IFBS for DAR: Rekindling an Old Partnership


On December 1, 2012 and March 11, 2013, a total of seventy agrarian reform beneficiaries (ARBs) and development facilitators from Department of Agrarian Reform (DAR) Camarines Sur A and B underwent the training on Integrated Farming Bio-Systems (IFBS) at the Shell Training Farm in Bombon, Camarines Sur (Districts 1, 2, and 3 are under Camarines Sur A while Districts 4 and 5 are under Camarines Sur B).

The IFBS is a comprehensive capacity building course aimed at training farmers on appropriate farming technologies.  It is designed to promote sustainable benefits of crop production, livestock, agro-forestry, and includes the conversion of farm wastes into bio-organic fertilizers and farm entrepreneurship as well.

One module in the training that caught the attention of the participants was the improved bio-organic fertilizer production thru utilization of agricultural wastes.  They were amazed on how microbial inoculants can hasten decomposition of organic wastes compared to the conventional composting method. DAR Provincial Office A Community Organizer Sandie Orogo remarked, “There is a lot of money in our land and all we need to do is develop it through the help of our training in IFBS. We realized that organic farming is not just a concept that can be read from books.  It can realistically be done in our fields and the participants have seen it all here at the Shell Training Farm. The modules can be replicated in the Agrarian Reform Communities (ARCs) and can not only augment our means of livelihood but can also uplift our lives through the health benefits derived from organic farming.”

On the other hand, OIC-Chief Agrarian Reform Program Officer from DAR Camarines Sur B Ms. Gigi Sales mentioned that she dreams of having their farmers pursue their own organic vegetable farms, shifting from their traditional practices to the organic way of farming. She also looks forward to the establishment of a “bagsakan center” for organically-grown vegetables and the formation of a farmers’ cooperative that will manage the center and disseminate the benefits of organic farming.

Provincial Agrarian Reform Officer from DAR Camarines Sur A Mr. Rodrigo Realubit expressed his appreciation and gratitude to PSFI for the conduct of the training.  He was very elated with the farmers’ reception of the activity, seeing their eagerness to learn and attentiveness to adopt new techniques and technologies, especially on organic farming. He quipped, “PSFI and DAR has a partnership that dates back to the 1990’s, not only in the Bicol Region, but also in Palawan, Negros Occidental, Mindoro and Cagayan Valley provinces.”

PSFI’s partnership with DAR on the development of ARCs to improve the lives of the beneficiaries started in 1996. The ARC development is DAR’s key strategy to accelerate and sustain economic growth in agrarian reform and rural areas through a people-centered, holistic and area-focused approach in community development.  Of the 2,100 ARC’s supported by DAR, PSFI is proud to have participated in the training of more than 3,500 farmers in around 240 ARC’s nationwide.

Article by: Maria Pamela S. Castro and James S. Bruma