Building Climate Resiliency in the Philippines

Positioned at the front lines of climate change impacts, the Philippines is plagued by food and nutrition security concerns – a growing emergency.

Battling extreme weather events such as typhoons, El Niño events and drought, farmers across the country are embracing climate resilient ecological farming methods to adapt to climate change and meet their community’s food security needs. This is their story.

Risks of extreme weather

The El Niño of 2015-2016, one of the strongest on record, has again brought drought, crop losses and water shortages to the Philippines. Resembling the strength of the 1998 event, which resulted in widespread hunger after corn and rice crops failed, this year’s El Niño is a window into the potential impacts of climate change and is sparking a move towards climate resilient agriculture across the country.

The Philippines is one of the countries most at risk from extreme weather events such as typhoons, tidal surges and tougher droughts, according to the United Nations’ Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC).

This year’s El Niño is the latest in a series of major weather disasters to have hit the country in recent years, following the devastation of Super Typhoon Haiyan in 2013 and Super Typhoon Hagupit in 2014. This is why Filipino farmers are increasingly adapting to climate change and shifting to climate-resilient ecological farming.


Aquillea Ondoy - organic farmer

Seed supply resiliency

Besides drought, the ongoing and erratic threat of typhoons presents a persistent risk to food security. After Typhoon Hagupit struck Dolores in Eastern Samar in 2014, a farmer-to-farmer delivery of ecological seeds took place to help farmers replant damaged agricultural land.

Greenpeace partnered with farmers from Cebu, Bohol and Negros – strong movers of sustainable and ecological agriculture – to carry out the first delivery of seeds into Dolores following the impact of the typhoon.

It was a model that was replicated in October 2015 to help farming communities in Tublay and La Trinidad, Benguet recover from the impacts of Typhoon Koppu.

Farmer-to-farmer seed exchanges and setting up community seed banks and diverse seed stocks significantly boosts resilience. Farmers are still the major source of seeds, especially rice, so a reliable system for seed exchanges is crucial in building resilience to future climate shocks.


Climate resiliency field schools

Greenpeace is also partnering with a network of development NGOs, Rice Watch and Action Network (RWAN) to help climate-proof farmers across the country.

The project involves setting up localised and “automatic” weather stations, staffed by government-trained local people, who interpret and post the data and farming advice to publicly-accessible central collection points (town halls, etc). Additionally, an SMS service has been set up to send this weather data and advisory directly to farmers’ mobile phones.

Alongside the provision of weather forecasts, RWAN has established local “climate resiliency field schools,” where farmers are trained in eco-agriculture methods better equipping them to deal with adverse short and long-term weather patterns and - ultimately - climate change.

The climate resiliency field schools are now in 33 municipalities in 17 of the Philippines’ 81 provinces, including those worst affected by Typhoon Haiyan.


Policy change

Greenpeace is challenging the Philippines’ Presidential candidates to respond to future food emergencies caused by El Niño events and climate change and place ecological agriculture as their centre of their policies to address food and nutrition security.

There is a need for improved investments in agriculture to boost the resiliency of the nation’s farming system and guide adaptation to climate change. The government should focus on programs that will enhance the capacity of farmers, empowering them to become self-sufficient to do what they do best – produce our nation’s food.


Know more about #Iamhampaslupa

Visit the Greenpeace Philippines extreme weather tracker 

Visit R1 (Rice Watch and Action Network)