Palawan farm destination gets gov’t boost for dairy production

Published: February 13, 2020 01:25pm | PUERTO PRINCESA CITY


PUERTO PRINCESA CITY—Yamang Bukid Farm, one of Palawan’s most visited tourism destinations, is embarking on dairy production to help improve the nutrition of school children, especially those in public schools.

Photo by Br. George Maria

This after the farm tourism destination in the city’s Barangay Bacungan availed of a soft loan from the Philippine Carabao Center (PCC) to raise imported and high quality breed of carabao that can be a good source of milk and other dairy products.

Some 11 Murrah buffaloes were initially given by the Nueva Ecija-based state animal propagation hub in a “public-private partnership scheme” to the Puerto Princesa City farm destination, according to Dr. Arnel del Barrio, PCC executive director.

Photo by Br. George Maria

“This is part of our carabao enterprise development wherein we help cooperatives, individual farmers (and) families by lending them the carabaos like a soft loan.
Beneficiaries like Yamang Bukid Farm repay it with another carabao which will be given to (another beneficiary),” Del Barrio said.

Ten female buffaloes (also technically known as cows) and a bull were received by Yamang Bukid Farm and were promptly shipped from Nueva Ecija midweek.

While at sea, one of the four pregnant buffaloes gave birth to a healthy female calf affectionately called “baby YB.”

Hezir Rabaya, one of the farm’s managers who fetched the herd said a concrete barn was built on a hill overlooking the sprawling farm to house the animals.

“We have enough facilities and personnel for this project,” said Rabaya.

The farming destination, Rabaya said, has several employees who underwent training on quality milk production at PCC recently. These Yamang Bukid employees are the ones who will help him in taking care pf the imported water buffaloes and in doing the milk production.

Del Barrio said PCC typically disperses 200 carabaos yearly on average and that Yamang Bukid Farm is among the “numerous applicants” to the program.

“Yours is exceptional. Your story of doing business to help others is inspiring. I also came to know that you are accredited (as a training center) by (Agricultural Training Institute). In short, you have everything PCC can hope for in a partner (in this project),” the PCC head said.

He said both PCC and Yamang Bukid Farm are on the same advocacy of helping provide livelihood to farmers and their families.

“The bottomline is to help alleviate poverty and give good nutrition to the schoolchildren,” the official said.

Del Barrio said Yamang Bukid can also include dairy and milk production a component to its ATI-accredited trainings and further boost its capabilities as a learning site.

The sprawling farm tourism draw, which attracts at least 5, 000 visitors weekly, is known for its well-manicured gardens of ornamental plants, succulents, among others and is into sustainable farming of vegetables and other crops.

It employs nearly 300 farmworkers, over 90 percent of whom are former illegal loggers and charcoal-makers who have since become protectors of the environment.
(Juan Lim)

See Next Post


Palawan farm tourism site prides “toilets for all gender stripes”

  • A farm tourism destination in Palawan is raising the concept of gender sensitivity a stripe higher.
    For nearly two years now, Yamang Bukid Farm in Puerto Princesa City’s Barangay Bacungan has introduced a novel way of giving people the facility where they can answer nature’s call regardless of their sexual orientation.

    Guests pose outside the marked "gender-sensitive toilets" of Yamang Bukid Farm in Puerto Princesa City, Palawan. The farm tourism destination at Barangay Bacungan is a place of respect, tolerance and equality.
    (Photo by Daniel Kat)

    Manned and maintained by elderly women, Yamang Bukid Farm’s comfort room has separate spacious cubicles for girls, boys, gays and lesbians.
    The round-shaped building is made of concrete and roofed with indigenous materials. Outside it has two porcelain tubs and faucets for washing hands. Inside each cubicle has a flush toilet and bidet hose for cleaning.

    Outside, one can easily see the markings on the top of each of the four white wooden doors. Emblazoned in white against a black background each of the doors are the words GIRL, BOY, BAKLA and TOMBOY.
    One may argue that bakla and tomboy (Filipino slang for gays and lesbians, respectively) are in fact derogatory but for Bobby Arzaga, a Palawan-based vlogger and receptionist for the Farm, the terms are mainly names that describe their sexual label and nothing else.

