Getting to know the application of organic fertilizer to plants and several tips on how to become a successful farmer. 

by Julio P. Yap, Jr.

Christopher Astillo, an electrical engineer turned farmer, among the Green Cool F1 hybrid Chinese cabbage at his farm in Lantapan, Bukidnon.

Instead of pursuing his profession as an electrical engineer, 31-year-old Christopher Astillo of Old Kibangay in Lantapan, Bukidnon, decided to become a farmer.

Now, he is now known locally as one of the successful and energetic farmers in Lantapan town, where farming has remained a dominant economic activity among the Lantapanons.

Lantapan is located on a plateau in the heart of the province, which is situated between the Kalatungan and Kitanglad mountain ranges. Trading activities in the town include wholesale buying of vegetables by the traders from within Lantapan, neighboring towns in Bukidnon and Cagayan de Oro City. Known as the “vegetable basket” of Mindanao, Lantapan is a first class municipality in Bukidnon.

Incidentally, Bukidnon is considered the largest vegetable producing province in the Northern Mindanao region in terms of production area and volume of production.

The foliar fertilizer intensifies the tolerance of the hybrid conical pepper variety against soil-borne foliage diseases, as well as bolstering the tolerance of the cabbage variety for viruses and bacterial soft rot.

A GOOD CHOICE

At present, Astillo is cultivating Clarabel F1 hybrid conical pepper and Green Cool F1 hybrid Chinese cabbage at his farm. Astillo opted to plant the two varieties due to the climatic conditions of Lantapan, which are relatively cool and humid because the town has an elevation of around 600 meters or 2,000 feet, which is very ideal for the two crops.

He now has about 25,000 hills of conical pepper and roughly 10,000 hills of the cabbage variety. From his farm, he says they can harvest about 300 kilos of vegetables every five days.

When asked as to how he can maintain the considerable volume of the harvest from his farm, Astillo says he uses Amino Plus Foliar Fertilizer, an organic fertilizer, to nourish his plants.

The application of Amino Plus, following the recommended methods and rates of application, is done every week. Its nutrients, which contribute to the proper nutrition of the plants, resulted in the production and harvest of better vegetables.

The input was introduced to Astillo by Gregie Viaje, a farm technician from the Global Green Organic Fertilizer, Inc., makers of the Amino Plus Foliar Fertilizer. According to Astillo, Viaje explained that damage to agricultural crops could be prevented or minimized with the proper application of the organic farm input.

Viaje added that farmers like Astillo are now shifting their production from the conventional to the organic way of vegetable production to answer the increasing demand for the latter from consumers.

Astillo says that the present trend in agriculture is towards the production of safe and clean foods brought about by the increasing awareness of the consumers about the health benefits, as well as the risks, of eating unsafe and unhealthy food products.

The conventional way of growing of vegetables involves the use of commercially manufactured fertilizers and chemicals. Organic vegetables, on the other hand, are grown with minimum reliance on artificial inputs and higher level of management. The maintenance and feeding of the soil, not only of the plants, should also be considered.

Plants that were sprayed with Amino Plus became more resistant to diseases and stresses. Astillo says that Amino Plus Foliar Fertilizer strengthened the tolerance of Green Cool F1 hybrid Chinese cabbage variety to viruses and bacterial soft rot. The foliar fertilizer also intensifies the tolerance of the Clarabel F1 hybrid conical pepper variety to soil-borne foliage diseases.

When sprayed, it effectively adheres to the plant’s surface and provides quick supplementation.

This story appeared in Agriculture Monthly’s March 2017 issue.