We make sure we don’t miss the annual Agrilink. It is a great event to keep ourselves updated with what’s happening in the agricultural industry, meet new friends and try new products.
Last Friday, we managed to squeeze in our busy schedule to drop by Agrilink 2011. This year, top of our must-see list was invitation by Sandy Celi of Spread Organic Agriculture in the Philippines (SOAP) for Perrine Collin‘s workshop, “Growing Kamote as an Alternative Staple”. We got a text that her workshop will be at 10am in Seminar Room C.
As we were looking for the seminar rooms, we spotted two booths selling open-pollinated (OP) seeds: Allied Botanical Corporation and East West. We bought some sprouting seeds as our next urban gardening project.
We found the venue and as we were registering, the workshop was just about to start. We found one last seat in the front row which was perfect.
Perrine is a Belgian agricultural engineer. She graduated from the Université Libre de Bruxelles in 2008 with a major in Tropical Agronomy. She is currently working as a Marketing Manager for Cabiokid Foundation, a permaculture farm in Nueva Ecija. She is particularly interested in sustainable development, desertification and development cooperation.
During the workshop, Perrine showed us that staring a “Kamote Tower” is both easy and inexpensive. All you need are 4-5 camote to germinate, a recyclable container such as old rubber tires, soil and a bit of space.
The Kamote Tower is low maintenance and if done properly, may yield for you at least 40 kilos per tower!
Perrine’s talk was followed by one of the best and most comprehensive and easy-to-understand presentation about sustainable organic and vermiculture by Pam Henares. The seminar room was packed and most of the attendees were farmers.
Pam is an organic farming advocate and currently the foremost resource speaker about Vermiculture in the Philippines. She has given presentations on this subject during the 2008 International Federation of Organic Agriculture Movements (IFOAM ) World Congress held in Modena, Italy. She was also a resource speaker during the 2009 IFOAM Southeast Asian Conference in Kuching, Malaysia. She has travelled to most of the archipelago teaching the benefits of sustainable farming methods and the wonders of Vemiculture. A retired CEO of Riverside Medical Center, she holds a Masters Degree in Hospital Administration from the Ateneo de Manila University. She is married to Jose Henares, Sr. and currently resides in Bacolod City. Largely responsible for the technology research and development work of Buro Buro Springs Vermi Farm, she has attended various fora around the world on sustainable organic farming both as delegate and speaker. She is a member of the National Organic Agriculture Board (NOAB), sits as a trustee of the Negros Island Sustainable Agriculture and Rural Development Foundation (NISARD) and is also a consultant for GTZ, a German government cooperation agency with considerable presence in the Philippines. She has also represented the country in various conferences and trade missions around Asia, Europe and the Middle East for the organic agriculture sector.
Her 45-minute talk was remarkable. Here are some of our favorite slides which were taken during her presentation:
After the two seminars, we were able to hurriedly scan the retail area for another fifteen minutes before our ride back to Makati arrived.
We were able to spot our partner farmers and producers from Costales Nature Farms, San Benito Farms, Melendres Farms and Milea.
It was good to see (and chat) with Milea‘s Wonder Woman Edilee Omoyon and Goody-Kefir‘s Jeren Cabral. Edilee shared with us their new products which we will review soon.
We wished we had more time to visit all the booths but we had to leave around 3pm. It was good to see more and more people, especially farmers, interested to go organic and natural in their farms.
We also spotted a booth on renewable energy targeting farmers as users. This is a good sign we Filipinos are slowly getting the idea that organics, natural and green should be our standard even in agriculture.
Can you guess what this green thing is? 13th comment with correct answer gets a prize.