The Maribojoc Organic Demo Farm, Once Upon a Hill that No One Wanted
WRITTEN BY: Farina S. Dy
When Mayor Leoncio B. Evasco took over as Mayor of the town of Maribojoc, he took with him the strength and toughness of his experience as former Davao City Administrator under Mayor Rodrigo Duterte.
He vowed for Maribojoc to be recognized not only as a place that tourists pass by on the way to a more urbanized town and port of call like Tubigon, but more for its other attractions like a four-hundred-year-old church, watch tower of Punta Cruz. Unfortunately, the church was destroyed during the 2013 earthquake.
Churches and other historical structures can only provide so much financial support. Still, Maribojoc has gained recognition for its four-year-old organic demo farm. The farm was established in 2011, and as shared by farm manager Jun Jabonilla, its establishment was further strengthened on the consensus of the local government council to promote organic agriculture as the current available option to spur integrated development for the town.
The four-hectare lot used for the farm was described as “a hill that nobody wanted.” But one needs to see wastelands and discover its potentials not by sight but by faith and by concrete action to transform it into something of great value. This is the vision Mayor Evasion has seen amidst a vast tract of land with absolutely nothing of value.
Today this wasteland can boast of plots planted to cherry tomatoes which are sold at P200 per kilo and are now most awaited by salad lovers and other users. The farm also has green leafy vegetables, crucifers and herbs which are either used for food flavouring or for medicinal purposes, as well as forage for its animals. Somewhere in the farm, one can also see plot used for cultivating flowers. The farm has four dairy cows, 18 female goats and one buck. It also breeds and raises organic native chickens or what the farm staff call “Marinok” or Maribojoc Manok.
As soon as the milk production increases, with the coming of more animals, Maribojoc will soon have its dairy farm. As the milk produce is still too small for commercial purposes, the milk is used for the other animals like the pigs, and for organic probiotics and plant spray. Animal wastes are used as vermicast, and animal urine is also sprayed around the farm as fertilizer.
The farm also has a training center where various strategies and practices in organic farming are shared as well as implemented among local families in the community, in the barangay of Bayacabac, or among other interested stakeholders in the town.
The farm received further capital and funding in the form of an award from the Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG), where it not only got a Seal of Good House Keeping but a cash prize of P2 million.
Farm tours are now another service, where students and senior citizens can avail of a tour for P20.00 per head while other regular visitors have to pay P30.00 per head.
The century old Maribojoc Church, which was flattened during the 2013 earthquake will never be rebuilt. But the Maribojoc Demo Farm has a long way to go. All it takes is action and faith in transforming what was once a no-man’s land into a rich food producing garden that will be appreciated and enjoyed by delighted consumers and creating wealthier farm families.