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Peace Farming

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On Saturday, May 5, Peace Advocates Zamboanga (PAZ) will hold a groundbreaking ceremony for the construction of a modest vermiculture production facility in Barangay Upper La Paz, a rugged upland  sitio located 17 kilometers away from the main highway at the West Coast of Zamboanga City.

For the past three years, a PAZ team headed by Sr. Emma Delgado has been gradually introducing organic farming practices to some 60 kainguinero (slash and burn) families there, weaning them away from the use of synthetic fertilizers in commercially growing various kinds of vegetables.

The effort is proving technologically and commercially successful.  In the past year the PAZ team has been helping, too, these upland farmers sell their organically grown vegetables to health-conscious customers in the urban lowlands.   (N.B. – PAZ president Fr. Angel Calvo regularly gets his organically-grown lettuces from these farmers.)

For this low-cost farming technology transfer, PAZ gets know-how support from its partner NGO Reach Out to Others Foundation (ROOF), a corporate unit of the Western Mindanao State University allied with its College of Agriculture.

Organic farming is not the only knowledge-skills-attitude services package that PAZ has been uploading to La Paz’s upland farmers.  They and their families have received trainings in “culture of peace” and community organizing.  PAZ has linked them to the current National Greening Program of government for them to avail of logistical support to reforest their logged-over mountainsides.

As the world marks Labor Day this May 1, it is but proper  to take note that the Philippines’ highly-agricultural economy has the biggest number of workers, though they are the least paid or earn the lowest in occupational incomes.  

To better survive, there have been countless stories of farmers mortgaging or selling their farms or farm animals to be able to send their children abroad as OFWs.  But worldwide including the Philippines, jobs in almost all economic sectors are rapidly decreasing in proportion to increasing labor supply.

So, helping farmers and their children cultivate their farms with a technology that is sustainable and profitable can help alleviate the growing threat of social destabilization, chaos and collapse due to high unemployment and its consequent detrimental fallout.  After all, despite all of our scientific advances human survival will ultimately, indispensably depend on “sustainable agriculture”, which is something the dinosaurs neither knew about nor practiced.

by: Peace Advocates Zamboanga

 




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