Going Bananas – Restoring productivity and improving food security in Carmen, the Philippines
Carmen Municipality is located in a region of Mindanao that is recovering from decades of conflict and still suffers from high poverty rates and low food security. Nevertheless, it also has a lot of potential and a fertile landscape, and has many times been referred to as the potential breadbasket of the Philippines. But there are challenges to overcome. Farmers now grow cash crops such as maize for animal fodder on steep slopes and hilltops and use a lot of pesticides in the process. This leads to high levels of erosion and pollution of both soil and local water sources. Yields are reducing and food security is under pressure. A further challenge appeared in the form of the Covid-19 virus. To combat the virus the local authorities restricted imports, banned local travel, and kept people under lockdown. Communities now faced additional challenges in securing health, food, and livelihood opportunities for families.
Covid-19 showed us how important it is to develop strong and climate-resilient local farming systems and food chains, employment opportunities, and stable incomes. That is exactly what the Going Bananas project is working on for four years. AidEnvironment is working with NGOs, universities and local government actors on this value chain development program. We support farmers in shifting away from unsustainable crops that lead to erosion and landscape deterioration, and instead transition to organic bananas that conserve soils while increasing farmer incomes. Introducing climate-resilient farming, providing incentives in the form of seedlings, improving market conditions, and landscape interventions will enable the farmers to become productive smallholders, raise their incomes, and increase nutritional value and food security for their families.
Brainstorming solutions with local communities and introducing regenerative agricultural practices