Greenpeace holds #IAmHampasLupa seed response to help Benguet farmers

Greenpeace, together with its partners, carried out the #IamHampasLupa seed transfer on Friday to help farming communities in Tublay and La Trinidad, Benguet recover from the impacts of Typhoon Lando (international name Koppu).

More than 200 farmers received the response package, which was organized together with the Cordillera Organic Producers Association and students from Benguet State University and Saint Louis University. Farmers were supplied with temperate organic vegetable seeds, vermicast, bokashi fertilizer, and organic concoctions to help them replant crops hit by Typhoon Lando.

“Our nation’s farmers face many problems, from poverty issues, non-existent health benefits, to a lack of government support. Climate change has also taken a toll, rendering farmers even more vulnerable as we have seen with Lando and other previous typhoons,” said Virginia Llorin, Food and Ecological Agriculture Campaigner of Greenpeace Philippines.

“Farmers need help and like the seed response we carried out for farmers in Dolores, Samar after Typhoon Ruby, we immediately tapped into our ecological agriculture network to help us pool the resources needed for the farmers in Benguet.”

Lando, the worst typhoon to hit the country this year according to the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council, caused a total of P9.8 billion in damage to central, northern and southern Luzon, with P8.6 billion damage attributed to agriculture [2].

The response package was sourced from various groups including the Department of Agriculture-Bureau of Plant Industry, Kahariam Organic Farm, Cosmic Farm and an ecological agriculture farmer from Gerona, Tarlac.

Experts from the Rice Watch Action Network (R1), a network of non-government organizations promoting sustainable farming, fair trade, and community resilliency, also advised farmers on the impacts of El Nino and increasingly frequent and stronger typhoons in agriculture. Benguet farmers were also taught ways to diversify their farms and increase their livelihood opportunities through organic fertilizer production and raising organic livestock.

“We are very excited and we feel fortunate to join this activity because we will learn more about ecological agriculture,” said Jaya Marsan, a student of Benguet State University and one of the #IAmHampasLupa youth who participated in the seed response. “We believe that ecological agriculture can help our farmers become climate resilient, and this seed response is one important step towards promoting ecological agriculture in Benguet.”

Greenpeace is calling for improved investments in agriculture to boost the resiliency of the nation’s farming system. The government should focus on programs that will enhance the capacity of farmers, empowering them to become self-sufficient. There is also a need to formulate and implement a

comprehensive food policy that will resolve agricultural inadequacies and guide adaptation to climate change.

“Our farmers should have access to climate resillient farming practices to prevent future losses due to extreme weather events such as Typhoon Lando. The seed delivery and skillshare that we helped conduct are vital steps toward that. We are confident the #IamHampasLupa youths who participated in the seed response will become ecological agriculture practitioners who will carry our torch in the future,” Llorin added.

[1] Hampaslupa, a derogatory word commonly used to refer to farmers; literally it means to “till the soil” as farmers do. By launching the #IAmHampasLupa, Greenpeace seeks to change the perception of society on agriculture. It seeks to make everyone acknowledge the important role farmers play, and the power each one of us wield in shaping the future of our food and agriculture. Specifically, #IAmHampasLupa Campaign is aimed at mobilizing youths to care about the future of Philippine agriculture and to support Filipino farmers.


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