In meeting with different regional government agencies there have been some really fantastic tours. One of these which I had to make sure I had my camera for was with the National Irrigation Administration (NIA), which, in addition to serving agricultural demands for water, works in developing rural communities and empowering farming communities with policy, best practices, organization, and knowledge sharing.
We spent the morning of our meeting touring a training / organizing site for farmers (where we got to talk about the biophysical watershed inventory) in the western section of the Iloilo Bioregion and then went on to a sustainable demo farm.
Farmer's training/organizing center
A pair of Native Chickens which are part of a learning exhibit on how these birds are better adapt at being raised (and are just plain tastier!) than conventional chickens in this area.
A rice mill donated by a Japanese development agency that is designed to work with a type of rice that doesn't grow well in this area of the Philippines - a costly mismatch of 'project fit'. Now it just sits in the corner of the stock room.
Talking about the crossover of watershed health and what NIA studies and services over coffee (instant coffee, which is common in/around Iloilo anywhere - office, restaurant, home - except for coffee houses)
Heading to the demo farm we come by a trike (motorcycle + sidecar) with twelve people were on this one!
arriving not quite at the farm
a few rice paddies later we arrive!
The farm, while just a few acres in size, maximizes the efficiency of their crops allowing the owner and 3-5 employees to earn middle-class level incomes. The NIA believes that this model is an accessible and affordable model for farmers in the Philippines that will greatly improve their overall yields, increase rural income, make the Western Visayas the national leader in rice production, and deliver a great blow to rural poverty in the country.
The farm is set-up to maximize the benefits that different crops and animals can provide for each other. In this aguacultural set-up the fish waste fertilizes the squash and the squash, by taking up these nutrients, keep the fish safe and allows for better food to grow in with the fish
koi, tilapia, and greens
main chicken coop - they keep most of the birds in their at any given time but circulate them regularly to spacious areas around the farm where they de-bug and fertilize the crops
A new mother in the middle of bringing new piglets into the world
And here are the ones that have come out so far - adorable!
chickens fenced-into a rice paddy
its a pretty good sized space
feeding time - just in case some of them aren't the best hunters / they're just so effective at eating bugs they're running low!
Chicken-nesting area - the elevated baskets allow for the warm, tropical air to heat the eggs from below while the hen warms them from above, increasing the yield of chickens from each set of eggs laid
Egg-rearing in action
Functional? Possibly. Either way I think it's awesome!
best farm hand ever! well - at least cutest
a crowd of tilapia/koi pound with a huge catfish passing through
a slightly smaller catfish to the one in the pond
farm fresh papayas!