Friday, December 18, 2020

Food Sheds Are Helping Negrense Farmers Support the People of Negros

Wazzup Pilipinas!

Negrense women outside their foodshed in rural Negros Occidental back in 2019.Negrense farmers will be supplying crops for a cash and food subsidy program led by the Department of Agriculture, enabled in part by their community food sheds. Photograph © Alo Lantin / WWF-Philippines

Bacolod - Farmers have come through to aid other Filipinos – with the help of their communal food sheds.

On the 9th of December, Negrense farmers were recognized as supplies of a cash and food subsidy program were being rolled out by the Department of Agriculture (DA) across Negros Occidental.

Among those supplying food to the program are a number of communities under the World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF) Philippines’ Sustainable Food Systems program. The program brings farming communities together through the establishment of village banks and agri-business enterprises. These enterprises are designed to bring both food and livelihood to low-income communities, while supplying the surrounding population with nutritious food.

Nine months into the coronavirus pandemic, and these agri-enterprises have found new calling as the backbone of the DA’s food subsidy program.

“You cannot have a food program if you do not have someone to produce the food. That’s the role our communities play. They are the ones who help feed our nation during troubled times, as we are seeing today,” said WWF-Philippines Project Manager Monci Hinay.

Over the past two years, the Sustainable Food Systems program has been helping communities put up communal food sheds, the first ones having been built in Negros Occidental. A multi-storey structure, each shed increases the agricultural productivity of the host community – giving them more to eat, and more to sell at the market.

The DA is now mobilizing this market surplus as a means to keep farming and fishing communities well-fed. The program will be providing social support to 35,544 fishers and farmers from Negros Occidental. The first recipients received their relief aid on the 8th of December.

Throughout 2021, the DA plans on bringing food and financial relief to 117,435 fishers and farmers across Western Visayas.

“Healthy farmers means healthy communities and a healthy country. Our partner farmers stand ready to help their fellow Filipinos. With their food sheds and together with their neighbors, they are able to help,” added Hinay.

WWF-Philippines plans on having 48 food sheds constructed in rural communities across the country by the end of 2021.

As the year winds down, preparations are in place to provide aid to those in need throughout 2021. Equipped with the skills and capacities to lend a helping hand, WWF-Philippines’ partner communities – and their innovative food sheds – stand ready to provide support. WWF-Philippines and its partners are working to #ChangeTheEnding of this ongoing crisis. 

A Negrense woman waters crops in her community’s food shed. WWF-Philippines aims to have food sheds constructed across the country this coming 2021, to support rural livelihood and food security under pandemic times. Photo taken in 2019. Photograph © Alo Lantin / WWF-Philippines

A group of Negrense women carry a sack of bird feed into their food shed. Each food shed is managed and maintained by the community, providing them both with a source of nutritious food and livelihood. Photo taken in 2019. Photograph © Alo Lantin / WWF-Philippines

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