One can learn a lot from attending forums, whether free or paid, because there are very important information that can be obtained that can help farmers succeed in their farming activities.
At the recent Agribiz Kapihan at the Harbest Events Center at the Rizal Techno Park, for instance, Toto Barcelona emphasized the importance of science to aspiring as well as long-practicing farmers. While showing the modern roof-top commercial garden that he is developing, he explained why the farmer should know the science about the behavior or plants, fertilizers and other inputs as well as the effects of the changing climate.
By having knowledge about the science of farming, the fellow will be able to adopt the right strategies to address challenges in farming. In fertilizing plants, for instance, knowing how to achieve balanced plant nutrition will result in greater productivity as well as reduced cost of production.
An overdose of nitrogen fertilizers, especially during the rainy months, for example, will result in plants that are tall and succulent. Such plants are attractive to the attack of insects and are also prone to lodging when there are strong winds. Of course, lodging will reduce yields. And the overdose of fertilizer will add to the cost of production.
In running a farm for profit, big or small, the workers are the most important asset of the enterprise. In his own Harbest Agribusiness Corporation which distributes a wide range of farm imputs, Toto said that he prefers to hire young people who are hardworking and who are willing to learn the science behind various aspects of farming.
The different seed companies are effective in disseminating the improved technologies because they have technicians who conduct demo farms or who advice their customers on how to grow the improved crop varieties and also teach them about other modern inputs. The government should also intensify the dissemination of scientific farming techniques.
By the way, the roofdeck garden which is costing Barcelona about P2 million to set up will showcase intensive high-value crop production that is computerized so that only one person is needed to operate the project. The plants will be drip-irrigated so that the right amount of water and fertilizer is delivered on time. This will not only mean savings in labor but also on the cost of water and fertilizer. Rainwater from the roof of the greenhouse is collected in tanks for use in watering the plants as well as for other uses in the building.
During the tour of the project being developed, he explained why the plastic containers are seated on pedestal about a foot above the ground. He pointed out that the technique is one way of avoiding the disease organisms that are usually found in the ground. That is just one example of a simple science know-how that each farmer should know or keep in mind.
By the way, on Saturday, July 14, Lani Espiritu will talk on growing culinary herbs at the Abribiz Kapihan. Then on July 21, Wilson Testa will discuss growing salad greens the hydroponics way. Those who want to attend are advised to pre-register by contacting Alecci Jerez at 0946-259-3560.