Laguna’s pioneer in agri-business: Ato Belen’s Farm

Brian Belen (left) and his father, Renato "Ato" Belen (right).

The farm was established in 1987 when Renato “Ato” Belen found an opportunity to propagate and provide coffee seedlings for one of his friends. Afterwards, he began to look for other opportunities in agriculture. 

Ato Belen then gathered insights from potential clients, sought advice of seedling propagators, and attended training seminars offered by the Department of Agriculture. 

He then transformed his plant nursery into a full-blown business by establishing an orchard, plots of land to grow vegetables and facilities for raising livestock.

An inside view of a greenhouse.

Currently, Ato Belen’s Farm is managed by his fourth child, Brian A. Belen, and is not only engaged in agricultural production of crops, animals, and organic inputs, but also with operations on agritourism and knowledge management services. 

“We consider ourselves as an integrated, diversified farm from being a supplier of propagated planting materials, we have now grown into a business with an interest in crop production, animal production, and now we’re venturing into services such as agri-tourism services, knowledge management services, and trainings,” Brian Belen said. 

The farm grows vegetables organically, propagates different varieties of fruit tree seedlings from rambutan, lanzones, and other tropical fruit trees. They also propagate forestry seedlings for farmers who would like to build bunkers zones in their farms. 

Livestock animals such as pigs, goats, and poultry can also be seen in the organic family farm. 

Due to its practice of organic food production, Ato Belen’s Farm offers organic agriculture-based trainings as well as other aspects in agribusiness that needs focus. 

“For example most of our farmers nowadays are well-trained or experts when it comes to technology, when it comes to production. But the gap really is marketing their produce, managing their businesses, or keeping compliance with government policies, etc.,” Brian Belen said. 

Ato Belen’s Farm is a DOT accredited farm site in region IV-A and a Regional Extension Service Provider of the ATI. 

Brian Belen said that although the farm has a lecture hall where he could lay down the basics of farming for the farm guests and students, he prefers that they experience the process first-hand around the farm because they consider the whole property as a workshop area.

There are different areas that are dedicated to a specific type of production located all around the farm. There’s a piggery farm, areas for pollen production and egg production, as well as a space assigned to the organic concoctions that they use on the farm itself. 

“When it comes to agricultural technology, it’s very important that our students are able to practice right away following the learning by doing principle, Brian Belen said.” 

Presently, Brian Belen said that they are working towards developing the farm in order to accommodate more people for their learning programs and to house guests who want to visit their farm. 

To learn more about Ato Belen’s Farms and its training programs, visit the farm’s website

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