of palay at P20/kilo, double the current buying price, with the milled rice given back to the farmers.

A mill owner in Narra, Norile Enriquez, agreed to give a 50-centavo/kilo discount to the farmers to have their palay husked and milled, which “helped significantly the farmers,” said Hope Alas, YBFP vice president for tourism affairs.

Upon learning of Yamang Bukid Farm’s generous offer, the farmers were ecstatic that one of them, Felix Gonzales, even gave away portions of the milled rice to his non-farming neighbors, shocking even the Yamang Bukid personnel.

“Mang Felix asked us to accompany him to his house where he repacked his milled rice and give these away to his neighbors, particularly those who do not own a farm,” recounted Maria.

Other farmers also expressed intention to share their harvest to their community, in an apparent case of “paying it forward,” said Maria.

“We are thankful to all who supported us when we started this endeavor months ago, particularly to the hundreds of individuals who ran with us and believed in our advocacy of helping raise awareness about the sorry state of Filipino farmers,” said the YBFP executive. “We are grateful that by doing business with a heart by living a life for others, we are now able to not just bring a message but enlist people who are willing to do the same mission as we’re in now, even if they come from diverse backgrounds,” Maria said.

“Our farmers now are inspired that they have us who are their allies in their effort to improve their lives through agriculture,” added Maria, a former seminarian.

(Juan Lim)

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Yamang Bukid Farm invited to host 100 local, EU cyclists in Palawan bike for nature

  • PUERTO PRINCESA CITY—Yamang Bukid Farm, Palawan’s emerging farm tourism destination, is invited to host at least 100 local and foreign bikers for a cycling event here late this month.
    The event, which will be held in partnership with Palawan Tourism Council, the European Union and a big shopping mall chain, is in line with the city’s hosting of the 22nd Cine Europa—the longest and most comprehensive film festival in the Philippines, according to PTC president Deborah Tan.

    Bikers negotiate a climb along a steep route during a biking for the ocean event organized by Yamang Bukid Farm in Bacungan, Puerto Princesa City last June. The emerging farm tourism destination in Palawan's tourism city is once again hosting a cycling event for the environment late this month, with over 100 participants who included dignitaries from the European Union.

    “We would like to explore the opportunities of partnering with you in the hosting of Padyak Para sa Kalikasan (Bike for Nature) 4.0 on Oct. 26,” Tan said in a letter to YBFP officials.
    With the partnership, Tan said the bike for a cause will start at SM City Puerto Princesa and end at Yamang Bukid Farm—a distance of some 28.9 kilometers traversing Puerto Princesa North Road.

    After the biking event, participants will join in sunflower/tree planting with farmer-employees and will be treated to a lunch of local dishes made from naturally-grown ingredients. The bikers are also expected to have a tour around the farm.

    In exchange, Tan said audio-visual presentation about the Farm will be shown in each interval of Cine Europa films to be screened at SM City Puerto Princesa, among others. “Through these, we can build new networks and strengthen our friendship with the EU delegates, help promote our local products, and most especially promote our sustainable farm tourism in Palawan,” said Tan.

    The film festival, according to Tan, aims “to showcase the customs, traditions and rich cinematography of EU member-states” and will be opened to the public for free. The event, she said, “is expected to boost (Palawan’s) sustainable tourism, local products, Palaweno skills and hospitality, investment promotions, and rich biodiversity, as well as its environmental protection and conservation initiatives.”

    “We consider this event as an opportunity to continuously foster cultural ties with EU member-state representatives as well as to display our readiness to host prestigious events such as this, and to express our interest to partner in the future,” added Tan.
    She said the Cine Europa film extravaganza runs from Oct. 23-24, but may be extended up to the 27th.

    (JL)
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Veteran physician endorses Yamang Bukid’s way of “natural health and wellness”

  • A Quezon City-based physician has hailed the natural and organic products of Yamang Bukid Healthy Products Inc. (YBHPI) as ideal food supplements even as he urged people to go natural in food and wellness products.

    A tourist shows off her bundle of sumbulo (suman sa buho), a glutinous rice cake cooked in bamboo and is a popular delicacy at the Yamang Bukid Farm in Puerto Princesa City, Palawan. The emerging farm tourism destination has been praised for its organic products and nature-friendly farming activities.
    (Photo by Emee Lapurga)

    In an interview by Puerto Princesa City broadcaster and city councilor Elgin Damasco, Dr. Mario Adraneda noted YBHPI stores are sprouting up in Quezon City and in other areas in the capital, which he said is a good indication that natural and organically-made food supplements are readily available.

