Farmers’ summit in Baguio

BAGUIO CITY – With help from the local government and concerned national line agencies, Baguio urban farmers may start growing organic vegetables and strawberries for long-term domestic use and agri-tourism.

This was discussed in the city’s first farmers’ summit spearheaded by committee chair on Market, Trade, Commerce and Agriculture Leandro Yangot, Jr. at the BENECO hall, June 2.

Two hundred eighty two (282) from the estimated 4200 urban farmers attended the whole day summit, with most, receiving packets of vegetables for planting.

A strawberry farm is being developed at Sto. Tomas, which when fully-supported could compete with those in La Trinidad, with others willing to take on other crops for household as well as for the market, it was known

The urban farmers thus presented in the workshop portion of the summit, their short, medium and long term goals; and problems: such as farming space, financing, lack of materials, technological and technical know-how, and accomplishment of documents for accreditation.

Suggestions for a commu nity-based seed bank, nurseries, greenhouses, seminars and hands-on trainings on urban gardening, hydroponics, fisheries tied-up with farming, organic pest and disease control, and scientific soil testing were also heard by Department of Agriculture personnel and High Value Crops Development Program focal person Joan Dimas-Bacbac

The farmers also went a step further with envisioned harvests intended for negosyo and home-based pasalubong centers, and monthly agri-tourism fair.

Bacbac however said accreditation is needed for Baguio farmers, for inclusion in DA’s programs and funding, starting 2018. Regional Agriculture and Fisheries Council (RAFC) Cordillera Administrative Region chair Balbina Ernesto also vowed support for the urban farmers.

Support through barangay legislation, the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI), Department of Science and Technology (DOST) and financing agencies was also recommended.

The Memorandum of Agreement for the Gulayan sa Kapulisan program with Baguio City Police Office director Ramil Saculles was also signed with Mauricio Domogan and OIC Department of Agriculture-CAR Director Lorenzo Caranguian. Through the program, the whole police force is urged to use available resources to produce household organic food.

Winners for the best edible home/backyard garden which started late last year were announced: Teresa Penengeo, Geraldine Ongat Renegado, Michael Lawana, Jane Abanag, Johnny Rios, Amelia Montes, Sammy Lang-ay, Cecilia Fangonon, Agnes Maslian and Irene Guibong, who received cash and seed tokens.

Judges who went around the 31 entries around the city are City Agriculturist Alberto Tomas, Balbina Ernesto of the Department of Agriculture, Council for Agriculture and Fisheries; national awardee for Urban/city farmers Danilo Agliam, high value crops development program regional focal person Joan Bacbac, Virginia Alagon and Marvin Binay-an of Councilor Yangot’s office.

More consultations for the program is expected, Councilor Yangot promised. /Julie G. Fianza


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