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Young Bicolano farmer excels in farming entrepreneurship

NAGA CITY, Camarines Sur (PIA) – At the young age of 26, Diosdado “Dhadz” Culiat Jr. has already established a farm tourism destination in Ocampo, Camarines Sur. 

The Dhadz Integrated Farm is recognized by the Agricultural Training Institute (ATI) as a site for learning agriculture. 

The farm features a half-hectare American-concept garden that produces nine commodities through integrated farming techniques. 

A corner of the Dhadz Farm. (Photo courtesy of Dhadz Culiat Jr.)
A view of the Dhadz Farm. (Photo courtesy of Dhadz Culiat Jr.)
A view of the Dhadz Farm. (Photo courtesy of Dhadz Culiat Jr.)

Culiat said his farm offers several services such as agri-tourism campaigns, landscaping assets, tilapia fisheries production, seedling production, free-range chicken farming, and high-value crop production of cucumber, tomatoes, herbs, and lettuce. 

Culiat also sells handmade bamboo craft products and organic insecticides called “wood vinegar,” which he manufactures using bamboo waste. 

The Department of Agriculture-ATI has defined several parameters for institutionalizing a learning site for agriculture. One of these parameters is the utilization and practice of both modern and old farming technologies. 

Since he started in 2020, Culiat has invested his money in incorporating both modern and traditional techniques into his farming practices.

Culiat is one of the 10 beneficiaries of the 'Youth Internship Program on Organic Farming' in the Bicol region. 

This internship is part of the Organic Agriculture (OA) Program of the ATI and is aimed at empowering young people to become agripreneurs by providing them with the necessary skills and a comprehensive approach to a startup project. 

In collaboration with the Technical Education and Skills Development Authority, the government has provided Culiat and the other beneficiaries with a sum of P150,000 since the program began on March 20, 2023. The internship is set to end in December. 

Culiat has gained valuable knowledge about urban agricultural concepts from the series of OA trainings. 

He has applied this knowledge to develop his farm, embracing discipline in agricultural business and becoming wise in production and operational costs while maintaining a high return of income. 

Even during the pandemic, Culiat has continued to promote his scenic agri-tourism farm on social media while landscaping and farming at the same time. 

Despite facing financial difficulties, Culiat's love for agriculture

has only grown stronger with the opportunities provided by the internship. 

However, his success in agribusiness did not come easily. He was forced to stop his education after only one year of studying Architecture at the University of Nueva Caceres. 

He lost his father in 2021, who had founded their small business of bamboo handicraft. The pandemic was at its peak at that time. 

His five elder siblings had already moved to other places for work, earning enough to support their own families. 

His mother was left struggling to make ends meet, with other children still studying in the family. 

Over the following years, he switched jobs in different private companies. 

He used his hard-earned income to enroll in a short-term course on computer and electronics technology, which awarded him a diploma. 

Despite his busy work schedule, he never let go of his passion for landscaping.

He had been interested in it since high school when he would watch his father plant trees and maintain lawns and shrubs. 

Bird's-eye view of Dhadz Farm. (Photo courtesy of Dhadz Culiat Jr.)
A feature in the Dhadz Farm. (Photo courtesy of Dhadz Culiat Jr.)
The ATI team vists the newly identified learning site for agriculture, Dhadz Integrated Farm, owned by Diodado “Dhadz” Culiat Jr. sometime in February. Photo from ATI Bicol
Ten grantees under the Youth Internship for Organic Farming after the signing of memorandum of aggreement with the Department of Agriculture’s Agricultural Training Institute – Regional Training Center V (DA-ATI Bicol) and 5 farm partners in March 2023 at Isarog Hall, ATI-RTC V, San Agustin, Pili, Camarines Sur. Photo from ATI Bicol.

Culiat realized his love for garden landscaping when he started exploring designs and concepts online. 

“Eventually I committed my time to landscaping and planting vegetables,” he said. 

He began with only P500 to buy Japanese cucumber and Iceberg lettuce seeds to plant in their family garden, using his accomplished landscape skills. 

He was able to produce an impressive 40 kilograms of cucumbers which he sold for P50 per kilo on the street outside their farm. 

Some of his profits went towards feeding his family, while the rest were invested in other agricultural ventures. 

In 2023, he officially registered his small business under his nickname with the Department of Trade and Industry. 

His success didn't go unnoticed, and he was invited to participate in a three-day training program as part of the Adopt A-Farm Youth Program. 

He recalled that "my previous experience introduced me to some ATI regional coordinators and the Provincial Agriculturist Office." 

Through this, he gained knowledge of organic agricultural practices and record-keeping. Currently, Culiat is participating in a youth internship program on organic farming. 

This program is providing him with even more opportunities to learn and gain expertise in his field. 

He is using this experience to benchmark for more garden farm ideas and skills, which will help him strengthen his capacities with other farms in different places in the Bicol region. 

Culiat is grateful to the national government through ATI for the ‘complete package’ that they offer for Filipino farmers. 

He hopes to continue on his journey of agriculture and business growth in the future. 

Culiat encourages the younger generation in the Bicol region to venture into agriculture because “it is more sustainable and profitable, considering that the country is rich in natural resources and efficient governmental support.” 

Justine Rose Tubig, ATI Bicol’s organic agriculture focal person, praises Culiat as a living example of Filipino farmers who not only engage in farming but also use agricultural disciplines for sustainable development and the common good. (PIA-5) 

About the Author

Keren Anne Bernadas


Region 5

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