“They say that sailing across the sea is a dream come true, yet, you can also sail in the farm and build dreams of your own.”
Christopher Harold C. Arboleda, 31-year-old-graduate of a training of trainers (TOT) course by the Rice Competitiveness Enhancement Fund (RCEF) Rice Extension Services Program said.
“In farming, you own your time. I’m the worker, I’m also the boss. If you’re looking for a career or change in profession, farming is a viable start to a profitable, fulfilling, and sustainable field,” Christopher, who practiced marine transportation for 11 years, said.
Christopher, now a vegetable grower for two years in Villaverde, Nueva Vizcaya, and facilitator of Arboleda Farm School owned by his mother, said that he started to enjoy farming when the activities are shared with the family. He also realized the importance of food and agriculture amidst the pandemic.
As an enthusiastic first time farmer, he was on look out for seminars that will equip him with knowledge and skill on his new endeavor. His mother suggested a training on inbred rice production, which he tried after a few hesitations.
Christopher thought he was sailing in the wrong direction for being “forced” to attend the two-week TOT on high quality inbred rice and seeds and farm mechanization in Cabatuan, Isabela.
“Eventually, within those two weeks, I learned to love the sound of my feet walking towards the hall, and listening to the lessons on high-quality inbred seeds, modern rice planting, and operating machines,” he shared.
He also enjoyed the company of his fellow trainees and the resource persons who inspired him to share the learnings to his fellow farmers.
“I encourage young farmers to engage in agriculture. We should not be afraid to try something new as training and programs are available for us to upgrade our skills and become competent,” he added.
Together with 29 co-trainees, Christopher learned about the concepts and principles of the Palaycheck System, Minus-One Element Technique, and mechanization including use of mechanical transplanter, four-wheel and a hand tractor for land preparation, drum seeder, seed spreader, and combine harvester. He also learned about agro-system analysis and ways to facilitate an RCEF Farmer Field School.