Share on facebook
Share on twitter
Share on email


Share on facebook
Share on twitter
Share on email

They do not mind getting their hands dirty. They do not mind getting soaked in sweat. They toil and tend the farm knowing that no food can be brought to the table if agriculture does not exist. They are Agribusiness Management students of the University of St. La Salle who belong to the Green Ranchers Club.

Melnor Magan, Philip Divinagracia and John Mark Contrevida, all freshmen Agribusiness Management students, are among GRC members who are selling their products at the 10th Agribusiness Trade Fair in the campus.

Magan brought his newly-harvested Rosso and Bionda lettuce to the fair, which he sells for only P35 per cup. His month-old lettuce came from his improvised 2 by 4 feet bed-type greenhouse that is, according to him about 8 feet in height. Magan uses hydroponics or soil-less technology to grow lettuce in his backyard in Mansilingan.    

According to him, he has always been interested in agriculture, but the lockdowns at the height of the pandemic made him value and take it more seriously by pursuing an Agribiz degree.

The USLS Green Ranchers Club of the Department of Agribusiness Management with department chair Bea Emma Bachinela, faculty members Kristina Alpon, Jaime Ciron, Rodel Clavite and Yasss! at the 10th Agribiz Trade Fair in USLS Bacolod. Also in the photo are representatives of the Philippine Carabao Center, UPLB College of Agriculture & Food Science – La Granja, PhilRice, Negros Stingless Bee Keepers Association, Bee’s Betta and Aquaric Fishes and other partners*

“We should remember how difficult it was for all of us to move around and get food at the height of the pandemic. Through backyard and urban farming, we can grow and produce our own food that is healthy,” stressed Magan.

Divinagracia on the other hand, sells organic soil mix, while his classmate Contrevida makes starter kits for those who want to try growing vegetable seeds like tomato, eggplant and pechay in small in small corners of their homes.

“We need to educate people about the importance of growing their own food and we must also teach them how to do it,” said Contrevida.

The aim of the Agribusiness Department is to develop future agripreneurs. An agripreneur is an entrepreneur whose business is agriculture or agriculture-related.

Bea Emma Bachinela, department chair, likened the trade fair to a harvest festival in an academic setting. “We promote sustainability and equality among farmer-producers in our trade fairs. We want to highlight a specific producer or agribusiness in the fair that is why we only have one exhibitor for every sector. It is also the aim of the department to develop the students’ marketing skills. Everything that they are doing is part of the curriculum. Like in the Governance and Corporate Social Responsibility class, the students promote good agricultural practices like the farm-to-table approach,” explained Bachinela.

A beekeeper harvesting honey from stingless bees in a bee farm in Barangay Alangilan, Bacolod City; at right, throat spray that contains propolis and pure honey from Tetragonula Biroi or stingless bees*
AgriBiz Management freshman Melnor Magan and his newly-harvested Rosso and Biando lettuce grown in cups through hydroponics*

Livestock and poultry students sold fresh seafood and poultry products, while their partner farmers from Don Salvador Benedicto made organically grown fresh fruits and vegetables within reach of students, faculty and guests of the university.

The Philippine Carabao Center joined the fair for the first time. Fresh carabao milk can be bought at PCC’s kiosk. The strawberry-flavored carabao milk is my favorite. Other flavors include pandan, ube, chocolate and mango.  Keziah Jamison, Science Research Specialist II said the center’s goal is to be able to reach out to students to whom they want to promote agribusiness.

“We want to engage the youth in farming and agribusiness. Also, we want them to realize the importance and see the potential of dairy farming which is a class of agriculture for long-term production of milk. We are worried that most people have forgotten the importance of agriculture so there is also a growing concern about food safety,” said Jamison.

Starter kits that contain vegetable seed, organic soil mix and cups for those who want to try their hands at urban farming; right, students enjoy watching and taking photos of dwarf hamsters and rabbits at the fair*
Carabao’s milk in different flavors, organic coffee, fresh seafood, a variety of vegetables and fruits can be purchased at the trade fair*

A kiosk at the fair displays bottles of organic honey from Tetragonula Biroi, or stingless that are native to the Philippines and are cultivated in farms to both produce honey and pollinate coconut trees. Michelle Faith Escollar, 2022 Young Farmers Challenge Winner (Production Category) of the Department of Agriculture and a member of the Negros Stingless Bee Keepers Association said stingless honey bees produce honey with a unique kind of sweetness.

An article published on the National Library of Medicine’s website stated that propolis has a lot of health benefits related to allergies and gastrointestinal disorders. Propolis is a resin-like material made by bees from the buds of popular cone-bearing trees. Bees use it to build hives.

“This throat spray contains propolis. It is a remedy for sore throat. It is very relaxing to the throat. The honey in bottles on the other hand, is a good substitute to table sugar because it is all natural and it has anti-bacterial and anti-microbial properties. This is good for people with diabetes or those who take maintenance medicines,” said Escollar.

Students visiting the fair enjoy taking photos of the animals on display including rabbits, dwarf hamsters and different fish species. I was not able to keep myself from asking the staff of Bee’s Betta and Aquatic Fishes to allow me to pet one of their New Zealand Rabbits.

In a very Internet-driven age, the youth must be more engaged in agriculture because it is the key to a future that is food secure. If the young generation wants to make a difference, then they should value farming even more because it gives them the opportunity to make a dent in society by growing organic food that is enough to feed the world.*


Read Article by date

June 2023

Get your copy of the Visayan Daily Star everyday!

Avail of the FREE 30-day trial.