Modern Ag Helps Reduce Poverty


Global Farmer Network member Adriel Dave “AD” Alvarez from the Philippines is on a mission in more than one sense.

The son of a minister, AD felt a calling several years ago to help in the Camotes Islands.  It’s a small group of islands in the Camotes Seas that happens to be situated nearly in the middle of the archipelagic country, and home to a bit over 100,000 people who make a living by farming, fishing, and tourism.

It was agriculture that caught the attention of AD.  As he says:

“In 2012, after learning more about Camotes and the centrality of agriculture in its economy, I finally figured that agriculture will be the key to help people. The more I learn, the more I appreciate the power of farming and what it can do to transform the life of the people on this island. Then I finally got introduced to modern technology in farming and started learning more. I found out that if I could increase the yield of crops produced per hectare, the economic value of farming would follow. I started bringing in better variety seeds, more effective farming techniques, maximizing available information on the internet to monitor the weather, and many other technologies. The farmers on the island were very hesitant to what I am doing and even became my strongest critics. A classic clash between traditional and modern.”

So using a farm locaton near the center of town, AD himself put into practice himself what he was trying to teach and the demonstration proved successful as everyone could see for themselves.

From the size of the corn ears, many farmers were amazed by the huge difference of our fields compared to theirs. From the usual yield of 600 kg per hectare, our yield was 2,000 kg per hectare and we were still a novice in farming. I did more research and further learning. Finally in 2016 we were recognized as Most Outstanding Corn Farmer in Cebu province for having an average yield of almost 8MT per hectare. The following year, we were also awarded the Most Outstanding Corn Farmer in Region 7 (Cebu, Bohol, Siquijor, Negros Oriental). Our story became a byword among the farmers in Camotes. That was a breakthrough accomplishment for our mission work as it opened the minds of the farmers that this can be done and we have shown it right in front of them. Our field as our classroom and our actual corn as the teacher.”

There’s still more to the story, and the rest as told by AD himself can be seen at a Facebook page Camotes Mission: Continuing the Journey.

There’s also a recent post Iowa Youth Institute Puts Spotlight on World Hunger at the Latham Hi-Tech Seeds website that expands a bit on AD’s story which was the inspiraton for a paper at the World Food Prize Iowa Youth Institute on April 29.  It’s an encouraging read and well worth two-minutes of your time to look at – click here.

Adriel Dave 'AD' Alvarez

Adriel Dave 'AD' Alvarez

Farms in a group of small islands called Camotes Islands in Cebu, Philippines. The farm is 8 hectares and they rent 25-35 hectares for corn production. The mission of the farm is connected to community development and the idea of using farming as a tool to help other farmers improve their techniques to get them out of poverty.

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