Elnard Integrated Farm is a learning site of Agricultural Training Institute and a TESDA Accredited Farm School located at Candura, San Juan, Siquijor with around 500 residents.

Elnard Ympal, who groundbroke such project, obtained his scholarship from TESDA and earned for him a diploma in agricultural technology.  Mr. Ympal is a dedicated youth farmer in the island. He was once an awardee of the DOST FITS search for Farmer Scientist on September 2002 and a Presidential awardee as Young Farmer Entrepreneur on CY 2016.

Every day, he and a company of farmers would fetch water from their house to water the plants in the farm. When the supply of water turned scarce brought about the occurrence of a drought, Elnard invented the innovative drip irrigation using empty 1.5-liter bottles. Because of that, he was recognized by the Department of Agriculture and was awarded as the Outstanding Young Farmer in the Philippines.

He underwent a training on organic farming, one of the many he attended, and became a Competency Assessor of the Organic Agriculture Production NC II.

In a matter of time, they expanded the farm into an integrated and diversified farm which meant a higher demand supply of water was needed to sustain it.  Last 2008, the provincial government of Siquijor helped solve the water problem by donating a water reservoir and pipeline which would supply water sourced out from a little spring inside a cave. This water irrigation system is not only supplying farm needs but is also supplying 10 households within the neighborhood.  Last October of 2018, the water stopped flowing and when Elnard checked the source inside the cave, he found out that the water was almost nil.

During the past years until recently, there have been only light to moderate rain – that means no sufficient rain water to help supply the spring in the cave.

Last year, the number of students the farm received increased up to 250% which came from ATI, TESDA and DepEd. Elnard Integrated Farm built another bigger function hall, expanded more the farm, and built additional hut which are all located on the steepest slope area of the farm to cater the increasing number of students.  Because the expansion is located on the steepest area of the farm, the water can’t flow up and supply this area.

To supply the water needs in this area, they had to fetch water again, just like when they started their farming.  The farm is also developed as a farm tourism catering local and foreign tourists. Elnard Integrated Farm would add to develop a farm stay, providing accommodation to those who want to stay in the farm in the nearest future. When there are no students staying in the farm, it would like to offer the hut located on the top of the hill as tourists accommodation but held in abeyance because of the lack of water supply in the hut.

A development on farm tourism is also a prospect to Elnard Integrated Farm thus it is also considering of securing its parameter by planting more trees as a form of disaster risk reduction measure.  Health wise, the farm would also become a source of vegetables and other farm products to answer the nutrition needs of the residents within the barangay.  In a way, as this would demand manpower, Elnard Integrated Farm would be directly generating employment of workers.

With urgency, Elnard Integrated Farm is proposing to obtain a sustainable way to supply the increasing water demand of the farm.  Unfortunately, it can no longer depend on the current water irrigation. A solar powered deep well water pump is the sustainable solution of the water scarcity in the farm. Solar is a renewable energy and with low maintenance cost but providing the solar panel is costly as well as drilling the deep well.  Financially, Elnard Integrated Farm’s income could not defray the expenses of its installation.

Until the Department of Science and Technology came in.  With its Community Empowerment thru Science and Technology program, the DOST granted an intervention to Elnard Integrated Farm nominated as “Fostering the Grassroots Thru Science and Technology and Innovation to Enhance and Develop Elnard’s Integrated Farm in Barangay Candura San Juan, Siquijor to Support the Tourism Thrusts of the Province” sometime last September of 2022.

Through this project, Elnard Integrated Farm is now equipped with a solar powered deep well pump to sustain the supply of water in the farm. The availability of ample water supply will also help enhance the farm produce and develop livelihood or income generating activity within the farm.

More so, DOST has provided Elnard Integrated Farm with farm implements, fruit seedlings, an equipment for herbal tea production. With such an intervention, Elnard Integrated Farm is expected to increase by 50% the NCII holders from the community.

Farming is up in the hilly barangay of Candura, San Juan and Elnard Integrated Farm is up for its vision as a one-stop agri-tourism site in the province of Siquijor with DOST as one of the intervenors. (By: Jose Aldous R. Arbon II – SRA-IO)

Elnard Integrated Farm of Candura, San Juan, Siquijor, recently a beneficiary of the Department of Science and Technology’s program Community Empowerment thru Science and Technology.