Temio Lomosbog transformed his family’s land into a thriving organic farm.

By Anna Delza S. Barimbao

For Artemio ‘Temio’ Lomosbog, 72, who has been farming for more than 50 years in Sagbayan, Bohol, life was always hard and he was deprived of what other boys his age enjoyed. Born in 1942, his childhood was marred by the war.

Lomosbog thought devoting his life to farming would keep him poor, but even though their lives weren’t very comfortable, he and his wife were able to send their children to school, and all of them finished college.

It was only in 2012 that he thought of developing his family’s idle land in Sitio Canmayan, which had been a rendezvous area for guerillas during the Japanese invasion of the Philippines. Known as ‘Behind the Clouds’, it was where secret meetings took place during those times. Lomosbog loved the name as he wanted to preserve his connection with the past.

After being inspired by the training sessions on organic agriculture held by the municipal agriculturist’s office (MAO) and the Bohol Island State University (BISU), Lomosbog chose to develop the idle and unproductive land. He invited a technician to evaluate his area for organic farming. The positive assessment of the technicians motivated him to pursue his plans.

With the help of his daughter, an overseas Filipino worker in Canada who shared his vision of developing the land, he started to plant native papaya intercropped with pepper in a one-hectare area. Lomosbog’s farm is the first and only ‘Third Party-Certified’ organic farm in the province of Bohol.

Surrounded by mountains, the farm has an adequate buffer zone, and was not at risk of being contaminated by chemicals from other farms. Before the 7.2 magnitude earthquake that devastated Bohol in 2013, ‘Behind the Clouds,’ abounded with spring water, but the tremor shut down the natural founts. Yet this did not discourage Lomosbog from pursuing his dream, and soon enough, he found another water source for his farm.

The deadly 2013 earthquake also ravaged his crops to the point where he thought they were all going to die as the leaves had turned yellow. What saved his crops was his organic formulation. Upon the advice of the consultant from BISU, Lomosbog mixed 20 liters of water with one liter of molasses and sprayed it on the plants. He also applied fish amino acid with molasses. To his surprise, the crops were revived. The experience reinforced his belief in organic farming.

Lomosbog’s linkage with a non-government organization led him to be the first to devise and implement an indigenous processor for wood vinegar production. Wood vinegar is a Japanese technology developed in the 1950s. It is used as a foliar spray to eliminate fungus and is a natural insecticide, an enhancer for compost-making, and a soil conditioner. Elements in the wood vinegar serve as co-enzymes or catalysts that eliminate papaya pests and diseases.

Adding value to his produce is in the pipeline. He is now developing papaya wine which is medicinal rather than alcoholic. Made of organic papaya, the wine is a rich source of carotene, which is known to help prevent cancer.

Lomosbog said he will be linking with the Department of Trade and Industry and the Department of Science and Technology to improve his basic formulation and packaging, as he plans to market his organic papaya wine internationally.

Lomosbog with his improvised wood vinegar processing chamber.

He is also developing organic coco vinegar, which is selling very well in the local market. Another project Lomosbog has in mind is to expand the 29-hectare farm, phase by phase, by planting other crops such as malunggay, bugnay,and tanglad for a future processing venture.

His daughter is also bringing in a staff member of the International Organic Accreditation body so that the farm can attain international organic certification.

As a showcase of organic technology, Lomosbog’s farm has become a learning site for students and farmers.

Age certainly didn’t stand in the way of Lomosbog’s achievement.

This story appeared as “The First Third Party-Certified Organic Farm in Bohol” in Agriculture Monthly’s July 2014 issue.