Garde: Field day in La Granja

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By Edna Garde

Edible Landscape

Tuesday, August 5, 2014


THE Bureau of Plant Industry (BPI) at the village of La Granja in La Carlota City is part of the consortium of other national agencies based in Negros Occidental. We are blessed to have such line agencies here—like the Sugar Regulatory Administration, UP Los Baños-RTS, and Philippine Carabao Center.

I did not expect to be invited to the BPI’s field day recently because I am already retired from the government service, but my friend the Center chief Milagros Abaquita texted me and presto I immediately said yes!

I wanted to share with you what BPI is doing as part of the research station of the Department of Agriculture. It was a great day to celebrate the goodness of the Lord through BPI’s effort with the leadership of Ms. Abaquita. I saw many improvements from the last time I went with a guided tour. It is now indeed a beautiful view of edible landscape.

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The theme of this year’s field day is: “Organikong Panguma, Pasanyugon Ta!” I presumed that all the 32 local government units (LGUs) of Negros Occidental will be represented, but I saw only some, and mostly these are the LGUs with a functional organic farming in the process, especially with the organic villages, which are also being coordinated by the Office of the Provincial Agriculturist (OPA).

I was glad to know they are also connecting with the BPI, especially so when the research station is now focusing on the production of organic seeds for many vegetables, root crops, corn and rice seeds, and legumes.

The participating LGUs were San Carlos City, Kabankalan City, Cauayan, Hinobaan, Sipalay City, Bago City, San Enrique, La Carlota City, Moises Padilla and La Castellana.

Some were from the academe—La Granja NHS and La Carlota City College; non-government organization like the NIRD (National Institute of Rural Development) of Canlaon City; and Barangay La Granja, UPLB-RTS, PCC and SRA.

These are the network partners of BPI for the furtherance of organic farming.

The panelists were Santiago Palisada of BPI Manila, Rhia Rizon of DA-RAFID 6, Dr. Romeo Agraviador of 3Rs Farm, Dir. Allan Favorada of NORSU, Loran Tepper of BPI-UPLB, Arnel Mallorca-Organic Village of Kabankalan and the two BPI La Granja staff, Girlie Laot and MJennifer Ferrer.

The most exciting part of my day was when I was recognized during our field tour by Director Allan Favorada, head of the NORSU (Negros Oriental State University)-Pamplona campus.

He remembered me as I had guided their tour to the organic farms. His school is now the partner of BPI in research for legumes especially for seed banking of organic seeds. Great! It is my prayer answered, actually. Ms. Mila is the answer.

You see, it takes a strong-willed leader to go for the real thing as far as organic production of crops is concerned. I got no more time to interview my friend, but needless to do, inasmuch as we saw how she managed to shift the landscape of the research station into a hub of organic seeds.

We all had our share of the planting materials like organic vegetables seeds, cassava, Visayas (a new vegetable tree), corn (I got the yellow variety) and Dinorado rice seeds which I am giving to my kumpare to try in his lowland farm. He is giving me rice every harvest time.

I also got a good look at the edible landscape, full of different herbs, usually the ones being used by restaurants going organic in their style also. I asked for stevia (natural sugar) because what I got from the Fresh Start Organics Farm at Silay was eaten by my dog. I have caught my dog trying it and eventually it was all gone. Now, the one I brought from BPI was about to be tasted by my cat when I caught it.

Our last learning experience during the day was to see how the soybean is processed into milk, meat and other added value by-product from soybeans. We then got our share of a bottle of soya milk with accompanying sandwich for the snacks afterwards. That’s beside the fact that we tasted their best organic maize boiled to perfection, with matching herbal tea of your choice, boiled camote and suman in the morning field tour.*

Published in the Sun.Star Bacolod newspaper on August 05, 2014.

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