Negros Occidental is a province of the Philippines located in the Western Visayas region. Its capital is Bacolod City, which will be celebrating the Masskara Festival next month. Negros Occidental is known as the “Sugarbowl of the Philippines“, Negros Occidental produces more than half the nation’s sugar output.
From Manila, it will take 55 minutes and from Cebu, 30 minutes by air. By sea, it will take a long 18-hour or if you’re coming from Iloilo, one will reach the province within an hour. It is also accessible by sea and land trip from Cebu via Escalante City, San Carlos City and Dumaguete City in Negros Oriental. Travel from Bacolod to Dumaguete is only 5 to 6 hours by land.
Aside from natural wonders like Mt. Kanlaon; historical landmarks such as Balay Negrense, The Ruins, etc., Negros Occidental is also a thriving province home to organic agriculture farming.
Organic agriculture farming in Negros Occidental’s concern is not only to maintain healthy lifestyle but to give opportunity for farmers to become agri-entrepreneurs. One agri-farm in Victorias City is promoting integrated farming systems that are market driven. “Our advocacy is to make no Filipino go hungry in his native soil,” says Ramon Peñalosa of Peñalosa Farm, Victorias City, Negros Occidental.
For Ramon Uy, Owner, RU Foundry & Machine Corporation, “The program of the government must focus and address livelihood“. RU Foundry is located at Brgy. Pahanocoy, Bacolod City.
Dr. Albert Jo of Rapha Valley is an advocate sustainable agriculture in the province. Located at Don Salvador Benedicto, Rapha Valley is home to organic and herb produce such as lettuce, Thai basil, sage, white ginger, Turmeric, Ashitaba, and a lot more of the healthy and supplemental herbs and vegetables can be found in Dr. Jo‘s farmland. “In 365 days of changing a lifestyle, you change a lot in your life,” the 56-year old medicinal herb doctor shared to us.
Negros Occidental’s output of more than 1 million metric tons for crop year 2002–2003 accounts for nearly half of the country’s sugar production in an industry that generates an estimated annual revenue of more than Php 18 billion. While sugar plantation is the income generating produce in the province, there are farmers who are also into rice farming, one of them is Ramon Catiempo who maintains 0.6 hectare of his family’s 3.6 hectare land for organic rice farming. Catiempo Farm is a developing organic farm that is producing organic black and Mindoro red rice products earning Php 18 to Php 22 per kilo of unmilled red and black grains. he is also the current president of Organic Village Association in Bago City.
These are just primer of the growing organic agriculture farming that we saw on our 4-day farm tour in Negros Occidental organized by Niet Jamon Arceo of Agricultural Training Institute (ATI). We will share more of the experience of visiting the above-mentioned farms, and we will also share what we have learned from this tour on our next story.
See related Benguet-Mt. Province organic agriculture farm tour.
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