Family wins agri award

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DAVAO CITY –— During this time when everything that we considered normal has been turned upside down, people had to adapt quickly and mainly had to rely on family for support to get through this pandemic.

The Aquino family from Brgy. Cabasagan, Matanao, Davao del Sur, is no exception and made use of their time together to bond through farming. With a lot of things to do at their farm, the family makes a team effort to maintain it and continue producing fresh produce.

Demosthenes ‘Bembot’ Aquino, the family patriarch, manages the farm operations. He inherited the farm from his father since he was the only one to show any interest in farming.

Bembot developed the area and turned it into a tilapia hatchery, starting with native varieties and gradually expanded into producing ornamental fish which they sell to buyers from Mindanao.

Bembot’s wife, Ligaya, is her husband’s right hand in managing the farm and steps in when her husband is away for seminars or other activities. She is also the main hostess when people visit their farm.

However, Ligaya also has her fair share of achievements. As the RIC Vice President in their barangay, they won first prize in a table setting competition by serving organic food such as blue ternate rice, and viands with organic vegetables. As the president of the Women’s Club in Matanao, she initiated the distribution of vegetable seeds in their area by coordinating with respective barangay officials during the pandemic.

Their children, Alona, Yves Paul, and Gladys, also help out in their farm, particularly in tilapia and Roselle production. Gladys, the youngest in the family and a graduate of Veterinary Medicine, takes pride in her family as she recognizes that farming has paved the way for her to achieve success in her studies.

Now, Ligaya Tilapia Hatchery is accredited by BFAR XI and it also provides tilapia fingerlings for BFAR’s monthly dispersal to Davao del Sur and Davao Occidental. Aside from their hatchery, they also have several fruit trees, organic vegetables, and livestock.

They have conducted several seminars in organic vegetables in 2019 as their farm is accredited by ATI-XI as a Learning Site on Organic Vegetable Production.

They also have Roselle, and applying value-adding to Roselle has led the Aquino family into producing tea, juice, jam, and even wine.

Indeed, the family that farms together, wins together. Through their efforts as a family, the Aquino family won the Gawad Saka National Award in 2013 for the Outstanding Farm Family Category, and more recently, the Regional Organic Agriculture Achievers Awards in 2020 for the Most Outstanding Organic Agriculture Farming Family Category. –Reicza Gene Olojan, RAFIS XI

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