Wednesday, September 02, 2009

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Natural farming and money

Manila Bulletin
August 31, 2009, 7:01pm

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Natural farming and money

August 31, 2009, 7:01pm

Last week, at the Attracting Wealth Seminar sponsored by the New Life Alabang Christian Center, one of the speakers was Dodong Cacanando of Moriah Farms one of the, if not the biggest lettuce farm in Bukidnon supplying Mcdonalds and KFC. His story is quite amazing, migrating to Bukidnon with his family to plant lettuce when everyone else told him it was not possible. Until recently, all lettuce we ate in the Philippines were mainly imported, as to grow lettuce is quite delicate. To grow them, most used covered nursery to protect the precious leaves from the elements.

When the price of oil shot up last year, and everything else with it, including fertilizers, production
costs went up so high, his profit margins were cut. The cost of fertilizer requirements almost doubled. But he didn’t want to borrow to finance the increased cost of production. He therefore had no choice but to live with what he has in the farm.

This led him to a technology, the natural farming technology of Dr Hans Kyu Cho of Korea, taught locally by Andrey “Less Is More” Lim, Founder/Consultant, Tribal Mission Foundation International Inc. whose passion is to improve the lives of farmers. This new technology is revolutionary since you just leave nature the way it is. For example, no tilling of soil. The key to good plants/vegetables is enriching the soil though beneficial microorganisms, using natural materials (like leaves, grasses and weeds) readily available in the farm. Andrey manages a 30 hectare Helen farm in Davao using
the natural farming way. They have about 800 pigs and they do not smell. Yes, they don’t smell, they don’t even take a bath, so less water, thanks to these beneficial micro organisms.

What is natural farming? It is farming by using natural materials , non chemicals , that promote the growth of beneficial micro organisms in the soil. Don’t feed the plants, feed the soil to have healthy plants. When plants are healthy, like people, they are more resistant to diseases , and will be stronger. So that plants and vegetables we eat will have nutrients for our body. One school of thought why we have more cases of cancer nowadays, affecting even children, is that the food, plants and vegetables we eat no longer have the necessary nutrients we need due to depleted soil.

With Dodongs farming experience, his Bible readings saw a new light from which came out his new business philosophy . For example, he says that from the seed, develops the roots and then the leaves and back to the roots etc. When the plant grows to maturity, it produces a lot of food. What to do with this excess food generated? The plant stores it in a special container we call fruit. And fruiting comes in the proper season, at the right timing. He says , we can’t rush the growth of a tree. Even if we want to and just bombard it with watering and fertilization, when it is not yet time, it just won’t bear fruit. Or if it does, the tendency is for the plant to die at an earlier age.

Just as fruits are the by- product of a healthy plant, it’s the same in a business where money/profit is the by- product of a healthy business. I recall Topax Colayco in the Finex Seminar “Riding through the Crises”, he said, “ the fastest way to get rich is to get rich slowly”. We just can’t rush getting rich or fast forward trees to bear fruits before its time. There will always be repercussions.

Today, Dodong says that his lettuce is growing very well and in the wide open, beating all odds. For when he started in Bukidnon, everyone said he cant grow lettuce . Much more now that he is not using chemical fertilizers. Dodong’s story is just an example of being successful using the natural farming way. I recall being told after knowing that I was an advocate of natural farming, “ I pity you, for it won’t work”. I answered , “on the contrary I sincerely believe it is the answer to our farmers plight, their ability to make their own input requirements and being empowered”. And Dodongs lettuce story is one of the best example as with many others whose lives have changed moving to the natural way of farming.

This natural farming technology is taught locally by Andrey Lim, the 2009 Secretary of Agriculture Awardee for Outstanding Organic Agriculture Initiative (Individual Advocate Category).

Do you want to know more about natural farming, to be healthy and save our environment?

Learn how to enrich your soil using natural materials!

Learn how to make your own fertilizer, insecticide and pesticide from natural sources!

Learn how to make your own feeds using plants and herbs!

Learn how to grow pigs with no bathe and with no smell!

Learn to raise organic free range chicken without the use of artificial heater!

Learn recycling techniques to and turn wastes to good use!

Then Do Not Miss the Natural Gardening and Farming Seminar on October 24!

Sponsored by Finex in cooperation with Flor’s Garden.

The seminar will t be conducted by Andrey Lim at Flor’s Garden in Antipolo.

Please Call Cherry of Finex at 8114052 or 8114187 now! First come first served! Limited seats available.
On Money:
I like to share these Chinese proverbs. A good reminder to put money in its proper perspective in our life. Money can usually act as “oxygen to our lives”, and certainly has a “calming effect” but it is not the answer to everything.

“Money can buy you a house , but it can’t buy you a home

Money can buy you a clock, but not time

Money can buy you a bed, but it can’t give you sleep or peace of mind

Money can buy you a book, but not knowledge or wisdom

Money can pay for a doctor, but it can’t buy you good health

Money can buy you blood , but it can’t give you life

Money can even buy you rank or position , but not respect

Money can buy you sex but not love”.
Ms Tarriela is Chairman of Phil National Bank. She was formerly
Undersecretary of Finance and the first Filipino lady vice president of Citibank N.A.


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