    “I’m not offended because that’s how I want people to see me. I don’t know with other gays if they’re offended, though,” Arzaga said, adding he uses the cubicle labelled for the gays more often than that of the boys’.
    A learning site for sustainable and organic-based agriculture, the Farm which is a subsidiary of health and wellness products-maker Yamang Bukid Healthy Products Inc. (YBHPI), is advocating equality for all, embracing and respecting all guests of whatever gender stripes, according to the toilets’ designer Benjie Monegasque.

    “This is a reflection of doing business with a heart. Yamang Bukid welcomes and embraces all gender. The Yamang Bukid brand promotes equality, respect and tolerance,” Monasque said. (Juan Lim)
View Full Post

Japanese farms offer lucrative jobs to poor Pinoy farmers

  • PUERTO PRINCESA CITY——A group of Japanese farmowners is inviting farmers from the Philippines to work in Japan, promising attractive compensation to mostly impoverished land tillers in the agriculture-based Southeast Asian country and help prop up Japan’s technologically-advanced farming sector now being threatened due to an aging population of farmers.

    (photo by Jennifer Milante)

    Filipino farmers are offered upwards to 100,000 yen (P48,000) as net monthly salaries by working as farm hands in agriculture-rich rural Japan, with free living and other accommodations given by employer-farmowners as additional incentives, said Sandra Moriso, a Filipino-Japanese who has been in the Land of the Rising Sun for 22 years now.
    “They are in need of young farm workers as their farming population is aging,” said Moriso.
    Rapid industrialization after rising from the rubbles of World War II brought unprecedented growth to Japan, with technology-based methods pervading even into the traditionally labor-intensive farming sector, causing a growth in productivity. Japan’s farming sector however, suffered as many well-educated youth of later generations opted to corporate and blue-collar jobs in Tokyo, Nagoya and other megacities of the island-nation, instead of becoming farmers. Moriso said Japanese have known Filipino farmers as hardworking even with limited and oftentimes obsolete farming technologies.

    The compensation offer of the Japanese to the Filipinos is significantly higher and even surpasses the monthly salaries of mid-level executives in a country where there are still people who survive with below 2 dollars (P100) as daily income.
    “Our farmers are in demand in Japan,” said Moriso, who on Sept. 21 toured with a group of farm owners and members of an agriculture cooperative in eastern Japan’s Iwate Prefecture to Yamang Bukid Farm, an emerging farm tourism destination here. At least 208 Filipinos are known to work in farms under the Agriculture Cooperative Society in Iwate alone, said Moriso.

    “They usually work in three-year contracts although they may extend it up to ten years, depending on their agreement with the farm owner,” said Moriso. “What they earn there is certainly way, way many times over than what they could have gotten as workers here.”
    The Japanese flew in from Manila and motored to Barangay Bacungan, a 30-minute drive from the city proper, to visit the 20-plus hectare Yamang Bukid Farm. They were enamored by the beautiful and fresh music and enjoyed the sights around the sprawling farm tourism site, which recently has been accredited by the governments’s Department of Agriculture—Agriculture Training Institute (DA-ATI) and the Technical Education and Skills Development Authority (Tesda).

    “This place is so beautiful. The plants and the rolling hills are beautiful,” Takeshi Sasaki, chief executive officer of a vegetable farm in Iwate, said through an interpreter. The Japanese also enjoyed interacting with some of Yamang Bukid Farm’s farmer-workers and dined on local dishes.

    As a token of gratitude, the visitors gave a box of unagi pie—a sweet delicacy from Iwate—to the farm officials. As a return gesture, the Filipinos also handed jars of Yamang Bukid turmeric 10-in-1 Tea, a turmeric-based hot beverage manufactured by the farm’s parent company, Yamang Bukid Healthy Products Inc. (YBHPI). “Thank you for dropping by the farm and listening to some of the stories of our farmers,” said Bro. George Maria, Yamang Bukid Farm’s vice president for community relations, himself a farmer.

    Maria said the Japanese farm owners’ offer are generous to the Filipinos, particularly now that local farmers are suffering due to cheap prices of their produce.
    “We are with you in helping our respective farmers. We employ nearly 300 farmers, most of them former illegal loggers and slash-and-burn practitioners. We give them dignified salaries and a shot at redeeming themselves from their former reputation as nature destroyers,” Maria told the Japanese.
    (JL)
View Full Post

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

  • 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)
View Full Post