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FSTP builds millionaires in 20 years

| by: Xerxes Alkuino

After 20 years, the Farmer-Scientist Training Program (FSTP) changed the lives of the farmers by turning them into self-made millionaires.

This was based on the interviews of the famers conducted by the FSTP Team from the College of Agriculture, University of the Philippines Los Baños (UPLB).

UPLB’s report was made on the occasion of its 20th FSTP Anniversary Conference and Program held at Colawin Elemetary School in Argao, Cebu last December 8, 2014.

Around 400 farmer-scientists (FS) from different barangays of Argao attended the conference.  The conference focused on the following concerns:

  • creation of trading posts,
  • organic fertilizer subsidies,
  • farm to market roads,
  • assistance on marketing of agri-products,
  • issue regarding the hauling of crops and giving of bribe to guards at check points to allow farmers to stay on the truck with their farm products, and
  • unfair treatment of farmers when they sell their products at the Cebu Carbon market,” among others.

Capitol Agriculture Consultant and FSTP National Program Leader Dr. Romulo Davide, who started the program in Colawin in 1994, led the anniversary activities.

Dr. Roldan Saragena, officer-in-charge of the Provincial Agriculturist of Cebu Province, and Wilfredo Abear, officer-in-charge of the Municipal Agriculturist of Argao were also present in the celebration.

Plaques of recognition were given to 20 outstanding farmer-scientists, who were “forced to get rich,” as called by Dr. Davide. According to the report, many of them were already millionaires while the others have at least 100 million in annual income. They are:

  • Jose Ruben (Barangay Cansuje),
  • Joseph Montañez of (Barangay Apo),
  • Dennis Gil (Barangay Mompeller),
  • Vivencia Sarona (Barangay Colawin),
  • Felicidad Orteza (Barangay Mompeller),
  • Marciano Agrabio (Barangay Cansuje),
  • Jovencio Lanticse (Barangay Cansuje),
  • Julian Geverola (Barangay Gutlang),
  • Marcus Barricuatro (Barangay Bulasa),
  • Guillerma Villanueva (Barangay Langub),
  • Leonito Manzanades (Barangay Apo),
  • Elijah Comaling (Barangay Cansuje),
  • Juanito Lanticse (Barangay Bug-ot),
  • Paz Caminse (Barangay Linut-od),
  • Danilo Zamora (Barangay Linut-od),
  • Isidro Sarona (Barangay Colawin),
  • Ariston Panerio (Barangay Colawin),
  • Joel Templa (Barangay Mompeller),
  • Ferma Templa (Barangay Mompeller), and
  • Julita Mamites (Barangay Cansuje)

FS Jose Ruben was also recognized by the Capitol when it hosted its seventh FSTP Congress last October.

Ruben now owns a two-storey house in Barangay Cansuje and a brand new 2014 model pick-up car.

His neighbor, Marciano Agrabio, who also graduated from FSTP in the late 1990s, now owns a concrete house and a van. Agrabio, who now serves as Cansuje barangay captain, was also able to send his three kids to college and now all are professionals.

Argao’s OIC Municipal Agriculturist Abear was also a farmer-scientist himself. He was one of the first FSTP graduates on December 9, 1994. Aside from his salary, he earns Php 7,000 a week from his vegetable plantations, which are mostly eggplant, bottle gourd, squash and string beans.

Aniceto Alberca of Barangay Cansuje also profits Php 140,000 and Php 200,000 from his cauliflower and tomato plantation every year.

The FSTP Team plans to conduct more interviews this year in other towns in Cebu and in other provinces as well.  According to the FSTP Team, the purpose is to “determine the economic and social impact of FSTP on their living conditions and socio-economic status.”