DAVAO CITY – Advocates of organic farming believe that sustaining family farms can help achieve food security.
Ann Fuertes, member of Go Organic Davao City said Thursday that “in developing regions like Africa and Asia, around 500 million small family farms are responsible for 80 percent of all food production.”
“These family farms practice the simplest methods of organic farming and are able to produce safe, nutritious and affordable food for their communities unlike food harvested from corporate plantations which use toxic pesticides and are mainly for export,” she said.
According to GODC family farming “includes all family-based agricultural activities and is linked to several areas of rural development. It is a means of organizing agricultural forestry, fisheries, pastoral and aquaculture productions which is managed and operated by a family and predominantly reliant on family labor.”
The group highlighted this issue as the world celebrates World Food Day this month.
The global theme for this year’s celebration is “Family Farming: Feeding the World, Caring for the Earth.”
However, the Magsasaka at Siyentipiko para sa Pag-unlad ng Agrikultura (MASIPAG) warns of expansion of corporate plantations as the cause of the decrease of family farming practice worldwide.
“Farming is becoming rapidly concentrated in the hands of wealthy elites and transnational agri-corporations,” said MASIPAG Mindanao Advocacy Officer, Geonathan Barro.
Barro said that the expansion of plantations eats up small family farms and “forces farmers to adopt unsafe technologies like genetically modified crops and toxic pesticides.”
“Instead of sustainable family farming plots, we have monocrop plantations on palm oil and BT corn. If this trend continues, we may see a decline in the capability of communities to feed themselves,” he said.
In a statement released Thursday by the Asia Pacific Network for Food Sovereignty (APNFS), the group said that “family farmers need to have wider access to land and natural resources, technology and extension services including specialized education and finance.”
APNFS also said that land redistribution “is a necessary foundation for the transformation of small farmers to become leaders in agricultural growth and rural development, eventually increasing domestic demand, and consequently triggering agricultural industrialization.”
GODC and MASIPAG has partnered with the Davao City Technical Committee on Organic Agriculture for this year’s World Food Day.
A forum will be held tomorrow (October 17) at the City Council building to promote the best practices in family farming. (davaotoday.com)