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Bacolod City, Philippines Monday, November 18, 2019
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Jet Orbida: Media to farm road

Ninfa Leonardia

The story of Antonio Jesus "Jet” Carballo Orbida is a contemporary nationalistic journey worthy of emulation.

His sincere desire to make life better for humanity has brought him to a unique media to farm road. As a well respected broadcast journalist for Manila TV networks GMA, ABS-CBN, RPN 9, IBC-13, and Manila Radio stations Radio Veritas and DZMM Radio, he acquired a worldview that is the essence of “glocal” thinking. He now operates a farm in Binalbagan, yet his works create positive ripples on a national scale.

In terms of changing perspectives, he said that, “If we stick to the true essence of media work which is to inform and educate, my farming method is also geared towards that mindset. Educating and informing the small and marginalized farmers on new technologies, particularly climate change adaptability. The veteran farmers have all the skills and experience. What they lack are the information on how to adapt to the abnormal weather conditions, and optimizing limited resources, etc.”

In the past seven years, Jet has not only executed his learnings on organic farming but he has also extended his services to co-farmers around the Philippines. He has conducted organic farming and fertilizer production workshops to more than 9,000 farmers all over the country - from far up north like Palaui Island, to far down south in Jolo, Sulu. A substantial number of these farmers included Indigenous Peoples (IPs) from around 20 different tribal groups in the country’s remote mountain communities.

Together with his wife Checcs, he also organized informal settlers around their farm and other small farmers in the town of Binalbagan into a people's organization called PeacePond Farmers Association (PFA), duly registered with the Dept. of Labor and Employment (DOLE) in 2015. Farmer-members do rotational duties and earn rent-free income from projects, such as coco sugar production, VCO production, food processing, organic lunch catering, the PeacePond eco tour, organic farming workshops, livelihood and social enterprise workshops, and handicrafts from recyclable and upcyclable waste.

In 2017, Jet won two awards - Gawad Saka 2017 Outstanding Coconut Farmer for Negros Occidental and Gawad Saka 2017 Outstanding Coconut Farmer for Negros Island Region. In 2018, he went on to win the award for Gawad Saka Outstanding Coconut Farmer for Region 6 and became a Gawad Saka national finalist. His awards for coconut farming are breakthroughs for a province known for its monocrop - sugarcane.

​In 2018, he was given the TESDA NCII Certification for Organic Agriculture Production and ATI’s Certificate of Completion Competency Course and Assessment on Organic Agriculture Production National Certificate II. The same year, PeacePond Farmers Association, of which he is president, won the Gold Prize at the 2018 TOFARM National Search for Outstanding Farmers as Best in Agri-Initiatives because of its innovative farming systems.

In 2019, Jet won as Outstanding Small Individual Farmer in the Regional Organic Agriculture Achievers Award in Region 6. He was also a national finalist for the same category.

​ Jet’s personal statement that “if you do the right thing, the universe will conspire for you to attract positive developments in your life” is manifested in PeacePond, their farm which has become an Integrated Diversified Organic Demo Farm and ATI Learning Site (accredited in June 2016). He said that for him, the way forward is for “PeacePond Farm to help more farmers and influence the youth to take agri courses and convince more city slickers to plant in their limited space. I am also hoping that we can influence policy makers to do the right thing and prevent a looming crisis in the country's food security.”*

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