    He said Yamang Bukid’s turmeric-based products, particularly the Turmeric 10-in-1 tea is a good supplement for those suffering rheumatism as it is a known vasodilator, or that which helps veins and arteries become wider thus helping blood and nutrients flow smoothly.

    Sales personnel at a Yamang Bukid Healthy Products Inc. outlet inside a shopping mall in Quezon City, with the food supplement maker's array of health and wellness products (YB photo)

    “Yamang Bukid (turmeric 10-in-1 tea) is a combination of turmeric and lemongrass which have been proven good for our body,” said Adraneda, a 43-year veteran gastroenterologist who currently practices at Delos Santos Medical Center. He admits being a user of the health and wellness tea.

    Aside from turmeric and lemongrass, Yamang Bukid’s turmeric 10-in-1 tea has also eight other herbs as ingredients that are recognized by experts for their medicinal properties. These include pandan, sambong, lagundi, banaba, ginger, malunggay, peppermint and Gynura procumbens.

    Adraneda noted people’s unhealthy diet and sedentary lifestyle has caused prevalence of disease that afflicted even to the young. “During our time, most people usually got sick at age 65 or above. But nowadays, we can hear of children and teenagers getting hypertension, cancers or heart diseases,” Adraneda told Damasco.

    He urged people to go natural and maintain healthy non-sedentary lifestyle. “Exercise regularly, eat healthy food that are free from preservatives and take food supplements that help enhance healthy bodily functions like Yamang Bukid products,” the gastro-intestinal specialist said.

    “Let’s try nature’s way of wellness. Let’s support alternative food supplements like Yamang Bukid’s,” Adraneda said.
    During his visit at the Yamang Bukid Farm in Puerto Princesa’s Barangay Bacungan, Adraneda praised the delicious and organically-prepared food, such as native chicken, that according to him did not contain any genetically-modified organisms (GMOs). Present in preservatives and in livestock and poultry that are artificially manipulated in the laboratory, GMOs are known harmful to the body and can cause various diseases. “Let’s advocate going organic,” he said. (JL)
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YB partners with DA for
'farm entrepreneurship'

  • Yamang Bukid Farm (YBF) has partnered with the Department of Agriculture (FA) to elevate farming and agro-tourism in the country by teaching farmers a better, science-based, alternative approach and perspective in growing crops, and by encouraging the younger generation to get more involved in agriculture.

    Agriculturist Flor Ilao of the DA's Agricultural Training Institute (ATI) said the agency decided to award YB with an accreditation because of the company's desire to help the government turn farmers from regular crop growers to "farmer entrepreneurs."

    DA's senior agriculturist Norberto C. Maur said the ATI and YB aim to introduce programs about new modalities in agricultural extension in which regular farmers are molded to become farm entrepreneurs and businessmen promoting not only farming but also farm tourism.

    Through the YB's Training Center, farmers are also trained to shift from monoculture to diversified or integrated farming.

    Hezir Rabaya, YB farm production manager, expressed delight over the accreditation that Yamang Bukid received from the ATI, saying it would allow them to train farmers throughout Palawan, and not only in the provincial capital's Barangay Bacungan where the 1.2-hectare farm is located.

    Farmer-trainees get to be under the tutelage of YB Training Center's trainers and consultants who are experts in the fields of forestry, agronomy, and veterinary medicine, among others.

    With a desire to spread alternative and more efficient farming techniques, YB, which started its farm with only 20 farm workers, is now home to more than 200 farmers and agriculturists. Talking about the new partnership, farmer Sonny Tesado said: "Gusto kong matuto ng ibang paraan ng pagtatanim."

    However, there is a handful of farming families who do not share Tesado's enthusiasm in this fresh farming approach and DA's Maur said this is one of the challenges that YB's Training Center is hoping to address.

    "It's heart-breaking to know that our farmers are starting to age. Their children who have witnessed how hard it was to farm during their time no longer want to go into farming because they have realized there is no money in farming.">

    The YB Training Center aims to break that notion and lure people back into farming.

    YB agriculturist Fernan Hubo said Yamang Bukid aims to instil among their farm workers a "sense of joy" in their work, and emphasize to the next generation — who have otherwise grown skeptic about farming — that plenty of opportunities in agriculture abound.



    "There is money, plenty of money in farming... There is dignity and money," Hubo said.

    "Since we now have an accredited learning site, we will be able to encourage more people to take agriculture and become farmers that follow scientific practices," he added. — YB
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