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More Farmers Benefit from Palayamanan

Palayamanan, a diversified farming system developed by PhilRice, is indeed a very practical way to farm. And more and more farmers benefit from it, especially nowadays when the cost of living is too high.

Among them is 62-year-old Quirico Ilisam of Dingle, Iloilo. He owns a 1.4-hectare farm, and for 35 years he used to harvest just around 110 cavans(cav) per cropping. He finally adopted Palayamanan in November 2007. He allotted 1 ha to rice and the remailing to vegetables such as tomato, eggplant, squash, string beans, sponge gourd, okra, alugbati, gabi and sweet and hot pepper.

“Unlike rice that takes [about[ four months to get an income, some vegetables can be sold after just a month,” Quirico said.
And although he lost 25 cav of palay as he allotted some of his farm area to vegetable production, the trade-off is worth it as he earned about P30,000 from vegetables and saved on the cost of food. And this is because “with Palayamanan,” his wife, Elizabeth, said, “we have a fresh market right beside our home.”

“The system is really designed to help family with their immediate cashneeds,” explains Rizal G. Corales, Palayamanan project leader at PhilRice. “That is why we also call [its] vegetable component as cash crop as it will provide easy source of income for the family, while [the earnings from the] animal component may be used for intermediate to major household expenditures. Hence, most of the income from rice will be saved by the family,” he added.

He also said that Palayamanan also reduces production cost because the crop wastes can be fed to the animals and their manure can be processed into fertilizers for the crops.

Aside from this, says Dr. Rosa Fe Honrade of the University of Southern Mindanao, the system reduces production risk, too because “if one of the crops will be infested, the farmer will still not experience huge losses because he will still obtain profit from the other components of his Palayamanan farm.”

Like Quirico and Elizabeth, Socrates and Olivia Marcelino adopted Palayamanan, and they are establishing their site in Batan, Aklan. They have been in rice farming since 2003 but they have never earned much because of the lack of irrigation facilities and lack or too much rainfahl. And although Olivia knows farming well for she is a BS Agriculture graduate, she cannot do anything about their problem. Hence, their yield was 60 cav/ha.

“Palayamanan is the only solution that we saw [that would] help us in farming,” Olivia said.

The couple started adopting it in October 2007 upon completing a farmer’s field school on Palayamanan together with 25 Aklanon farmers. From then on. they started establishing a small poultry and piggery from which they earned additional income.

“We are happy with [our] poultry, but we are hoping to get more income from off-season vegetables this season,” Olivia said.

Many farmers in unfavorable areas like Aklan and Iloilo are really looking up to the benefits of the project because it is their only hope to increase income, says Arlie Manikan, Palayamanan project coordinator in Kalibo, Aklan. According to reports, Palayamanan can at least double the average net income of a rice farmer or help them achieve around P100,000 income per hectare a year. Some reports even show that a highly diversified farm can reach the income of P200,000.

“The potential of Palayamanan to increase the income of farmers in unfavorable areas is the reason why it is one of the banner projects under the rice self-sufficiency program of the Department of Agriculture,” Corales said.

And with the planned P25 million budget for state colleges and universities and P30 million Palayamanan fund for local government units. he explains, more farmers will benefit from the project beginning 2009.

“When rice fails, it’s good to have Palayamanan.” he said.