Venancio Garde Jr.

Venancio Garde Jr.

Venancio Tornilo Garde Jr. graduated from Nueva Ecija University of Science & Technology Gabaldon Campus and obtained his Diploma in Agricultural Technology. Once, he was a volunteer Cathecist, SK chairman, and a Community Organizer of Gabay sa Bagong Pag-asa (GBP) SAFRUDI. He was also involved in other NGOs like MASIPAG, a farmer scientist partnership in Sustainable Agriculture. He is also part of PRRM or the Philippine Rural Reconstruction Movement, PABINHI (Pilipinas Pambansang Inisyatibo ng Pagbibinhi sa Pilipinas and currently he is part of SRI Pilipinas as National Trainer and Consultant.

Notable Contribution in SRI Pilipinas:

A Sustainable Agriculture Consultant, Senior Technical Associate and Project Coordinato PRRM/SRI-Flipinas Currently the SRI Trainer in SRI-Pilipinas SRI and Sustainable Agriculture Consultant In I releaf foundation Inc. from 2015 up to present

Swine Raising Consultant in Quirino provincial agriculture office from 2016 up to present

SRI-Trainer and Consultant ORAS-NA/people’s organization LGU-Aringay La-Union

SRI-Trainer SRI and Natural Farming Technology Oxfam –GB 2012

SRI and Sustainable Agriculture Consultant Bahay tuluyan 2016-present

Organic livestock Consultant Guingona farm Tarlac 2011 SRI-Trainer

SRI-Season Long Trainer AGREA-Foundation June to October 2016 National Trainer

Organic Field Support program Department of Agriculture 2009.

Mr. Garde is sixth among nine siblings. He is a generous brother willing to help his siblings as long as he can and able to help. A father that is willing to do everything for his family without thinking of how hard it is as long as he perform his duties as a father to his children. He was married for 10 years to her loving wife and they have 3 lovely children.

In every success stories there is always challenges and problems that we need to face. When he was in elementary level he experienced being pandesal and balot vendor just to have allowance. In his high school days at the age of 15 or 16 he became a miner, he mines using only shovel and other mining tools that are all manual. He go in a tunnel without any safety gears, he experienced falling debris falling on her head and back. It is not safe for his age to be in this type of job and environment but his motivation is to save money for his studies in high school and to help his family. He was dreaming to finish Mechanical Engineering Course but because of financial problem he was not able to pursue it. He was thankful that there is a NGO that supports his studies in Agricultural Technology and at college he is also serving NGO as part-time job.

Despite of those challenge he is not willing to give up because according to him if you are determine in one thing , you need to do everything inorder to achieve it. Those challenges made him strong in every trials that he experienced. Every time he attends a mass he always have this reflection that those experience is part of his mission in his life that made him stronger, resilient and widen his perception about the things that surrounds him.

At present he loves his job as long as he is helping other people through Sustainable Agriculture that’s why he is considering it as his mission in life. His happiness in unmeasurable when he see his former students in SA became successful. He believed that even he was not able to see and talk to source he believed that the source is the one who taught his students.

As a Roman Catholic his eyes and mind is already open with the help and supervision of his parents, he believed that he is here in this world to perform a mission and that mission is to help the farmers to do the right things. He also have this mission to become a catalyst of change in the Philippines when it comes in Agriculture. He wants to share to other people the Organic Agriculture can assure food security that will feed their own family.

His dream for OA even it seems impossible is to transform every program of DA into Organic.

“Pursuing your career related to your degree doesn’t guarantee your happiness”

Executive Director of Champion Farmers in Lambunao, Iloilo

Mr. Ariel Lastica, is a registered Medical Technologist. He graduated as Bachelor of Science in Public Health at University of Philippines-Visayas and attained his Masters Degree in Entomology at UP Los Banos.  Despite this educational attainment, he is now pursuing and enjoying his promising career in Agriculture as the Executive Director of Champion Farmers Program of Lambunao, Iloilo.

Ariel had his long way before working confidently in this field of Agriculture as he once doubted himself. As a former Public Health Manager of DOH Romblon and WHO Staff in Palawan, he realized that medicine is not his career to pursue. The routine works and activities he performs in this field easily made him bored.  It is then that a decision to go back in Lambunao was triggered because he has to take care of his mom who was diagnosed with brain tumour that time and  that, he also felt the emptiness while being away from his family and missed out the opportunities to celebrate different occasions in his hometown.  Staying for good in Lambunao, he grabbed the opportunity to work as Executive Assistant for Health in the Local Government Unit.

His journey in agriculture started when Former Lambunao Mayor Jason Gonzales and currently Board Member of Iloilo 3rd District offered him the vacant position in Municipal Agricultural Office as the Agriculturist.  To learn more in this field, Mayor Jason back then, give him a book about permaculture for him to read and they discussed it after he finished reading. Then he was also sent to Palawan for two weeks to attend a permaculture seminar and, when he got back in Lambunao, they started the planning of the framework.

