Meet Melvin Cervantes: Monsanto Hawaii Nursery Supervisor
Melvin Cervantes, nursery supervisor at the Monsanto Hawaii Kunia farm, recently traveled to the Philippines, an annual trip to his hometown in Southern Luzon. For Melvin, he wanted this trip to be more than just a vacation, but also an educational experience for students.
With the help of John Fajardo, Technology Development COE Lead at Monsanto Philippines, Melvin was able to organize an Ag in the Classroom event at Partido Agro – Industrial National High School in Mabalodbalod, Tigaon Camarines Sur. More than 60 students studying horticulture, seedling and nursery management participated.
“I was really struck at how much knowledge and passion these students already had about agriculture,” said Melvin. “They were hungry to learn more about modern agriculture and its new techniques, understanding its potential, which can include higher yields, and in the long range, lower costs.”
Melvin was able to cover many agricultural issues, including how to farm successfully through the use of gathering data, the importance of crop protection, and the practice of field scouting. He also expressed the importance of irrigation after noticing many area farmers were experiencing problems with weeds, most of the farmers does not have irrigation and rely to rain water. In addition, he introduced irrigation techniques that can minimize the weeds and not only to conserve water, but that will get water specifically to the crops, like the use of drip tape.
Melvin and John also shared information on various topics like plant rotation and the integration of crops like rice, corn and vegetables. The two also spoke of the importance of leaving some fields fallow.
“Educating our youth is the key to making a positive impact on the community. It was an enlightening experience for all of us to share our knowledge and passion with the students,” said John.
John also shared the importance of agriculture in ensuring food security and inspired the students to pursue careers in ag.
From there, Melvin then traveled to Illocos Norte in the northern region of the Philippines, where he helped to organized a modern agriculture workshop with 35 area farmers at a local hall in Parangopong near Batac city.
“I was really excited to speak to these farmers - the people who help feed our community,” said Melvin. “The workshop was about modern agriculture and new farming techniques, with an emphasis on proper data collection, which can help farmers make better decisions and help save on costs and labor.”
As part of Melvin’s trip, Monsanto Hawaii donated 100 t-shirts and 50 safety glasses, as well as safety gloves, pens and mugs to be share with students and farmers
“I have always wanted to give back to my hometown and nearby communities, and to be able to do it by educating future and current farmers was very rewarding, added Melvin. “I look forward to going back to the Philippines in the near future and continuing this farmer education project.”