A group of organic farmers whose families are dependent on their relatives who are overseas Filipino workers worked together to establish an alliance they said will promote self-sufficiency in their communities.
Members of the Lanuza OFW-Dependents Organic Farmers Association (LODOFA) told environmental group Haribon Foundation that they created the organization to lessen dependency on the remittances from their OFW family members.
Through communal unity or bayanihan, individual farmers share their land and labor in the production of organic vegetables. Around 7,500 square meters of agricultural land growing various vegetables are being maintained by the 22 members as their joint livelihood project.
Members take turns in managing their vegetable garden including monitoring, weeding, organic fertilization and spraying and finally, harvesting.
Local produce are delivered to the food terminal in Cantilan municipality, Surigao del Sur where consumers go directly to buy their organic vegetable products. LODOFA transports their produce thrice weekly to customers from adjacent municipalities and provinces including Davao.
In a community assessment conducted by Haribon, LODOFA members reported that husbands of the women members are showing full support to their wives on the project. LODOFA also plans to expand their individual lots in the coming months.
The organic farming group also told the foundation that they intend to join upcoming forest restoration activities.
“Deforestation may affect our project in the lowland, especially during dry season,” said a LODOFA member. “If the uplands will be denuded, we will suffer from water shortage which will greatly affect our farming.”
LODOFA’s project was initially assisted by the Department of Agriculture, local government and non-government organizations.
Haribon’s community consultation is made possible with funding and support from the European Commission under the project “Strengthening Non-state Actors Involvement in Forest Governance in Indonesia, Malaysia, Philippines, and Papua New Guinea.”