Press Release
May 10, 2016

Villar favors environment-friendly methods to achieve food security

Sen. Cynthia Villar said methods that contribute to environmental protection should be employed in the effort to achieve sustainability and food security.

"Any talk about food security and sustainability of our resources is closely linked with environment protection or protection of our land and water, hence my advocacy for organic farming, sustainable agriculture and agro-ecology," Villar said.

The chair of the Committee on Agriculture and Food stressed this point during the Annual District Convention of Rotary International District 3820 in Pasay City recently.

Villar said agroecological methods, which are now used to enhance production amid depleting resources, is her main consideration when pursuing legislations in the agriculture sector.

The senator noted that with soil degradation in the country pegged at 38%, there is now a need to lower the use of agricultural inputs in farming, such as chemical fertilizers and insecticides.

"Bukod dyan, ang inorganic pesticides at fertilizers ay mahal at nagpapaliit sa income ng mga farmers. That is why we encourage farmers to produce their own organic fertilizers, and provide them the equipment and training to do so," Villar said.

In the City of Las Pinas, Villar said she built composting centers in all of the barangays to convert kitchen and garden wastes into organic fertilizers that are distributed for free to farmers and vegetable gardeners.

"Agroecology is indeed timely as an alternative to conventional farming, taking into consideration the extreme weather disturbances being experienced in the country," she added.

Villar noted that as an agricultural country, the Philippines loses a lot from the onslaught of environmental disasters. Damage to agriculture caused by super typhoon Yolanda in November 2013 for instance, reached over PhP90 billion (about US$2 billion). Drought, due to El Niño, also continues to affect the agriculture sector.

"In ensuring food security, we must remember also that only small farmers and agro-ecology can feed the world," Villar stressed.

According to FAO, 80% of food we consume globally comes from small farmers. About 1.5 billion of people globally are estimated to be involved in family farming in over 500 million small farms worldwide.

"Sustainable agriculture is the key in food security, ending hunger, improving nutrition and reducing poverty. Recent scientific researches increasingly prove how agro-ecology offers far more environmentally sustainable methods so that we can still meet the rapidly growing demand for food," she said.

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