SAM_3999SAM_4077“No Filipino should go hungry.”–Ramon Penaloza, Penaloza Farm.

Is Integrated Organic Farming the solution to our country’s problem of poverty? Well that seems to be the proposition in the second farm we visited in the Bacolod agenda. At the Penaloza farm, we got a whole lot more than we bargained for. Seriously, it was information overload but in a good way. It was the most inspiring, educational, uplifting talk I have ever encountered as it presented a solution to our country’s insurmountable problem of poverty. Okay so maybe I’m getting too excited and too optomistic. It won’t be a simple solution for sure, but I believe it’s a step in the right direction.

SAM_4005So as we were welcomed by Mr. and Mrs. Ramon Penaloza with a delicious, organic, health-promoting tea concoction. Honestly, it was so good I should have noted the ingredients which Mr. Penaloza generously shared. After an eye-opening introduction and a tour of his 50-bed capacity home, we proceeded to a lunch buffet of organic dishes specially cooked by Mrs. Penaloza. This was followed by the lecture with visual presentation and illustration of how far he has gone with his farming theories and how he applied these learnings to create a vast income earning business from multi-sources connected to the main business. What he shared was really a lot to digest in one sitting so this post is a simplified version of what was discussed.SAM_4017

Let’s say your main business is piggery, in every stage of the pig’s life you can earn income already, no waiting period. You can sell the piglets for breeding or lechon de leche, then when they get older, you can sell them as studs or for lechon. You can further divide the pig into parts and sell the raw meet in the market or supermarket.   You can also cook the raw meat then sell as ham or other dishes. On the next level, you can make your own pig feeds from food scraps and fertilizer from pig waste. Pig waste can serve as food for fish or fertilizer for plants that feed other animals, and which can be another source of livelihood.

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SAM_4161“There is no unproductive soil, only an unproductive farmer.”  The idea presented by Mr. Penaloza is that most farmers do not maximize available resources or see other income opportunities from farm waste products. He shares that farming can be a lucrative business if you can make use of what you have instead of spending for supplies you can make.  Then create that interrelated cycle of piggery or livestock raising with vegetable farming where one group’s waste is the other group’s nutrients. Recycle into compost and feed the soil instead of throwing away, re-use and re-create from excess into another income-generating potential. My illustration may not be so accurate as I am really highlighting the various possibilities when you maximize your available resources which means making use of nature or organic materials. That will mean less money going out and more coming in.

SAM_4011But before reaping the fruits of your labor, you must learn and understand the language of the soil, plants, and animal and art of war against pest and diseases to be able to know when is the right time and what is the right action.  And here is the clincher, if you master these languages, you can even decide how you want the plants to behave and when you want them to bear fruit according to Mr. Penaloza.

SAM_4083“The farmer who does not know how to pray is not a good farmer,” is a quote by Mr. Penaloza which is insightful and full of wisdom as we all know that nature is controlled only by the One Above.  There is much to be in awe of in the way he manages and maximizes his farm. First, you won’t smell odors from his piggery area or his compost area. Thanks to his organic practices. Second, his construction materials come from sugarcane wastes. His home is testimony to the strength of his materials, recycled and re-used as much as possible. For those who plan to get into the agriculture business and succeed, a visit to his farm is a must.

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