Farm destination partners with Palawan palay-producing town to help IP farmers

Published: November 3, 2019 08:25pm | PUERTO PRINCESA CITY


PUERTO PRINCESA CITY—A fast-emerging farm tourism destination here has partnered with the local government of Narra, Palawan to buy palay from farmers affected by plummeting prices of the staple grain.

Palay stalks hang heavy with ripe grains on a farmland in Narra town, Palawan (Photo by Dianne Kathryn Datu)

Bro. George Maria, Yamang Bukid Farm Palawan vice president for community affairs, said the farm would buy at least P100,000 worth of ready to mill palay at P25 per kilo, way above the prevailing buying price of the state-run National Food Authority of P19.

Maria and other officials of Barangay Bacungan-based farm met with officials of Narra municipality and expressed their intention to procure palay from impoverished farmers there.

Dried palay grains along a roadside dryer in Narra town, Palawan.
(Photo by Dianne Kathryn Datu)

“This is a great opportunity for the farmers of Narra because you will buy the palay at a higher price and give back a portion of the rice to them,” Vice Mayor Crispin Lumba Jr. told Bro. Maria at the official’s office last Oct. 29.

Hope Alas, YBF vice president for tourism affairs, said the amount to be used was net proceeds of last month’s run for the farmers staged by the farm tourism destination.

“This is our commitment to the farmers and to those who joined and believed in our cause,” said Maria, a former seminarian.

Eugene Sumaydeng, municipal agriculturist, recommended YBF to consider buying from indigenous peoples (IP) communities who are cultivating organic upland palay.

“Your help will be hugely felt in these far-flung areas,” Sumaydeng said.

As part of their commitment, Lumba said the local government will shoulder the drying and milling of the palay and assist in the transportation of the grains from the upland down to the town proper.

Maria, the YBF official, said they expected to help dozens of impoverished IP farmers.

“What we’re doing is really small, but we hope this could snowball into something big and spur other businesses, well-off individuals and organizations to do the same so we can help alleviate the sorry situation of our farmers,” Maria said.

Lumba, the vice mayor, said his town has planned to push for a similar initiative and the partnership with Yamang Bukid Farm was a start.

“You know about government bureaucracy, we have to abide by it especially if involves people’s money, so your project is a timely and welcome development,” he said.

Farm officials said they would give back to the farmer’s half of the milled rice and keep the other half for redistribution during its Christmas outreach missions next month, and use the collected rice bran or darak, as swine feed.

(Juan Lim)

See Next Post


Yamang Bukid Farm rules in Subaraw Float parade

  • PUERTO PRINCESA CITY—-After nearly making it last year, Yamang Bukid Farm finally bagged the grand prize in the floral float parade of this year’s Subaraw Biodiversity Festival. The entry of the farm tourism destination in Barangay Bacungan was adjudged winner of the Grand Float parade that highlighted the anniversary honoring Puerto Princesa Underground River as a world heritage site for biodiversity.

    Designed by the Farm’s architects and artists using indigenous materials, the colorful and jaw-dropping eight-meter float virtually represented Palawan as a haven of biodiversity, according to Bro. George Maria, YBFP vice president for community relations. .

    “Yamang Bukid is proud of Palawan’s biodiversity. Our float embodies our call to all to help protect and preserve Mother Nature and its rich biodiversity,” Brother Maria said.

    Sitting on a Isuzu light truck, the four-by-eleven-meter float is adorned with replicas of Palawan’s natural landmarks as well as endemic and threatened species of plants and animals.

    “Our inspiration in making the float is the richness of Palawan,” said Benjie Monasque, YBFP resident architect who conceptualized and designed the contraption.

    Forming as centrepiece of the float was a huge tree from which all organisms emanated, from the black ants and honey bees to the balintong or Palawan pangolin (Manis culionensis) and tandikan or the Palawan peacock-pheasant (Polyplectron napoleonis).

    “We designed the tree as the very foundation of the float so once it is disturbed or destroyed the entire contraption will fall. Much like what is in real life, when our (forests are ravaged), there will be an imbalance in biodiversity,” said Monasque, adding YBFP’s scientist-consultants provided input on the float’s overall concept and design.

    Helping put color on the float are the Farm’s resident artists J-joy Umambong and brothers Julio and Adonis Opiala.
    The float also made use of ornamental plants cultivated at the Farm such as sunflowers, amaranths, among others.

    It was bedecked with species of dapo fern (Asplenium nidus), manaog ka irog (Dischidia oiantha)—a type of hanging vine—-as well as bonsai balete (Ficus variegata) and magkuno or ironwood (Xanthosthemon verdugonianus).

    Among the Palawan landmark replicas on the float are the PPUR with several monkeys and bayawak (water monitors) guarding its mouth, and Tubbataha Reefs Natural Park with butanding or whale sharks (Rhincodon typus) and sea turtles basking.

    To represent Palawan’s natural wonders as realistically as possible without violating environmental laws, Monasque said farmers who took part in building the float used painted sawdust as sands in the PPUR and Tubbataha replicas.

    “For us, winning the competition is only secondary. What is important is really about bringing the message of protecting biodiversity, that taking care of our environment is really a duty of all,” Maria, the YBFP official said.