At that point, he decided to accept the position because he saw it as a challenge and an avenue for him to take new learnings. Aside from that, he is very observant on what is really happening in the areas of agriculture and to the farmers itself.  This new journey is not easy for him for the reason that other people have doubts on his potentials because he is from the field of health and medicine. He then too, started questioning his skills and capability as being part now of Agriculture Department. But Mayor Jason helped him to gain and boost his confidence. He told Ariel that even he is not an agriculturist by profession, as long as he is capable to do the job, you are fit for the position, regardless of your background.

From then, opportunities started to knock on his door. Currently, Mr. Ariel Lastica is still the Executive Director of the Champion Farmers; a Council Member of ESSA; and actively affiliated in different organizations with relevance to his passion.

Christopher Enate’s best practices and his call for the new generation to help and join in the farming industry

Christopher Enate

Chris, is a Systems of Rice Intensification (SRI) Farmer in Dao, Capiz, he is the eldest son of Mr. and Mrs. Jose Robinson Enate and considered himself as farmer by birth though he poses a Bachelor Degree in Industrial Electronics Technology and was a Brgy. Kagawad for almost 5 years.

Before he became one of the promising SRI farmers of the country, he once had doubt about this technology in organic farming. He started practicing organic farming after Yolanda Typhoon crashes all their livelihood. During the aftermath of the super typhoon, the IRelief Foundation came to their place to help them start a new chapter of their lives. All the while they thought that this organization is bringing financial assistance but instead, IRlief brought SRI to give them the knowledge and inputs so that they can start through it. At first, only his father and siblings have the interest to attend the trainings and seminars because Chris is busy doing his duty as a barangay official. He was busy then attending the needs and assisting the delivery relief goods to their fellow victims in the community. But the fact was, he is also doubtful about the technology, but then, he became curious because of the stories being shared by his father and siblings that made him finally decided to attend.

Year 2015, he started applying what he learnt to his 150 square meters of land. He made and used organic concoctions for his land preparation. After two years, he converted his 3 hectares land into organic because he realized that conventional farming is expensive compare to organic farming. He used to spend even more than Fifty Thousand Pesos (P50,000.00) on chemical inputs. Another good reason of his going into organic is that, his father is diabetic, so he realized that he wants to produce a healthy food for his family. And as to his observation, many children have different serious sickness and diseases such as cancer that lead to their death. With these realizations, he wanted to produce an affordable and chemical free product that the people can buy without hesitating.

Rotary Weeding

Like other organic farmers, Chris also experiencing difficulties and challenges along the way. The main problem of his farm is to control the weeds, and to lessen that, he is using a “weeder” and have to spray a natural weed control twice a week with or without pest as their protocol. From his produce, he markets different variety of rice with a market price ranging per kilo from Php 50.00 for white rice, Php 60.00-65.00 for red rice, and Php 70.00 for black rice.

Organic Farming

There are a lot of things that Chris shared and talked about with his farming experiences. Mentioning those problems encountered, he also shared some of his traditional and cultural farming practices handed down from older generations that until now he is applying to his farm. To mention these practices, he made sure that whenever he visits his farm his stomach is full, believing that his rice/plants is connected to what he feel; uses biodynamic calendar; able to calculate an forthcoming disaster through the sound of birds depends on what sounds they created; and the actions of the trees and the bamboo. He shared one phenomenon that when the bamboo shoot is taller than the mature one, means that a certain calamity will happen. Another observation he made that when the fruit trees are not blooming, then rice production is not also abundant as these plants relate to one another. He added that a farmer must have a positive feeling or feeling great when going around his farm because this positive condition will be transferred to the plants.

It is sometimes difficult for him to manage his time because aside from being a full-time farmer, he manages the farm alone and doing the labor sometimes. Aside from that, he is also a member of different organizations that open many opportunities for him. He is currently one of the Board of Director Members of DAO System of Rice Intensification Farmer Association; President of Region VI SYSRICE Alliance; Auditor of DAO’s Municipal Agriculture and Fishery’s Council; BOD of Nasunogan Farmers Association DAO Capiz, Chairman Committee in DAO Organic Farming; and a Rice Breeder and Practitioner of Indigenous Knowledge System.

He was selected as one of the ESSA Council Member which was introduced to him by Ms. Dina Ruth Daliva or much known as Dindin. He shared that Dindin invited him to attend a meeting and to share his practices as one of the farmers who adopted the SRI Technology taught by Dindin’s organization. It was later on, that SEA, Inc. sent an invitation to the Mayor of DAO, Capiz about the farmer association and Chris was sent to attend the event as Dindin also encouraged him to do so. This is then that he became part of the ESSA.

Because of his active participation and dedication on organic farming, Chris became an Organic Awardee in Dao, Capiz. And with these different organizations that he belongs, he found his purpose and mission through organic farming. He has a positive vision that the fruit of his labor will reap a better and greener world to live with and enjoy by the next generation. One of his visions is to create an organic rice variety which can avoid pest without degrading its quality and can have a marketable price for the consumers. His dreams visualize a larger picture for the next generation. He wants them to experience what he experienced during his childhood such as playing with the rice mud, running around the ground without thinking about the weather, and so on.

“Younger ones, please help us.” This is the message he wants to tell the younger generation. Mr. Christoper Enate, an Organic Rice Farmer, is asking for the help of the future’s hope. Stand and do something to save the Earth specially the farmers through sustainable and resilient agriculture.