Event & Lifestyle | Making Community Pantries More Sustainable in the Philippines

Community pantry concept in the Philippines sprouts like mushrooms because of the ongoing battle against hunger amongst unfortunate families. This is also spreading fast because there are areas in the country wherein continuous stricter community quarantine classification are being implemented. Many families are unable to sustain the need for food, thus the need for a more sustainable approach of the concept should be place to address the concern.

Here's a story from the Municipality of Valladolid, Negros Occidental through the National Anti-Poverty Commission:

Community vegetable and Peking duck farms: Valladolid’s long-term version of community pantries

While community pantries are sprouting like mushrooms all over the country this past few months, the National Anti-Poverty Commission’s Kasambayanihan volunteers in the coastal municipality of Valladolid, Negros Occidental have been quietly tending to their communal vegetable gardens and Peking duck farms to help alleviate hunger and provide livelihood to impoverished families.


One of these hardworking residents is Ernesto Araneta, coordinator of the Communal Vegetable Farm Project in Barangay Paloma created under the Poverty Reduction through Rural Development (PRRD) program of the National Anti-Poverty Commission (NAPC) and Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corporation (PAGCOR).


As a NAPC Ka-Sambayanihan volunteer, Ernesto leads the community in planting various vegetables such as lettuce, pechay, string beans, and alugbati from seeds provided by the Commission in partnership with the Department of Agriculture (DA).  The crops are grown organically through organic fertilizers and pesticides also supplied by NAPC.


Aside from harvesting for their personal consumption, the team is able to earn as much as P3,000 a week from the sale of their produce.


“Malaking tulong sa amin ang pagkakaroon ng communal garden.  Nakakapag harvest kami ng dalawang beses sa isang linggo.  Pinamahagi namin ito sa mga kasamahan namin sa Ka-sambayanihan para magkaroon sila ng kabuhayan,” he said.


Like Ernesto, David Rigonel, NAPC municipal focal person, is also helping Barangay Bayabas but this time, through Peking duck production.


 “Itong Peking duck ay nakita natin na hindi lamang itlog ang mapapakinabangan pati na rin ang karne. Simple itong alagaan.  Pabayaan lang silang umikot-ikot sa bakuran ng bawat benepisyaryo at bigyan ng tirang pagkain.  Siguradong mangingitlog na kaya walang masyadong gastos.  Pwede ring ipagbili ang karne dahil mahal ito,” David said.


NAPC provided the barangay with an initial 100 Peking ducks which the team is raising.  The target is to provide each family beneficiary at least 15 ducks to take care of in their own backyard for continuous production.


“We are pleased to see these community efforts taking off and this inspires us more to work harder in order to bring down the country’s poverty incidence, enhance food security, and strengthen rural-urban agro-economic value chains,” said NAPC Secretary and Lead Convenor Atty. Noel K. Felongco.


In 2019, Felongco and Valladolid Mayor Enrique Miravalles signed the Memorandum of Agreement (MOA) for the implementation of a P3-million poverty alleviation project in the municipality.


The budget for the Integrated Community-Based Agricultural Production and Processing Facility includes P2 million for the construction of physical infrastructures and procurement of equipment, P500,000 for hauling support and provision for vehicles, and PHP500,000 for capital infusion relative to the conduct of livelihood projects.


Valladolid is one of the seven priority areas for the implementation of the PRRD prototype projects which include Majayjay, Laguna; Kayapa, Nueva Vizcaya; Cebu City; Calbayog City, Samar; Talipao, Sulu; and Kauswagan, Lanao del Norte.


Underprivileged families in the country most often live in rural areas with limited access to education, health, and roads and transportation to bring their produce to the market.  Many also live in conflict areas and places prone to natural disasters.


Thus, the NAPC has developed the Sambayanihan: Serbisyong Sambayanan, a five-year development framework from 2019-2023 to offer opportunities for people to lift themselves out of poverty and achieve a better life.


The framework provides guidance in carrying out a climate-responsive, culture- and gender-sensitive, and convergent and participatory anti-poverty strategy in response to the administration’s goal of bringing down the country’s poverty incidence from 21.6 % in 2015 to 14% by 2022.


Indeed, such stories should be an inspiration to other areas in the country especially to some local governments, hopefully, they can replicate to address further poverty.

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