Cebu province to push for diversified farming

Consistent with the priority concern cccof Governor Hilario P. Davide III to promote agriculture and food security, as contained in his “five star agenda”, the office of the Provincial Agriculturist will push for the adoption of diversified farming system (DFS) to farmers in Cebu Province under the Farmer Scientist Training Program (FSTP).

Diversified farming means the practice of producing a variety of crops and/or animals in one farm as distinguished from a monoculture approach which uses a single commodity only.

The farm of Marcus Baricuatro situated in Lala-an, Argao Cebu has been recognized as the model farm which utilizes the integrated farming techniques taught in FSTP. Unlike the traditional farms in upland and rural areas, wherein only one crop is tended by the farmer, DFS is a revolutionary concept where there is a diversification and integration of crop and livestock production.

In a one hectare farm, Baricuatro adopted a crop and livestock integration system. His farm is a typical example of the FSTP approach which is a corn-based program. Almost one half of the farm is planted with corn, the other half devoted to vegetable production, which is intercropped with eggplants, beans, and leguminous plants like peanuts. Malunggay, which has been recognized as a “superfood” rich in antioxidants,is skirted around his farm. Ampalaya or bitter gourd is also abundant in this small but diversified agricultural land.

Along with crop production, Baricuatro’s farm also features multipurpose livestock. He raises horse, carabao, and numerous goats, including pigs and geese.

Baricuatro emphasized that he also adopted a diversified nutrient approach in his corn and vegetable cultivation. Diversied nutrient stresses the importance of using organic fertilizer and a minimal amount of the commercial variety.

Baricuatro, a graduate of the FSTP program, revealed that since he adopted the diversified farming system, he observed an evident increase of yield which in turn gave him increased income.

Baricuatro said he practised multi cropping in his farm. “Lain-lain akung crops, kung ma pilde ko sa usa ka crop naa pakuy ka daganan” Baricuatro added.

Baricuatro shared that he taught some of his neighbour farmers to adopt diversified farming also. Some farmers in his community are slowly adopting the same principle.

Provincial Agriculturist Roldan Saragena said that compared to traditional farming, a diversified farm will allow the farmers to have increased revenue and better use of land.

Saragena added that there is less risk of crop failure in a diversified farming system. “Diversified farming is less risky compared to specialized farming” Saragena stressed.

Saragena said that FSTP, the banner program of Cebu Province in agriculture, hopes to foster the same diversified farming system to other individual farmers and growers in Cebu province to ensure economic and social benefits. Diane Higida