Organic ‘pinakbet’ farm boosts income of Batangas planters


Farmers belonging to the Guinhawa Farmers Association have started to harvest assorted vegetables from their organic vegetable techno-demo farm in Barangay Guinhawa, Tuy, Batangas, during a harvest festival conducted by proponents of the project, the Department of Agrarian Reform (DAR) said on Sunday.

DAR-Batangas Provincial Agrarian Reform Program Officer I Ma. Gemma Esguerra said the 1,000 sq.m. techno-demo farm of the organic  pakbet  farm was established by the Guinhawa Farmers Association through the guidance of DAR Batangas and Advent Agri-Enterprise and Consultancy Services, the professional service provider under the Sustainable Livelihood for Disaster Affected Areas of Climate Resilient Farm Productivity Support Project (CRFPSP).

Pakbet is a Filipino dish composed of a variety of vegetables which include squash, bitter gourd, okra, string beans, and eggplant.

The CRFPSP is geared toward the goal of building the resiliency of agrarian reform communities nationwide to enhance and sustain the agricultural productivity of farmers’ organizations, by increasing their yield and income to uplift the lives of its members.

Esguerra said the techno-demo farm showcased the climate-resilient variety of “pakbet” vegetables and served as the learning field for the beneficiaries where organic farming technology was introduced.

Chief Agrarian Reform Program Officer Ma. Surallah Rabino said anyone could join the “pick, harvest, and pay” promo, where the customers will be allowed to go around the farm, pick grown vegetables themselves, and pay for their harvests.

“The idea of converting a small portion of lands devoted to sugarcane and turning it into vegetable production is a welcome opportunity for the ARBs [agrarian reform beneficiaries] in Brgy. Guinhawa. After three months of waiting, the organic pakbet vegetables in the techno-demo farm have reached full maturity and are now ready to be harvested,”  Rabino said in a statement.

“This project is a great help for us especially in this time of the pandemic because we generated additional income from this. We are so happy that the DAR and other agencies have their confidence in us because support is what we need during this crisis,” said Guinhawa Farmers Association President Almer Abe said.

Before the harvest festival, the association started selling the pakbet vegetables to the members of the community and nearby customers, generating a total income of P16,000.

During the harvest festival, the association was able to earn a total of P6,000 in just a span of two hours, giving them a total income of P22,000. Aside from the organic pakbet vegetables, organic vermicast, insecticides, and bactericides were also sold during the festival.

To culminate the harvest festival, a graduation ceremony of 30 beneficiaries who completed the five-day hands-on training on organic vegetable production was also conducted to acknowledge the effort of the beneficiaries contributing to the success of the project.

“Throughout the five days of hands-on training, we learned the different techniques, management and technical considerations in organic vegetable production and thank you DAR for introducing the organic farming technology,” Board of Director member Justiniano Bugay said.

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