Farm Practices that Made a Young Farmer Outstanding
At 29, Romeo Yapit is awarded Outstanding Young Farmer of the Philippines. No doubt that’s quite an achievement.
This enterprising young farmer of Purac, Sinait, Ilocos Sur started fanning in 2002. He had to stop his schooling as he had to support his family for his father had a heart attack. He was a second year mechanical engineering student then.
Thinking of a marketable crop that would not consume much soil nutrients, Yapit observed that planting different vegetables year round and watermelon after rice was profitable.
This might be the solution, he told himself. So with the help of his brother Jerome, Yapit planted their 8,000 square meter land to various vegetables including eggplant and tomato. And he has been right; his strategy has worked out.
RICE HULL CAN BE USED TO PRESERVE TOMATOES
There are times, however, when the price of tomatoes is very low because there is an oversupply as many farmers planted in the same season. There was even a summer when the price was as low as P2 per kilo. So most of the time, tomatoes just rot in the fields, causing financial losses to farmers.
Romeo has a solution to this problem, and that’s slowing the ripening of tomatoes. In this way he can store these to be able to sell these when the price is already high enough.
How does he prolong the shelf life of tomatoes?
He arranges the tomatoes and covers half of the number with uncooked rice hull and the other half with carbonized rice hull. It would take five months for the tomatoes to ripen. By that time, it’s rainy season already when tomatoes can be sold at P20 to P80 per kilo.
That’s what Yapit does. In fact last year he got P30,000 profit from a ton of tomatoes he preserved.
PROFITABLE CROPS AND ORGANIC FERTILIZER SINEXT
Just before new year, Yapit harvested sugar baby watermelons that he planted to 3,000 square meters. He got around P60,000 profit as he saved a lot on the cost of farm inputs for like many farmers, he also uses organic fertilizers and pesticides.
The major ingredient he uses to make organic fertilizers and pesticides and the organic solution called Sinait Extract or SINEXT is the Sinait Natural Effective Microorganism or SINEM. He learned to make it in a seminar on farming that the Parish of St. Nicholas organized in July 2008 (see sidebar on page 54 for the procedure), and he also applies this to his vegetables.
But perhaps bigger profit is not the best thing he gets with his usage of organic fertilizers. It’s the pride and honor of being a young outstanding farmer of the country.
“I can’t believe that my efforts in promoting organic farming made me Outstanding Young Farmer of the Philippines,” says Yapit as he shows the trophy that President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo handed to him at the Gawad Saka Awards last October 15, 2009. He is one of the farmers that the Department of Agriculture recognizes for their excellent contribution to agriculture. And that’s one good reason why farmers should try the farm practices he does.
By Mancielito S. Tacadena