FAO names Filipina model farmerBy Ronnel W. Domingo |Philippine Daily Inquirer
A Filipina from Camarines Sur was named this year’s “Model Farmer” along with three others from the Asia Pacific region, as the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) observed World Food Day on Wednesday.
The FAO’s regional office in Thailand cited Myrna Conigo Asor for her achievements in organic farming and the training she provides to fellow farmers and to agriculture students.
Asor received the award as did another woman from Tonga and two men from Thailand and Bhutan. All four awardees were recognized for their contribution to agriculture and food production.
This came as the Department of Agriculture (DA) on Thursday led the push for greater adoption among farmers of organic and natural farming methods as part of efforts to ensure a safe and sustainable food supply.
About 2,500 people attended the opening of the 10th National Organic Agriculture Congress at the Philippine International Convention Center in Pasay City, being held simultaneously with the 1st Philippine Natural and Organic Products Expo.
According to the FAO, Asor grows some 50 varieties of organic rice and leads an association of 23 farming families in Goa town, mostly headed by women and all using organic methods.
The mother of six turned to organic farming in 2002 after a nongovernment organization that promotes organic farming visited her community.
From then, and with additional help from the DA and the local government, Asor learned how to make natural fertilizer, create a seed bank and apply integrated pest management.
She turned to multi-cropping to make her five-hectare farm more self-sufficient.
She also grows vegetables and fruits, processes other farm products into pili pulp oil fermented juices, and tends cattle, goats and fish.