DILIMAN, Quezon City—Exploring the wonders of agriculture, whether for sustenance, hobby, or livelihood, can be productive in the long-term, provided that one adheres and commits to the needs of the land, the crops, and the overall farm operations.
In a radio interview, retired broadcast journalist and Gorgeous Farms owner Thelma Dumpit-Murillo talked about how their farm venture started as a weekend activity and became a family business. At present, their farm is a Learning Site for Agriculture of the Agricultural Training Institute (ATI), farm tourism site of the Department of Tourism, and farm school of the Technical Education and Skills Development Authority.
“You have to treat it [farming] as a business if you want it to last long. For our part, we asked for guidance from experts,” Dumpit-Murillo shared, adding that she had no background when she started in farming and had no idea how to grow plants and raise farm animals.
Currently, their focus is growing passion fruit which started when they were thinking of something unique to produce. Aside from the fact that it does not require high maintenance, passion fruit already has an established export market.
According to the broadcaster-turned-farmer, growing passion fruit takes about six months. From then on, harvesting is continuous for at least three years.
Meanwhile, Gorgeous Farms also adopts alternative solutions to challenges posed by climate change especially because their passion fruit plantation relies mainly on rain. These include storing rainwater that can be utilized during dry seasons, as well as practicing integrated nutrient and pest management techniques to address the increasing cost of fertilizer and other farm inputs.
In the latter part of the interview, Dumpit-Murillo encouraged enthusiasts to pursue farming even with just small space. She added that the involvement of family members may also help reduce labor cost.
The nine-hectare Gorgeous Farms is located along KM 68 Tagaytay-Nasugbu Highway in Laurel, Batangas. Aside from passion fruit, they also grow rambutan, avocado, and other fruit and native trees. They also raise native pigs, ducks, cows, carabaos, among others.
As a farm tourism site, they can accommodate reservations good for 20 to 30 persons in their spacious five-room stay-over facility for guests.
Dumpit-Murillo’s interview was aired on the ATI’s “Agri Asenso” program on DZRH last March 18, 2023. Visit https://fb.watch/jwMrYF4Qa0/ for the full episode.