In a recent article published in Manila Bulletin, Secretary Dar warns that the country will be in a food scarcity crisis starting in the second half of the year as chemical input prices soar. The UN Secretary-General expressed the same warning, “We face the specter of global food shortages in the coming months. “
Secretary Dar from the Department of Agriculture added that there will also be a shortage in rice supply with a possible contraction of 1.1 million metric tons of palay and requires 30 to 40 billion pesos to avert the impending crisis. This means, the 40 billion pesos will be used to purchase synthetic chemical fertilizers that will be dumped into our lands, to further poison it, weakening its fertility and further strengthen the chains of poverty through our dependency on big agriculture. This is another band-aid solution with little to no imagination for real sustainable and regenerative solutions despite technologies like permaculture, biodynamic farming, and many more.
The COVID-19 lockdowns, the Russian war against Ukraine, inflation, and price hikes in commodities are all contributing to the already dire situation. In the coming months, many lives will be in danger, especially the poor that live in urban cities that have no access to soil where they can grow their food. For communities in rural areas where people have not lost the capacity to grow food, now is the time to continue those gardens, especially with the onset of the rainy season.
For now, the container urban gardening movement has seen large adoption from city dwellers, the only good thing that came about the lockdown. More and more people are also getting drawn to eco-village/eco-community initiatives that are self-sustaining with little to minimum dependency on society outside of it. It is intended to be independent in the economic and social aspects of society. A handful of ESSA members are starting eco-village initiatives as many see it as the only possible future that is sustainable and resilient to the climate emergency.
In Luzon, Amalia Amorante with her husband Benito has already started the “Isinilang na Maharlika eco-village” that is working in partnership with the local community in Bulacan. In Negros, Dindin Daliva is working on the eco-village “The Songs of Aurum and Canalum” in partnership with the community in Bayawan, Negros Oriental, and the community of Bayaw-Ani (Bayawan Advocates for Network of Indigenous Initiatives). The Antique Cluster is also going in that direction with an eco-community to be established in Brgy. Aningalan, Antique, and of course, one of the most established eco-villages in the country located in Argao, Cebu, and the PESTALES community headed by Jane Entoy.
There are multiple definitions for eco-villages but in general, it is a community designed to be self-sustaining and beneficially integrates with nature. The GEN (Global Eco-village Network) defines as a settlement that is local and participatory, systems are designed for sustainability and help restore and regenerate social and natural environments. Although the eco-villages/eco-communities mentioned above are unique in their own right, most of them will include elements defined by GEN.
As a network, we have always strived to push for sustainable agriculture in the country partly because of the foresight of what the future holds for humanity and what trajectory it has set for itself. Now more than ever, we have to come together, in partnership with others to have the courage and love to meet the challenges set before us.