FOR LILIA Caburnay, farming is more than just knowing how to till the farm. One must also equip himself/herself with the latest farming know-how to truly enjoy a bountiful harvest.
Nang Lilia, as her peers fondly call her, took this to heart as she found herself spending her idle moments attending farming seminars and/or workshops to enrich her knowledge about the latest technology that she could apply in her two-hectare farm in Barangay Canlumanpao, Toledo, Cebu. The Department of Agrarian Reform (DAR) awarded the said farmlot to her in 1997 under the Comprehensive Agrarian Reform Program (CARP).
Whatever she is lacking in physical strength, Nang Lilia makes up for it with farming know-how, believing that, to borrow the famous line of the late media practitioner Ernie Baron, “knowledge is power.”
Among the government-sponsored training programs that she had attended included the “Long Season Farmers’ Field School in Banana Production,” the “Integrated Rice Technology Demonstration” and the “Trainers on Extension Delivery System for Agricultural Extension Workers and Barangay Agricultural Workers.”
These trainings and seminars helped double her harvests from her farm where various kinds of cash crops are growing, like mango, banana, eggplant, calamansi and camote root crops.
From her 600 fruit-bearing calamansi and 32 mango trees, she is earning around P24,000 annually, while gaining just as much from her other cash crops.
Her husband, Ricardo, has been attending their ricefield, from which they earned average income of P31,500 last year. She said it was made possible with the help of their cooperative, the Bulahan Canlumampao Multi-Purpose Cooperative (Bucampuco) through its farm implements that it rents out to farmer-members. Nang Lilia is the chairperson of the said cooperative.
The lady farmer, however, is not contented with what she had learned. She even took one step further when she made her own innovations, combining newfound farming techniques with personal experiences she gained from her father, a farmer himself.
“Farming is really my passion. It runs through our family. That is why I always attend seminars to enhance my farming knowledge by combining new techniques with past experiences,” she confides.
Her feat caught the attention of the government, with the Department of Agriculture citing her as an “outstanding rice farmer in Cebu in May 2010.
Already a full-pledged farmer-entrepreneur, the mother of eight couldn’t ask for more as she is happy to see her children grow through the “fruits of her labor.” Four of her children have already finished their studies, the eldest is a graduate of Hotel and Restaurant Management, the second a teacher, the third an agriculturist and the fourth a police aspirant.
Everything, she says, was made possible through hard work and perseverance.