Sharing Communities: Building Sustainable Food Systems

January 20, 2023

by MASIPAG National Office

Green Action Week partners from MASIPAG network continue living the value of “sharing communities” as they once again participate in the global green week of action campaign. Partners from Luzon, Visayas, and Mindanao perseveringly improve their practices in sustainable production in their pursuit to achieve food security. (see individual photos for further information)

Promoting agroecology

Farmers from Luzon showed their support in promoting agroecology, specifically the people’s agenda towards a sustainable food system, through their weekly participation in Salu-Salo Agroecology Fair. By promoting their diverse fresh and processed products, women leaders of Kiday Community Farmers Association (KCFA) and KOLO-KA-KOLOY further promote the importance of direct and healthy farmer-consumer relationships. This provides the opportunity for consumers to be more engaged in the campaigns, such as #SafeFoodForAll, #AgroecologyNow and #NotoGoldenRice, which benefits both farmers and consumers.

Virginia “Virgie” Nazareno of KCFA stressed the importance of protecting biodiversity and producing safe and nutritious food for all. According to ‘Nay Virgie,

“…[A]ng magsasakang MASIPAG ay hindi gumagamit ng anumang kemikal; natural ang aming pataba. At least ay hindi pumapatay ng mga kulisap dahil alam natin na tayong mga magsasaka ay maraming kaibigang kulisap. Kung tayo ay gumagamit ng kemikal, mapapatay natin [pareho] yung ating mga kaibigan at kaaway na kulisap. [MASIPAG farmers do not use any chemical, we rather use natural fertilizer and harmful insects control. We do not kill insects as farmers know that there are many beneficial ones. If we use chemical, we’ll kill both the beneficial and harmful insects.]”

Remigia “Reming” Cruz proudly shared the Dumagat (Indigenous People) culture among the participants of Salu-Salo. Wearing their traditional attire, ‘Nay Reming, along with other Dumagat women, showcased their organic produce and actively shared their knowledge and experiences during the discussions.

KOLO-KA-KOLOY’s fresh ginger produce exhibited during Salu-Salo Agroecology Fair.

Intensifying crop-livestock integration

Visayan farmers, on the other hand, continue to strengthen their practices in crop-livestock integration as an essential component of sustainable production. Among the community-based activities they conducted were nursery establishment, seed technology orientation, and rice breeding training. In addition, PCB Negros farmers exhibited diverse and nutritious food, as well as rich rice diversity during Pilipig day. Morever, Camalobalo Small Farmers Association (CAFA) and  Tuyom Small Farmers’ Association (TUSFA) have successfully multiplied from the livestock dispersal in GAW 2021 and are ready to be turned over to other farmers. Lastly, OFFERS Panay continues to plant crops as source of seeds/planting materials for distribution to its member POs.

PAWIS members continues to maintain their communal vegetables and seeds production plots. The commitment to produce and share seeds to other farmers remain strong, despite the land tenure security struggles and trumped up charges

PCB Negros exhibited products from diversified integrated farms and the country’s rich rice diversity during the “Pilipig” day. Pilipig is part of the farmers’ culture in gratitude for the coming harvest; a culture that is lost in the present due to modern agriculture and existing food systems.  This was a joint activity of MASIPAG PCB Negros and KUSINA Slow Food community in Southern Negros, with 58 farmers, students and development workers present.

CAFA and TUSFA were both successful in multiplying the number of livestock, given during the dispersal in GAW 2021,  which they intend to distribute to other farmers. From four goats, TUSFA has seven goats currently. Meanwhile, CAFA is now ready to share 11 goats – offsprings of four goats, to another people’s organization in the province.

Kutsay, tawre, and adlay (from L to R) are only some of the crops for multiplication and as source of seeds/planting materials for distribution to member-POs at OFFERS Panay seed bank in Capiz.

GAW partner POs in the Negros extends its advocacy and campaign to the youth members of the communities.  To encourage and build appreciation among the youth sector, they involve students and out-of-school youth in farming and research.  PO members give emphasis to the important role of the youth in supporting and strengthening local agriculture sector.

Monitoring and assessment

Farmers from Mindanao understand the importance of conducting monitoring and assessment activities to track the success of their initiatives and to understand the gaps and limitations they need to address. As such, the GAW partners from North Cotabato and Davao City conducted a workshop with the assistance of MASIPAG Mindanao regional secretariat to formulate recommendations and plan ways forward to realize their objective to further intensify the farmers’ crop-livestock integration practices.

PCB North Cotabato shared that the original stocks dispersed during GAW 2021 were complete and are now productive. Among the dispersed livestock to the different communities in North Cotabato are batang (chicken) in Tulunan, goat in Alimodyan, chicken in Bituran, and duck in Tuburan. Farmers reflected on the importance of policy formulation as a part of their livestock dispersal initiatives.

Members of Bayanihan Women’s Organization from Calinan shared that they were able to earn from the boar dispersed to their PO and was able to produce at least 5 offsprings. Meanwhile, the female goat in KBWO was also able to reproduce 2 offspring to be dispersed when proper maturity is reached.

Collective decision making, planning and implementation are very much evident and alive in MASIPAG POs; so much so during the Green Action Week campaign.  PO members of MASIPAG take it by heart that the plight and fight of a small farmer is the plight and fight of ALL small farmers and that the solution lies in working together; helping however we can, sharing whatever we have.