SORSOGON City, Feb. 2, 2015 – A septuagenarian farmer, who pioneered grafted pili agriculture in the country in 1987 bagged The Outstanding Farmers of the Philippines (TOFARM) 2014 top prize during the awards night at the Shangri-La Manila on Jan. 30.
Jose E. Amador, who was able to send his two children to college by running a pili farm, was declared TOFARM 2014 Farmer of the Year for growing crops that can bear fruit for over a hundred years without fertilizer and pesticides.
“For 27 years, my pili trees did not need fertilizer,” he said. “No pest has infested [them], except for the ants I found later. Good for them.”
According to the former public utility driver, pili is a centenarian tree, which grows and bears fruits without human intervention.
“All they do is give you fruits for a century, unlike my lemon trees that need replanting after about 10 years,” he said. “This is the ideal crop for the climate in Sorsogon with year-round rainfall, and for my age.”
The pili tree releases resin from its branches, trunk, and leaves that kills weeds that compete for nutrients in the soil, said Esteven D. Garcia, an agriculturist in the province.
Garcia described Amador’s agriculture, which earned the province national recognition, as “pioneering, organic, innovative, and sustainable” — something that other local farmers could replicate.
Amador sells his de-pulped pili at Php 40 a kilo to pili nut processors in Sorsogon. His 800 trees give him 300 to 500 kilos of de-pulped pili in a month.
His two children were able to study medicine and marketing because of profit earned from growing pili nuts on the Amadors’ 12-hectare farm in barangay Guinlajon, Sorsogon City.
Eight fully mature pili trees can fund a child’s college education, Garcia added.
Amador led the other 55 awardees of TOFARM, which is a joint project of the Junior Chamber International (JCI) and Universal Harvester Inc. (UHI) that aims to inspire, identify, and recognize outstanding farmers in the Philippines.
Dr. Milagros Ong How, UHI Executive Vice President, said: “We want to show our farmers that support for them is always present, and that their efforts will always be recognized and put to good use.” (Oliver Samson/CBCPNews)