Farmers to the rescue

WATERING crops in the community’s food shed.

Farmers are helping other farmers from going hungry and to survive Covid-19.

Recently, Negrense farmers were recognized as food source in a cash and food subsidy program by the Department of Agriculture (DA) across Negros Occidental.

Among the food suppliers 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 food and livelihood to low-income communities.

As the country struggles to fight Covid-19, the agri-enterprises form 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-story 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 mean 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,” Hinay added.

WWF-Philippines wants 48 food sheds constructed in rural communities across the country by the end of 2021. Preparations are in place to provide aid.

Equipped with the skills and capacities to lend a helping hand, WWF-Philippines’ partner communities — and their innovative food sheds — stand ready to support Filipinos amid the pandemic.

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