Sustainable agri will empower local communities—CBCP official

Posted By: Chris On:

MANILA, Sept. 19, 2011—Adopting sustainable methods in agriculture will empower local communities as it will ensure food security among the poor, a CBCP official said.

Fr. Edu Gariguez, executive secretary of the CBCP’s National Secretariat of Social Action, Justice and Peace, said sustainable agriculture is the key to food security.

Gariguez was speaking to more than 30 participants of the four-day Asian farmers’ meet during its opening session in Tagaytay on Sept. 19.

He told participants from South and Southeast Asian countries that sustainable agriculture is an effective way to improve production and uplift the situation of poor farmers.

Citing a UN study on food production, Gariguez said that farmers can double food production within 10 years in the country’s critical regions by applying sustainable farming methods.

Food insecurity has been one of the problems by the rural poor in Asia, Gariguez said.

“It is reported that Asia-Pacific region, despite being the world’s most economically dynamic region, is home to the biggest number of hungry people – 62% of the world’s undernourished, mostly in rural areas. Among the leading causes for poverty are food insecurity, lack of access to land, distorted economic policy framework, worsening ecological degradation, among others,” he said.

The CBCP official said that the solution to poverty and food insecurity is to pursue alternative methods in agriculture that is not only safe but provide high-yield results.

“The scourge of chemical-based Green Revolution program in Asia had long been repudiated as a “recipe for disaster”, not only because of ecological and health hazards, but because the system’s claimed benefit of high productivity, is itself now a question,” he furthered.

The conference is bringing together farmers and Caritas Asia program officers from Cambodia, Indonesia, Philippines, Hong Kong-China, Mongolia, Thailand, South Korea, Myanmar, Vietnam, Bangladesh, Pakistan, India, Sri Lanka and Nepal to share knowledge and experience on successful organic farming practices such as the Systems of Rice Intensification or SRI, with emphasis on environment stewardship and climate change mitigation.

SRI is an old Madagascar technology that brings radical increase in rice productivity and is now slowly gaining momentum among organic farmers in Asia.

NASSA is among the leading development institutions in the country that support and mainstream this technology.

Resource speakers during the event are Arze Glipo of Integrated Rural Development Foundation and Dr. Albert Jo of the Path to Wellness.

Participants will have practical trainings on other rice production technologies and bio-fertilizer production during their stay in Butuan, Agusan del Sur for a three-day field exposure to train and exchange indigenous knowledge with the local farmers. (CBCPNews)


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