Agriculture is an important sector in many developing countries. Improvements in agriculture can increase food security in developing countries, which in turn, aids people living in poverty. According to the World Bank, transforming the agricultural sector in the Philippines is essential to poverty reduction. Programs such as the Cacao Project play a large role in addressing food insecurity in the Philippines.
The Cacao Project is an initiative created after typhoon Nock-Ten swept the Bicol region of the Philippines in 2016 and destroyed 80% of agricultural land within the area of San Fernando alone. Many homes were destroyed or damaged and the livelihoods of thousands of farmers were crushed. Louise Mabulo, entrepreneur and founder of the Cacao Project in the Philippines, told, “The Cacao Project creates sustainable and resilient economic forests for our farmers using nature-based solutions to increase their resiliency, improve livelihoods, and better support their families for sustainable success.”
The initiative aims to provide farmers with cacao seedlings and other short-term crops like bok choy in addition to resources and training to improve agriculture and restore the livelihoods of local farms. The Cacao Project also aims to improve youth engagement by educating youth in schools and universities about the importance of farming to prevent future food security crises in the Philippines.
Another way food insecurity in the Philippines can be reduced is through innovation in agriculture. The Smart Plant Production in Controlled Environments (SPICE) program developed the Philippines’ first government-funded smart farm in 2018. The SPICE program was created to boost sustainable farming and increase crop yields. Implementing techniques like vertical farming, micropropagation, cryopreservation, and hydroponics can improve productivity, reduce manual labor and create new business opportunities, reducing unemployment in the Philippines.
In response to fighting food insecurity in the Philippines, Mabulo states that “There is much room for improvement in our food system to maximize our resources and ensure a food-secure, equitable and sustainable society.” With initiatives like the Cacao Project, the Philippines is one step closer to achieving food security for all.
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