The City Agriculture Office hopes to get young people interested in farming as the office relaunched its Gintong Butil Agri Farm in Barangay Sta. Lucia this month.
City Agriculture’s Miguelito Cervancia said this 13-hectare demo farm aims to inspire not only farmers but also the young generation to engage in agriculture and agri-tourism projects.
“Ang mga farmer natin ngayon matatanda na, kunti na lang ‘yong nahihilig sa agrikultura. Usually ‘yong mga agri courses, pag narinig nila mabantot, marumi, parang gano’n ‘yong kanilang interpretation,” he said.
“‘Yong lugar na ‘to gusto natin sila (kabataan) ma-inspire na ang agriculture ay hindi lang lahat patungo dun sa pagsasaka. May additional income pa tayong makukuha ‘pag nilagyan natin ng art na pwede tayong makapag-attract ng turista. Pwede nating pagsabayin ‘yong food production at tourism,” he said.
The Gintong Butil Agri Farm was established in 1999 as a demonstration site for hybrid rice production. From grain production demonstration site, it shifted into orchard and cultivation of other high-value crops like cacao and coffee for seed production.
Cervancia said the farm serves as the City’s demo site for organic agriculture and produces organic seedlings for distribution to farmers in the City. This can also function as a learning site for K to 12 and college students who want to pursue agriculture as a career.
He said the farm, meanwhile, demonstrates that agriculture can exist harmoniously with nature. Proof of this is the presence of Palawan-native bird species, such as hill mynah, blue-naped parrot, and blue-headed racquet-tail.
“Ibig sabihin napaka-healthy pa ng lugar na ito at in-enhance pa natin sa pamamagitan ng pagtatanim ng fruit trees kasi halos hindi na sila umaalis dito dahil may pagkain na sila,” he continued.
With its forested surrounding and the presence of these birds, Cervancia said the farm is ideal for bird watching, camping and picnic. He said these activities can be offered to the public once they put up the trail.
For now, he said the public, especially the youth, can visit their farm that employs landscaping art techniques. Here, one of the must-see spots is their flower garden that boasts of eight kinds of flowers.
This flower garden is still on trial stage but has a potential for expansion and can be added as a tourist attraction just like Cebu’s famed Sirao Garden.
“Ang tourism natin ay nagbo-boom at bakit hindi tayo magdagdag ng isa pang tourism destination, lalo na dito sa south?” Cervancia suggested.
The farm also features a containerized garden that encourages visitors that they can pursue organic vegetable production even with their limited space at their backyard.
“Gusto natin ipakita sa ating mga magsasaka lalo na do’n sa bayan na medyo limitado ang space na hindi dahilan na wala tayong lupa di tayo magkaroon ng gulay na mapagkukunan,” he said.
Cervancia said the farm also has a garden that grows 28 kinds of herbs and spices that could soon cater to the needs of hotels and restaurants in the City.
Another one on trial stage is the farm’s strawberry garden that already produced fruit last summer.
Cervancia said they also have an area where they have planted more than 400 Palawan cherry blossoms in containers, which will soon be transplanted at the Balayong Park in Brgy. Sta. Monica. Meanwhile, the farm also has plantations for cashew, jatropha, and vetiver.
In the future, he said the City Agriculture looks forward to further expansion of all of these, as well as the construction of tree houses and the establishment of fish ponds to attract more people, especially the youth.
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