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Philippines: Urban grower finds success thanks to microgreens

Paolo Nicomedes is a 23-year-old student currently studying BS in Agriculture at UP Los BaƱos. He established Manna Farm in Sucat, Muntinlupa, an agricultural venture that specializes in the cultivation of microgreens. Through Manna Farm, He aims to promote sustainable urban farming practices and encourage the younger generation to actively participate in agriculture.

Paolo recalls his first encounter with agriculture during family visits to his father's farm in Bataan. He reminisces, "I remember my mother taking pictures of us in the farmland." Captured in those photographs, those moments sparked Paolo's curiosity and laid the foundation for his agricultural journey. Although his family wasn't initially fully engaged in agriculture, they later ventured into farming on idle plots of land, cultivating kangkong, okra, and kalabasa. It was also during this time that his father established a cacao farm. Nicomedes recalls how he and his brother helped in planting the cacao seedling in the farm. However, their farm met an unfortunate setback: a forest fire devastated their cacao seedlings, forcing them to halt their farming activities.

After that, his interest in agriculture waned during his high school years as he enrolled in senior high school STEM, with civil engineering as his desired path. Fate, however, had a different plan for him. Despite his intentions, Paolo found himself admitted into the agriculture program, which he considers a "blessing in disguise."

Paolo's perception of agriculture became broader during his first semester. He realized that agriculture encompassed not only farming and animal care but also diverse disciplines such as biology, chemistry, economics, and even politics. Reflecting on this realization, Nicomedes shares, "That's when I appreciated the intricacies of agriculture, how it encompasses multidisciplinary fields." The intricacies and multidisciplinary nature of the field fascinated him, leading to a newfound appreciation for farming,


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