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Earn More Cash through Palayamanan

Want to earn more cash and send your children to school? Then venture into Palayamanan or integrated farming like what a group of farmers in Pangasinan does.

They are headed by 38-year-old Patricio Castillo who tends a 3-hectare (ha) Palayamanan farm in San Joaquin, Balungao, Pangasinan. Through his earnings from integrated farming, he is able to provide well for his family and send his children to school.

This is what Dr. Madonna Casimero, PhilRice deputy executive director for research and development, hopes for other farmers. Because if they will engage in integrated farming like Castillo and his group, they will learn new-farm technologies, earn more, and develop fraternity among fellow farmers.

For instance, Castillo started with a capital of P50,000 last year after attending a series of seminars at PhilRice. Then he started leading 28 farmers in their neighborhood whom he apparently lured to help him tend the Palayamanan farm. He believes that through this, his fellow farmers will learn and be able to start their own Palayamanan in due time.

Castillo and the farmers planted the whole farm to rice in the wet season, and planted 2.5 ha to corn in summer. They also planted different vegetables in the farm and grow tilapia in a 500-square meter pond for catfish culture.

Native chickens, turkeys, and ducks roam in the farm where Castillo also grazes nine female goats and seven cows and grows 20 pigs. There are also gmelina and mahogany tress thriving by the farm dike and mango trees which provide shade in the farm.

“We earn about P15,000 last year from selling 65 baskets of carabao mangoes weighing 20 kg each,” Castillo said. His vegetables, poultry, and tilapia are his family’s everyday source of food while “the rest we sell for the children’s allowance and other expenses,” he added.

The 28 farmers, on the other hand, meet every Friday under the supervision of Lemie Revita, agricultural technologist of Balungao Office of Agriculture, and other extension workers. They discuss new farm technologies and current and foreseen problems in the farm.

Guided by Palamayanan technologies, they were able to make do with only 20 kg of rice seeds for production in onehalf hectare. Before, 20 kg of seeds was not even enough for a 1,000-square meter farm.

Castillo said that aside from adopting the hybrid planting technique, the farmers also applied in their farms the Palaycheck “farm-seed-to-seed” technology, another PhilRice rice productivity program. The popular inbred rice varieties in their area are NSIC 142, NSIC 146, NSIC 130, and NSIC 144.

The way things are going in Castillo’s farm is a proof that farmers will be more productive financially and socially if they will venture into Palayamanan.

“Their learning process is slow but it looks like they (farmers) are really taking the lessons seriously. The harvest of each farmer has improved from 60 kg/ha to 120 kg/ha, this is a proof that they are really learning the technology that we imparted with them. And besides, Mr. Castillo can influence them,” Revita said.

Dr. Casimero said that they, at PhilRice, are trying to develop a strategy to integrate community organizing with farming to encourage more farmers to engage in Palayamanan.

They need a “driver” like Castillo, a progressive leader who can influence his neighbors. And most of all, they also need progressive farmers who are receptive to new technology. Are you one of them?