He couldn’t hide the smile on his face when asked how organic farming transformed his life, that of his family and the farmers in their community. At 60, Arthur Jurada, who started with organic farming in 1994, in a time when most people had turned their backs on the idea, is a personification of the multi-dimensional impacts of a farming system that is becoming more appealing now among the farmers, consumers, policy-makers and development organizations in our concerted efforts to address climate change and COVID-19.
This soft-spoken, utterly humble and trustworthy farmer leader from Mlang attained the following:
- Improved quality of life – Arthur and his wife, Betty, have gradually transformed their once bamboo hut (I can still remember visiting their house in 2009 when it was not as it is now) into a fully concrete 90 square meters house.
- Sent their two children to college – the eldest, Lotlot, is a public school teacher and the youngest, Bobet, had a good career in a construction company but proudly decided to follow Arthur’s footsteps. Know more about Bobet from this link: http://agroecophilippines.org/he-made-the-right-decision-of-his-life-become-a-farmer/
- Increased his 1 ½ hectare land by 100 percent as a result of his disciplined and Spartan-like lifestyle.
- Consistently maintains, for the past two decades, a community-based seed conservation program where 200 traditional and farmer-bred rice varieties and conserved and improved, providing the organic farmers in the provinces of North Cotabato, South Cotabato, Sarangani, Sultan Kudarat and several parts of Mindanao with free access to resilient and high-quality seeds https://sehen-und-handeln.ch/saatgut/.
- Most importantly, Arthur rallied the members of their organization, BUSAFO, to untie themselves from the grip of the traders and middlemen through their social enterprise program http://agroecophilippines.org/the-social-benefits-of-consuming-organic-rice/. Arthur is very good in financial management. He maybe soft-spoken but he raises his voice and does not tolerate any form of corruption.
Parallel to these achievements, Arthur remains a highly committed Lay Minister at their Chapel and regularly trains the young farmers in their community together with his son Bobet. The children fondly called him ‘Daddy’ in their fascinating Ilonggo accent.