1. To increase farm production and child nutritional levels through the adoption of sustainable farming techniques.
2. To increase the capacity of farmers associations to effectively provide services to their members.
3. To increase income levels of farmers through marketing of sustainable agriculture products.
What’s covered in project cost?
This funding will go towards training the farmers in sustainable farming techniques. This includes training at a farmer training centre, ongoing mentoring and support on-site at the farmers’ communal and individual farms, and the provision of farming equipment, seeds and small livestock.
Background into the current situation
Infant mortality and child malnutrition are significant problems in the Philippines, particularly in Northern Samar where 79 of every 1000 children die before their fifth birthday. Most families are subsistence farmers trapped in poverty by a cycle of poor rice yields and depleted soils, and crops often damaged by drought, floods and typhoons. Families then become caught in a cycle of debt as they struggle to feed themselves, let alone pay for school fees and healthcare.
This project educates families about organic crops and alternative farming techniques, so that they can grow a diverse range of nutritious, organic food to eat and sell. Access to a greater range of quality food will also help to reduce child malnutrition in Northern Samar, which has the country’s highest child mortality rate.
Photo: A boy showing his families crop of beans. Through diversifying the types of food produced families are able to increase production which means better nutrition and more income.
What is Plan doing?
Plan works through 20 established Farmers Associations to assist farming families to learn new farming skills. This five-year project will benefit 10,000 families by strengthening the Farmers Associations and helping farmers to share skills and market their produce. With our support, the associations have established community demonstration plots to practice what they have learnt through the project and to introduce other farmers to alternative crops and new techniques that help to increase crop quality and yield. All association members tend to the plots and share in the resulting harvest.
Results so far
A mid-term project evaluation revealed that farming families are now enjoying increased productivity and income. Last year, 543 farmers received training, and we also helped them to develop annual farming plans so that they can better organise their resources, resulting in more efficient use of land and maximised productivity.
Each Farmers Association also nominated three members to become para-technicians, with 60 farmers receiving further training on new technologies such as soil and water conservation and how to produce organic fertilisers for their crops (a non-chemical, healthier and cheaper alternative). The para-technicians are now responsible for teaching fellow association members these new techniques and skills.
Raising livestock diversifies farming income
Plan has also assisted farmers to raise livestock such as pigs and chickens, which has provided families with an additional income source and made them more resilient – for if their crops are wiped out by floods they still have an income from their livestock.
To ensure farmers are able to use the skills and knowledge they have gained, one of Plan’s partners provides mentoring and support during regular visits to Farmers Associations.
And as the area is prone to extreme weather conditions, farmers have been encouraged to introduce durable crops that are more likely to withstand heavy rains and high winds. The Farmers Associations also established rice demonstration plots where they are now testing different seeds to select the most appropriate rice type for the area’s unforgiving climate.
Photo: A female farmer learning how to manage the books so she can have a greater return on investment from her farming activities.