Offering greater opportunities:
AGRO-TOURISM THROUGH FARM DIVERSIFICATION
“A drop of water is worth more than a bag of gold to a thirsty man.”
This particular quote motivates Daryl Ann M. Gonzales, a 26-year-old farmer from Bukidnon, to pursue her dreams. And even with a year of experience in the agro-tourism business, her eagerness to learn and her innate curiosity in coming up with innovations helped in further utilizing the area.
“The farm gets a boost with the development of agri-tourism through farm diversification,” shared Gonzales, the Assistant Manager of RH Ranch and Resort.
An inviting beauty
Located in Kalasungay, Malaybalay City, Bukidnon, the RH Ranch and Resort is a promising agri-tourism farm that offers viable tourism and agriculture activities that will lift the young farmer-agripreneur’s earning potential. Surrounded by grand trees, its teeming green surroundings invites every human to revel in its majestic beauty.
The farm offers inland aquaculture with an African catfish hatchery and an electric-free aquaponics system that uses a ramp pump to supply water to the grow beds instead of the electric or solar-powered water pump. Its natural source of water, livestock, poultry, and high-value crops are other advantageous features of the farm. It also has a continuous supply of fish stocks through its seven fishponds that sustain the livelihood of its workers.
“You’re helping yourself, and at the same time, you’re helping another household,” said Gonzales, referring to employing five households from the indigenous people’s (IP) community in Malaybalay.
Maintaining effectivity and efficiency
Although hito or catfish production is becoming increasingly common, not many people know that innovations using its wastewater can fertilize and sustain its aquaponics.
To further strengthen her advocacies, the accreditation of her farm as a learning site with the Department of Agriculture – Agricultural Training Institute (DA-ATI) is ongoing. She also attended training sessions with the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) and the ATI to capacitate herself.
“We have free-range chicken, and we sell our heritage chick at Php 120 per piece and Php 30 for eggs. Sometimes, nagse-sell na rin kami nung trio—dalawang female at isang rooster.”
Aside from poultry, they have cows for milking and horses for her plans to eventually offer trail rides. Gonzales’ farm also has free-range chicken, livestock, and even high-value crops.
Agro-tourism in the time of COVID-19 and beyond
With the restrictions caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, the proposed agro-tourism spot continues to offer nature at its best, where guests can relax, commune with nature, and even educate themselves with agriculture.
Her business boosts the employment and food security program, heeding the call of the DA. Importantly, it offers a new perspective of livelihood toward an inclusive and sustainable economic development.
“For my fellow ka-agribiz, mga kabataan ngayon, let us venture in farming . Because sa farming, nandito tayo kikita. Kung gusto niyo talaga, yayaman dito talaga sa farming,” Gonzales appealed.
She further shared, “Aside from farming, you are helping your family and yourself. You can also help people with your innovations para aangat tayong lahat.”
Gonzales is one of the finalists from the Northern Mindanao Region for the Young Farmers Challenge Fund (YFCF) Program. She hopes that her proposal will get a positive nod that will impact more lives within and outside their locality. ###