• Farmers urged to become ‘agripreneurs’

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    The Department of Agriculture-Region 6 is encouraging farmers to become “agripreneurs” through integrated farming and organic agricultural practices to surpass the P1 million per hectare mark in annual production.

    In a three-day Agripreneurship On-farm Seminar in Negros Occidental, farmers and educators from the provinces of Iloilo and Guimaras were trained to maximize farm productivity by cutting the cost of farming inputs and venturing into organic farming.

    Ramon Peñalosa Jr., an established agripreneur of Negros Occidental, said that 60 percent of Filipinos in the agriculture and fishery sectors are considered the poorest sector.

    “Farmers should adopt the three development models such as the supply side, donor-driven and market-driven models to create a sustainable agripreneurship farm,” said Peñalosa.

    Peñalosa has farming businesses in Victorias City, Manapla-agay City and Don Salvador Benedicto.

    “Integrated farming system is a synergy among crops and livestock in order to produce a self-contained zero waste ecosystem which is characterized by vertical and horizontal integration,” explained Peñalosa.

    To cut production costs, farmers are encouraged to reuse organic matter available within the farm such as livestock manure and vermicompost.

    “Degenerative diseases caused by free radicals from commercial fertilizers, pesticides and livestock feeds can be avoided through organic farming,” he added.

    Agritechture, a fusion of architecture and agriculture, was also discussed in the seminar as a building that grows food.

    “It is important to create a sustainable habitat for crops and livestock most especially in developing farm tourism,” said Peñalosa who challenged the farmers to become agripreneurs who could make money through farm tourism, not just a farm.

    To prosper in the farming business, “an agripreneur should go into business opportunities under the concept of farm to market, farm to kitchen, and farm to plate,” he said.

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