“Tiyaga lang, hindi biglaan, puso lang at tiyaga” Mr. Fortunato recounts as he shares his insight on being an organic farmer for some time now. His hands show the years he spent on the fields and you can sense from his speech the wisdom he has as an experienced farmer. He continues, there was a time that the crops were small and seem scared to grow. “I was tempted to go back to commercial farming but I uprooted it and did the process again, and little by little it grew, “puso lang at tiyaga””.
“I thought to myself that I was not fit to join such program when I was invited to join the Seasonal Livelihood Programming (SLP) training. What can a farmer like me benefit from this livelihood training, but looking back at the three-day training, and our output I found out that the SLP calendar has a very crucial impact on farmers like me. “
Benguet is one of the main sources of vegetables in the entire Philippines. Farmers rely on commercial farming for faster growth of crops and greater yield and profit. Crops such as sayote, bush beans, coffee, banana, ginger, and cucumber are usual the crops of farmers from Kapangan, Benguet. However, there are also farmers who switched to organic farming as there is already consistent demand for organic produce in the market. Mr. Fortunato is one of the farmers who switched to organic farming and he said that the SLP calendar would definitely help him with his farming.
At the end of the day, it still relies on values as he puts it. Different things motivate us. Financial gain motivates some while farmers like Mr. Fortunato envision that the greater gain is to see good results from what he spent his time on, effort, and his labor, pouring his heart into it while keeping the quality of his produce unmarred and his principles intact.
The SLP is a consultative planning tool used globally by WFP and its government partners that aims to acquire deeper and common understanding on people’s livelihoods and programme entry points. For Benguet, Jaime V. Ongpin Foundation was selected to manage the SLP for Kapangan on February 21-23, 2017 as a pilot training program.