GM is the Way to Go

DZMJ Online Season 18 Episode 5 is with Dr. Paul Teng of ISAAA talking about the future of food sustainability and food secured nation, also talked about the potential of the Philippines.

Southeast Asians learn best practices in climate-smart agriculture in Quezon town

It takes a village to scale climate-smart agriculture.

This statement of Leocadio S. Sebastian, Regional Program Leader for CGIAR Research Program on Climate Change, Agriculture and Food Security in Southeast Asia (CCAFS SEA), sums up the advocacy of CCAFS SEA, the Southeast Asian Regional Center for Graduate Study and Research in Agriculture (SEARCA), and the International Institute of Rural Reconstruction (IIRR) to push for the establishment of climate-smart villages (CSVs) in the ASEAN region to improve food security and resiliency in local communities.

SEARCA, IIRR, and CCAFS SEA jointly conducted a roving workshop last July to demonstrate how local-level outscaling of climate-resilient agricultural practices can be undertaken under different agro-ecosystems and conditions in Guinayangan, Quezon Province.

The workshop participants came from the ASEAN Climate Resilience Network (ASEAN-CRN). They are nationals of the Philippines, Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, and Thailand.

Their field visits to key CSV sites in Guinayangan enabled them to appreciate CSVs and their potential to significantly improve food security at the community level in the face of heightened risks to agriculture-based livelihood due to changing climate.

Dr. Glenn B. Gregorio, SEARCA Director, said the battle against climate change is either won or lost at the grassroots level, where localized interventions assume a pivotal role.

Dr. Sebastian added that the village is the “nucleus of social action,” where real action toward climate change mitigation and adaptation starts.

CCAFS SEA developed the CSV approach in response to the need for context-specific solutions to climate risks at the local level. The approach enable farmers to use experiential learning to overcome challenges posed by climate change and capacitate them to establish their own CSVs.

Model CSV sites were established in the Philippines, Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar, and Vietnam to serve as platforms for CSA learning and community-based participatory action demonstrations.

The CSV in Guinayangan, Quezon illustrates how the local government can use its natural resources to address the impacts of climate change, said Ms. Emilita Monville Oro, IIRR Country Director and Acting Regional Director for Asia.

She also emphasized the importance of building the capacities of communities and local government units in scaling up initiatives on climate-smart agriculture.

The workshop discussed the key concepts and elements of the CSV as an agricultural research for development approach to addressing climate change, food and nutrition security, and livelihood development.

Participatory tools and experiences in establishing the context of CSV, particularly in the case of the Department of Agriculture’s Adaptation and Mitigation Initiative in Agriculture (AMIA) villages and the Guinayangan CSV were also presented.

The emerging lessons from CSVs in Southeast Asia were tackled in panel discussion by Dr. Sebastian; Ms. Perla G. Baltazar, Senior Technical Officer at the DA Systems-wide Climate Change Office; and Dr. Julian Gonsalves, IIRR Senior Adviser and CCAFS Project Leader.

The participants visited various sites in Guinayangan, Quezon that showcase best practices in climate-smart agriculture.

One site was Barangay Cabong Norte, where participants learned about intercropping and other interventions in an upland agricultural system, with emphasis on corn production.

They also visited Barangay Capuluan Tulon, which featured small-scale low external input, low carbon footprint methods of pig raising using resilient but improved native pig breeds as alternative source of livelihood of farmers.

The fishery and coastal agriculture site in Barangay Capuluan Central, showcased initial work on coastal reforestation and diversification of livelihoods of coastal fishing families.

Guinayangan Mayor Cesar J. Isaac III shared the local government unit’s experiences on the Green Fund (payment for ecosystem services) and water resource management during the field visit to the Maulawin Spring Protected Landscape.

In Barangay Sta. Cruz, the participants learned about farmers’ experiences regarding agroforestry and diversification, specifically the production of chili peppers and linkage with the private sector in expanding their market.

