Eco-ag network aids Lawin affected farmers in Cagayan

Press release - November 27, 2016
Solana, Cagayan; 27 November 2016 – A network of organizations comes to the aid of farmers affected by Typhoon Lawin by giving out seed and fertilizer response packages to jumpstart the province’s transition to ecological agriculture.

The People’s Food Movement -- together with local organizations, such as the Green Meadows Foundation and Solana Ecological Agriculture Group; the Local Government of Solana, Cagayan; and Greenpeace Philippines -- gave out organic seeds, fertilizers, and other farm inputs to 150 farmers in the municipality.
The organic seeds and fertilizers were sourced from farmers practicing ecological agriculture in Nueva Ecija and nearby provinces. The package includes vegetable seeds, vermicast, molasses, palay seeds, bokashi and various concoctions.
“When we are hit by extreme weather events such as droughts and super typhoons, the agriculture sector always suffers the most. Impacts bury our farmers further in an endless cycle of debt, our food production and supply decrease, and food prices increase. All of us are affected. We need to empower our farmers to be able to help the whole nation,” said Yeb Saño, Executive Director for Greenpeace Southeast Asia. 
Extreme weather events, exacerbated by climate change, has wrought havoc to the lives and livelihood of farmers in the Philippines. The recent super typhoon Lawin, initially classified as a Category 5 storm with maximum sustained winds of 165 miles per hour, caused Php 10.2 billion damage to agriculture, Php 3.4 billion to infrastructure, and affected 49,000 farmers in different provinces in Luzon.
Cagayan and its nearby provinces in Region 2 are the top rice and corn production areas of the country, contributing almost 30% to our rice and corn needs. The Department of Agriculture has recorded that at least 56,000 hectares of rice fields, 9,000 hectares of corn fields, and 2,000 hectares of vegetables plantations, were destroyed in Cagayan.
Prior to the seed distribution, a two-day training on Integrated and Diversified Organic Farming System was conducted by Jonjon Sarmiento of farmers group PAKISAMA, along with Lerma Matus, a typhoon Yolanda farmer survivor. The farmers were trained to practice climate-resilient agriculture, self-sufficiency by preserving the seeds, and making their own fertilizers sourced from materials that are abundant and readily available in their areas, so that the farmers will not have to resort to loans to rebuild their farms.
“Lawin brought devastation to the livelihood of small holders and producers but it also opened up opportunities to start the conversation in reliving seeds as the core of life and food,” said Mon Padilla of the People’s Food Movement. “We want to reclaim ownership and control of the food system for the small holders and household producers, in consideration with the consumers’ right to safe and healthy food.”
Through this seed response work, the People’s Food Movement hopes to help address the looming hunger among farmers affected by typhoon Lawin and ease them from the cycle of indebtedness.  The activity also aimed to show the farmers that there is an alternative way of farming that will provide them, their families, and the whole nation with healthy food that are produced through safe, sustainable and climate resilient agriculture.
People’s Food Movement members CHIMES, UAAP.NET, SEARICE, and farmers of the Climate Resiliency Field Schools of the Rice Watch Action Network (R1), joined the work not only in the distribution but in sharing ecological agriculture practices so that farmers will be inspired by their experiences.
The Peoples’ Food Movement is a food campaign advanced by individuals, groups, organizations, government entities, academe and other formal and non-formal groups that act collectively and individually to promote practices, programs and policies rooted on the concept and practice of ecological agriculture.
Greenpeace is calling President Rodrigo Duterte’s administration to support a food policy that will put farmers’ need on top priority and put in place a system that can readily respond to farmers in rebuilding their farms immediately after a crisis and change the current dominant system of agriculture - from monoculture and chemical intensive farming – to diverse, integrated, sustainable and climate resilient farming system.
For more information:
Virginia Benosa Llorin, Food and Ecological Agriculture Campaigner 

Greenpeace Southeast Asia

Email:  | Mobile: (+63) 917 822 8793
Angelica Carballo-Pago, Media Campaigner 

Greenpeace Southeast Asia

Email:  | Mobile: (+63) 949 889 1332