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Army’s demo farm features sustainable organic practices

Apart from bringing guns and ammunition, the army division in Davao region also equipped their troops with shovels and bolo to advance sustainable farming in formerly communist insurgency-infested  communities.

The 10th Infantry Division recognized that even with no reported movements from the New People’s Army for more than a year now, army forces should continue winning the hearts of the people to prevent communist resurgence.

Considering that most families in the region are dependent on agriculture for their livelihood, the division upskills its soldiers in crop production and chicken and rabbit raising through its demo farm.

Launched in May 2020, the 10ID Demo Farm is established in a 600-square-meter area of the 105-hectare Camp General Manuel T. Yan Sr. in Barangay Tuboran, Mawab, province of Davao de Oro.

In October 2020, the Department of Agriculture accredited the farm as a learning site for agriculture-integrated  farming.

Since then, the demo farm has trained not only soldiers but also former rebels participating in the deradicalization program and members of the people’s organizations who are former NPA supporters, Citizen Armed Forces Geographical Unit (CAFGU) Active Auxiliary (CAA), and youth groups.

Soldiers of the 10th Infantry Division are now holding shovels, instead of guns, to promote sustainable farming in the former communist insurgency infested communities in Davao region. (Photo: 10ID)
Different varieties of chicken are being raised outdoors at the 10ID Demo Farm. (Photo: 10ID)

Organic, free-range chicken farming 

After months of training, trainees will be able to raise chickens in a free environment utilizing organic feed.

Private First Class Jephone Sanchez, noncommissioned officer (NCO) in charge of poultry raising, emphasized that organic chicken farming is easier and cheaper than  utilizing commercial feeds. 

“Gumagawa tayo ng mga pinapakain sa manok mula sa mga raw materials na makikita natin sa 10ID, kagaya ng niyog, cassava, at saka corn mill,” PFC Sanchez elaborated.

The demo farm now houses different varieties of chicken, like the Black Austrolorp, Shamo, and Rhode Island.

Free-Range Rabbit Farming

One of the features of the demo farm is raising rabbits outdoors.

“Atong gihimo, gipractice nato pagbalik na ang rabbit magpuyo sa iyahang natural na environment (What we did is practice raising rabbits to their natural environment ),” said PFC Neldan Armero, free range rabbit farming officer-in-charge.

PFC Armero explained that while they started developing houses by plowing holes in the farm, the rabbits also dug their own resting places after weeks of living outdoors.

As of now, the demo farm has New Zealand White Rabbits, American Chinchilla Rabbits, American Fuzzy Loop Rabbits, and Black Californian Rabbits.

One of the features of the 10ID Demo Farm is the free-range rabbit raising. (Photo: 10ID)

Organic crop production

The farm also conducts training on producing organic fertilizers like vermicasts, concoctions, and extracts.

These fertilizers are being used for the production of eggplants, tomatoes, cucumbers, lettuce, and sweet corn, among others.

Technical Sergeant Roque Cortado, in charge of the whole demo farm, stressed that they empowered their trainees by fostering self-sufficiency, especially now that the public is hassled by the rising prices of prime commodities. 

“Dito masisiguro natin na safe ‘yong kinakain natin at saka makatulong din sa atin ito na pwedeng gawing panghanapbuhay,” TSgt. Cortado added.

The 10ID Demo Farm is utilizing vermicast to fertilize its crops. (Photo: 10ID)
Among the crops planted at the 10ID Demo Farm are the lettuces. (Photo: 10ID)

Developing self-sufficient communities

Taught through the 10ID Demo Farm, soldiers also trained a group of former rebels in Pantukan and developed with them a demo farm on organic crop and poultry production.

Jen (not real name for security reasons), a NPA former supporter, expressed elation for setting up the demo farm in their area.

“Basin diay makasarili pud tag himo ani, dili kay sa grupo lang, sa amo pong tagsa-tagsa ka pamilya (Maybe we can have our own farm like this, not only for the group but also for our own respective families),” she said. (MLU/PIA Davao de Oro/Photos from 10ID)

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Michael Uy

Regional Editor / Writer

Region 11

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