    He said portion of the P500,000-prize will be used for medical outreach missions to indigenous people (IP) communities in Palawan during the Christmas holidays.
    Astoria Palawan resort won the second prize while BPO (business process outsourcing) firm Sitel Palawan was awarded third prize.

    Yamang Bukid Farm last year was the second prize winner, getting P300,000 cash.
    (Juan Lim)
View Full Post

Food, Pinoy fun and advocacy for farmers highlight Yamang Bukid’s 5th Agros

  • PUERTO PRINCESA CITY——Delectable food, festive mood and rich upland Filipino version of fun are in store as Yamang Bukid Farm pays tribute to the farmers and their highest sacrifices for the country in Saturday’s 5th Agros Festival.
    The second of such event this year by Palawan’s emerging farm tourism destination, Saturday’s festivities seeks to highlight the role of farmers in nation-building despite various challenges they are currently facing such as plummeting prices of palay.
    Kicking up the day-long festival is a five-kilometer run for a cause dubbed Takbo Para sa mga Magsasaka.

    Photos by JM ZAP

    The charity run that ends at the marker of Yamang Bukid Farm at Purok Candes III is expected to attract at least 1,000 runners whose registration fees will be used to buy palay at higher prices in the farms of Narra town, the province’s rice granary, where farm gate prices of the staple grain have plunged to less than P15/kilo. Farmer-employees of Yamang Bukid Farm will then go gyrating and shaking their calories away in a zumba exercise following the 4 a.m. fun run. before the festival proper goes underway by 9 a.m.

    Drumming up the festival were mall tours and appearances at the Palawan provincial capitol of the Agorot Hunks, an all-male Cordillera performing group known for their good looks.
    Back at the Farm, guests as well as local and foreign tourists will be enthralled by various dance performances of the Farm’s 200-plus workers, most of whom are former illegal loggers.

    There will also be a long table covered with banana fronds where sumptuous Pinoy dishes will be feasted on in a “boodle fight.”

    In the afternoon, it will be all fun as the Farm is flooded with colors from dozens of elaborately-dressed carabaos that, together with their owners, will do the catwalk, errr, the carabao walk for the title of the most beautiful buffalo on the planet. The fun and games continue with authentic Pinoy games such as palosebo, sack race, tug-of-war as well as endurance jousts like tuba-drinking contest.
    (JL)
View Full Post

Yamang Bukid Farm to join Asean agri-biz workshop

  • PUERTO PRINCESA CITY—Yamang Bukid Farm will represent the Philippines in an international young leaders’ workshop on agriculture in Laos next month.

    Photo by JM ZAP

    Hope Alas, Yamang Bukid Farm Palawan vice president for tourism, is among the six Filipinos participating in the YSEALI Agri-Business Incubator Workshop in the southwestern Laotian province of Champasak.

    Funded by the US State Department, the Young Southeast Asian Leaders Initiative (YSEALI) seeks to engage with emerging young leaders in Asean who could cooperate across borders to solve common problems in agriculture, among others.

    The five-day workshop which starts March 2 will gather 50 young leaders from the 10-member Asean states and Timor-Leste focused on identifying and developing sustainable agri-business opportunities in the region.

    “The incubator-style workshop will teach participants how to apply Design Thinking, Lean Startup methodologies and disciplined entrepreneurship through rigorous evidence-based, action-oriented learning to help them recognize opportunities and learn how to build sustainable enterprises than can deliver innovative value in the agriculture sector,” the Yseali said on its website.

    This event, according to Alas will be an opportunity to showcase not only Yamang Bukid Farm, but the province of Palawan as well as the entire Mimaropa (Mindoro, Marinduque, Romblon, Palawan) region.

    Photo by JM ZAP

    “I’m grateful for getting in this fellowship. It will give me an opportunity and a wider audience to share about agri-tourism and how we do it here in Yamang Bukid,” said the 27-year old former instructor at Palawan State University.

    In her nearly a year with Yamang Bukid Farm, Alas said she realized that “farming is never easy and we should highly value them.”

    “I value my food more because I now realize the huge sacrifices our farmers are doing to produce the food that I eat,” she said.

    “I’m more fuelled to work harder and advocate more on helping the farmers in our country,” she added.

    Alas has been known as among the faces of the sprawling farm tourism destination in Barangay Bacungan, among Palawan’s most-visited.

    The former educator who now considers herself a farmer is Yamang Bukid Farm’s chief advocate, especially on the Farm’s efforts on sustainable agriculture and biodiversity protection and conservation.

    Photo by JM ZAP

    “Without agriculture, tourism is also nothing. One of the reasons why people visit places is about food, specialty delicacies and like that. That’s agriculture,” Alas stressed.

    “If there’s no agriculture when you visit an area, you have nothing to eat. Tourism is therefore affected. Tourism and agriculture are a team,” she added.

    The amiable farm tourism advocate is among the principal movers of various advocacy campaigns by Yamang Bukid Farm, including last year’s Subaraw Biodiversity Festival in which the Farm bagged the grand prize of the float parade.

    Alas also spearheaded the holding of various campaigns for the benefit of farmers and the environment.

    (Juan Lim)
View Full Post