Department of Agriculture (DA) Region IV-CALABARZON, in coordination with the Army Reserve Command (ARESCOM) based in Camp Riego de Dios in Tanza, Cavite, have celebrated the graduation of 49 new organic agriculture enthusiasts under the regional office’s Farmers Field School (FFS) in Organic Vegetable Production Program on August 20, 2020.


From April 30 to August 13, 2020, 49 army officials from ARESCOM received training on organic vegetable production under DA’s FFS. Aside from that, they also received interventions like vegetable seeds, seedling trays, plastic mulch, nets, garden tools, compost fertilizer, cassava cuttings, mushroom production units, and livestock modules in a bid to further their knowledge in organic agriculture and hone their farming skills in order to improve food production in the camp.


The ceremony was attended by DA CALABARZON Regional Executive Director Arnel V. de Mesa as the graduation’s guest of honor. Other DA officials from Cavite including Mr. Felix Joselito Noseda, Agriculture Program Coordinating Officer; Ms. Eda F. Dimapilis, Regional Organic Agriculture Program Coordinator; Mr. Domingo Austria, municipal agriculturist representative; and other farmers groups have also attended this meaningful occasion. 


In his speech, RED de Mesa expressed his utmost appreciation to the graduates who gave their time and effort into learning the basics of organic agriculture. “Farming is never an easy job and farmers are our real-life heroes who never fail to give us healthy and delicious food. May this program be a stepping stone into keeping not just ARESCOM food sufficient, but also the rest of Cavite specially so during this COVID-19 pandemic”, he said. 


RED de Mesa pledges to give additional livestock modules like goats and poultry to ARESCOM, as well as a brand-new multi tiller to help them in preparing their farm lands.


ARESCOM’s Major General Peale Jon L. Bondoc expressed his gratitude to DA CALABARZON’s support in their endeavor of making their campsite food sufficient through organic agriculture. “I have nothing else to say but thank you. The Department has done its job. The challenge now is for us in ARESCOM to sustain this worthwhile intervention. Let us not put to waste the materials, equipment, and trust given to us by the agriculture department.”


As one of the graduates, Major John O. Geronimo shared his experience during the FFS. He said that his farming knowledge was developed by this project. He said that, “This farming course helped me realize the real importance of agriculture, especially during the COVID-19 crisis that we are facing at the moment. This will not just help the camp, but other people can also benefit from whatever we will harvest or grow in our farms.”


On the other hand, Command Sergeant Major Artemio J. Obena said that they learned everything from making organic fertilizers to keeping their crops safe by using organic pesticides and insecticides. “I learned a lot from FFS and for someone who is about to retire, this intervention from DA will help me a lot in my retirement”, he said.

This FFS in Organic Vegetable Production is only one of the many programs under DA’s Integrated Organic Agriculture Production Project in coordination with ARESCOM which aims to mitigate the impact of the pandemic through adoption of proven and effective agricultural processes. Therefore, this graduation of a new batch of agriculture enthusiast is another step closer into the regional office’s goal of making CALABARZON a food sufficient region. • (MAP, DA-RAFIS)