Mr. Joselito “Ka Tolits” Tambalo and Mr. Tirso “Ka Tirso” Martirez, farmer-leaders in the Pambansang Samahan ng mga Maliliit na Magsasaka para sa Likas-Kayang Pananakahan (SAKAHAN), left June 1 for Shinjo Village in Japan to begin a six-month organic agriculture exchange program organized by the Association of Medical Doctors of Asia (AMDA).
Shinjo Village, located in Okayama, Japan, is where AMDA grows an organic farm of rice and vegetables such as potatoes, carrots, eggplant and tomatoes. There are less than 1,000 people living in Shinjo, and it is considered one of the 100 best villages in Japan. The idea behind the exchange program is for the participating farmers to learn and share their own expertise on sustainable and organic farming at an organic farming seminar. The longer term goal is to help increase food production through organic farming in Asia, leading to healthier families and higher-earning farmers. Throughout the six-month training, Ka Tolits and Ka Tirso will expand their understanding of organic farming through hands-on work, university lectures, field trips to composting centers and dairy farms, just to name a few. Additionally, they will join the local people in community gatherings such as the traditional Japanese summer festival and mountain festival. Even within their first few days of arriving, the farmers had a ceremony of planting paddy rice and releasing ducklings in the rice fields.
Ka Tolits is presently the Chairman of Kalipunan para sa Likas-Kayang Pananakahan sa Hilagang Distrito ng Nueva Ecija (KALIKASAN-NE). Additionally, he is the Vice-Chairman of Kooperatibang Likas ng Nueva Ecija (KOOL-NE) and a Trustee for RR Trade. He was previously a member of the Board of Trustees of the Philippine Rural Reconstruction Movement (PRRM).
Ka Tirso is a founding member and officer of the Rinconada Movement for Environment and Sustainable Agriculture (RINCOMESA), a producer of organic fertilizers, and a trainer on organic/sustainable agriculture.
March 8, 2014, Cocoon Boutique Hotel
Quezon City, Philippines