A degree in a different academic field did not stop a 55-year-old chemical engineer from exploring urban farming and agriculture.
Antonio Hernandez, Jr. has been advocating new and improved ways of farming without using chemicals in joining Valenzuela City Congressman Win Gatchalian’s “Luntiang Kabuhayan” project.
“Gusto ko kasing malaman ng mga taga-Valenzuela City na mayroon pang agricultural land dito. ‘Yung hindi na nila kailangan pang dumayo sa ibang lugar para lang makatikim ng mga organic produce,” Hernandez said.
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“Bukod sa matuto, masaya ako dahil may pagkakataon akong makatulong sa mga taga-Valenzuela City,” he hoped.
“Luntiang Kabuhayan” project aims to educate people of Valenzuela City about farming in the city, as well as to create another source of livelihood for the local residents.
Participants in the project are expected to plant seven different crops and yield two times within the six-month period in their own land properties, which has the minimum size of 1,000 square meters.
Crops include siling pansigang (long chili), ampalaya (bitter gourd), patola (gourd), sitaw (string beans), okra (okra), pechay (Chinese cabbage), and kangkong (river spinach).
When the urban-farming project started on Apr. 6, twelve participants joined compete in terms of number of harvests, sales and innovative way of growing crops.
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Participants in the urban-farming contest can win up to P100,000 for first place, P75,000 for second place, and P50,000 for third place with the sponsorships from East-West Seed Philippines, San Miguel Corporation, and Bureau of Plant Industry (BPI).
In the 6-month competition, Hernandez will utilize his vast land property located in Barangay Bignay, a place no one would imagine that an agricultural land as such could exist due to site and infrastructure development.
“Kaya ako sumali sa Luntiang Kabuhayan ay hindi para sa premyo, para sa akin mas importante na mai-share ko sa mga kababayan ko (mga Valenzuelano) na posible rin tayong magsagawa ng farming dito sa ating lugar,” Hernandez explained.
“Ayaw ko na mahuli ang mga Valenzuelano kaya sumali ako dito (sa Luntiang Kabuhayan). Marami rin akong natutunan sa seminar at pwede ko rin ‘yung i-apply dito sa lupa ko at pwede ko pa lalong mapalawak ang research ko,” he added.
For more information about the “Luntiang Kabuhayan” Project, you may call Ms. Analisa at 291-6895. (Camille Nepomuceno)