The demo farm and eco-park managed by the Office of the Municipal Agriculturist (OMA) of Guinayangan served as the last stop of the roving workshop.

The participants also visited the National Swine and Poultry Research and Development Center and the Quezon Agricultural Research and Experiment Station in Tiaong, Quezon. There they learned about the various initiatives and milestones under the DA-AMIA Program, particularly the adaptation strategies and interventions implemented in the AMIA village in San Francisco, Quezon.

The workshop culminated with participants sharing their best practices and experiences in CSA-related work followed by a plenary presentation of their re-entry action plans.


Hon. Mayor Cesar J. Isaac III (left, standing) discusses Guinayangan’s experience regarding the management of Maulawin Spring Protected Landscape and the utilization of the payment for ecosystem services (PES) or Green Fund.

Participants at the Guinayangan Climate Resilient Agriculture Demo Farm and Eco Park during the final leg of the field visits to the Guinayangan CSVs.

SEARCA leads efforts to bring school-plus-home gardening to Busuanga Island

CORON, Palawan—Busuanga Island can significantly benefit from school-plus-home gardens. This was the consensus of a consultation with the local government, schools, and tourism sector convened here by the Southeast Asian Regional Center for Graduate Study and Research in Agriculture (SEARCA) and the University of the Philippines Los Baños (UPLB) last July 29-31.

The consultation workshop was conducted to gauge the interest and willingness of potential partners and the community to participate in the School-Plus-Home Gardens Project (S+HGP).

The S+HGP was piloted in six schools in the province of Laguna, Philippines with a model where harvests from the school gardens provided fresh vegetables for the school-based feeding program. The model also extended the gardening-feeding linkage to the establishment of food gardens in the school children’s homes. More than just establishing home gardens, the parents developed a greater sense of responsibility to ensure good nutrition for their children while also saving on food expenses.

Moreover, S+GHP has garnered local and international awards for its emphasis on the multi-functionality of school gardens as learning laboratories for educating pupils, teachers, and parents about sustainability concepts and interconnections of food and nutrition, organic agriculture, edible landscaping, climate change, and solid waste management.

Represented in the consultation were the Coron Municipal Agriculture Office (MAO), Community Environment and Natural Resources Office (CENRO), local grade schools from the inland and coastal districts, and the tourism sector.

According to the locals, both municipalities on the island are food insecure. They added that agriculture is not a strong sector in the island primarily due to the poor quality of its soil.

Though rich in seafoods, they said both Coron and Busuanga import most of their fruits and vegetables from neighboring areas. Consequently, they pay high prices for these produce, which adversely affect nutrition of poor families.

The island residents also pointed out that importation also increases prices of food in restaurants, an integral part of the booming tourism industry on the island. It was reported during the consultation that for every peso earned from tourism in Coron, eighty centavos (Php0.80) leave the municipality due to the importation of produce.

SEARCA Program Head for Research and Development Pedcris Orencio said the consultation also indicated the support that could be extended to the S+HGP by various stakeholders.

Dr. Orencio said government agencies, through their local offices, could provide technical assistance on organic vegetable production and provide inputs such as garden tools, seeds, other planting materials, and organic fertilizers.

He added that the schools were likewise supportive of the initiative as this would support the Gulayan sa Paaralan Project of the Department of Education (DepEd). It would also be an avenue to involve, encourage, and educate parents and families on vegetable growing and nutrition.

The consultation also indicated that the tourism sector could also provide training venues, food, accommodation, and local transportation to the training teams. Under particular conditions, members of the sector could also allow parcels of land adjacent to schools and owned by members of the sector to be used as S+HGP demonstration areas.

The tourism sector could also be a consumer/market of produce in excess of the needs of the schools, Dr. Orencio reported. More importantly, the locals consulted said the tourism sector can support the upscaling of S+HGP by encouraging industry players to adopt a school for S+HGP and showcase the adopted S+HGP to guests/tourists and engage these tourists in local initiatives.