Agriculture - - Sustainable Farming - BY ANGIE VEN­ERA­CION

MANGARITA OR­GANIC FARM is a di­ver­si­fied, in­te­grated or­ganic farm lo­cated in the com­mu­ni­ties of Barangay Mangga and Barangay Sta. Rita in Ca­pas, Tar­lac. It was formed at the ini­tia­tive of Si­bol ng Agham at Teknolo­hiya (SI­BAT) Inc., a non-gov­ern­men­tal and non-profit or­ga­ni­za­tion, to carry out its man­date of pro­mot­ing sus­tain­able agri­cul­ture in Philip­pine ru­ral com­mu­ni­ties. This farm serves as a com­mu­nity tech­nol­ogy ex­ten­sion cen­ter, pro­vid­ing a venue for hands-on train­ing to farm­ers and farm prac­ti­tion­ers on or­ganic farm­ing. It also serves as a demon­stra­tion farm on crop and an­i­mal in­te­gra­tion, high­light­ing eco­nomic sus­tain­abil­ity as a re­sult of di­ver­si­fi­ca­tion.

The farm’s or­gan­i­cally raised veg­eta­bles are its main cash crop, mak­ing its op­er­a­tions sus­tain­able. This is sup­plied pri­mar­ily to SI­BOL Eco Coffee Shops at two lo­ca­tions in Que­zon City, Metro Manila. The stores cater mainly to its or­ganic niche mar­ket and serve as the out­lets for the farm and its or­ganic farmer co­op­er­a­tors in Tar­lac. Mangarita also reg­u­larly sells its pro­duce at the Or­ganic Food Tiangge ev­ery Fri­day at Paraiso, Ca­pas, Tar­lac in front of the Depart­ment of Agri­cul­ture Re­gion 3 Build­ing. Mangarita has set aside a por­tion of its land space for a demon­stra­tion and pro­duc­tion farm for or­ganic rice. Here, farm­ers are in­tro­duced to or­ganic rice pro­duc­tion prac­tices and en­cour­aged to stop chem­i­cal-based pro­duc­tion meth­ods.

An­other farm com­po­nent is the pro­duc­tion of farm in­puts like bi­o­log­i­cal sprays us­ing in­dige­nous micro­organ­isms and other plant-based prepa­ra­tions for pest man­age­ment and biofer­til­iza­tion.

Part of the farm’s di­ver­si­fi­ca­tion can be seen in the grow­ing of ducks and fowl, na­tive chick­ens, goats, and pigs em­ploy­ing or­ganic meth­ods. Farm wastes like veg­etable trim­mings and re­jects are turned into feed for poul­try and live­stock, while an­i­mal wastes pro­vide in­put for the compost and vermi bins. Aside from be­ing a source of fish like tilapia, hito, and dalag, the fish­pond is also in­te­grated in the duck­ery for al­gal growth and fer­til­iza­tion.

Herbs and flow­er­ing plants are in­ter­cropped with the veg­eta­bles, and help re­pel harm­ful in­sects while at­tract­ing pol­li­na­tors like bees and other ben­e­fi­cial in­sects.

Green­houses are also be­ing fab­ri­cated on the farm to im­prove or­ganic veg­etable pro­duc­tion and pro­tect the crops from ex­treme and sud­den changes in weather con­di­tions. So­lar pow­ered tech­nolo­gies are also be­ing har­nessed in the form of a so­lar pow­ered wa­ter pump and fer­ti­ga­tion, as well as so­lar perime­ter light­ing.

So­lar pow­ered tech­nolo­gies are har­nessed in the form of a so­lar pow­ered wa­ter pump and fer­ti­ga­tion, as well as so­lar perime­ter light­ing.

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