The challenges in an agroforestry farm and how to overcome them

An assortment of trees are planted in BAFF.

Binahon Agroforestry Farm, also known as BAFF, is an agroforestry farm in Lantapan, Bukidnon that has been in business for 28 years. 

Since it started in 1992, the farm has continued to innovate and accommodate new ideas in farming to keep up with the changing times as well as the market. 

Henry Binahon, the co-founder of the farm, shared that despite the farm’s success, it was not without any challenges. Here are some of the trials that he and his wife/co-founder Perla faced and what they did to overcome them: 

1. High cost of farm input – Using farm inputs are necessary in securing the development of the plants; but these always come with a price. To minimize cost, Henry said to follow natural farming approaches and use available resources to avoid becoming too dependent on suppliers. A good way to earn income, in the meantime, is to capitalize on local planting materials.

2. Pest infestation – A common problem among farms is the presence of pests that damage the plants it feeds on. One way to respond to this, aside from using pesticides, is to diversify the farming system. 

“This is to balance the farm ecosystem by maintaining prey and predator relationships in the food chain and farm micro ecosystem,” Henry said. 

3. Farm to market roads – Farms located in far-flung areas have trouble accessing the market because of the distance and possibly even the roads that lead to it. Henry advised that aside from requesting government agencies to help out, making an initiative sometimes does the trick. 

“We repair and maintain roads going to our farm with our own expense. Now, the Department of Tourism is working to support tourism destinations,” he said.

4. Price and marketing – There are many brands products present in the market, thus having a lot of competitors. In order to stand out, Henry said that it’s best to make your product stand out by creating unique ones. Meanwhile, processing and value-adding produce can also add to a farm’s profits. When it comes to long-term income and sustainability, he said that it’s best to plant trees.

Read all about Binahon Agroforestry Farm here

This appeared in Agriculture Monthly’s November to December 2020 issue. 

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