As part of the Social Justice Forum series that ESSC and the Philippine Working Group (PWG) are organizing, representatives from the National Corn Program of the Department of Agriculture (DA), the DA-Cagayan Valley Research Center, civil society organizations, the academe, and private sector gathered in Balay Laudato Si’ to discuss and understand closely the challenges of smallholder corn farmers in the uplands of Mindanao.
In the field-based form entitled Living on the Edge: Challenges of Smallholder Corn Farmers in the Philippines, 9-10 October, in Bendum, Bukidnon, participants visited and engaged with smallholder corn farmers to gain a better understanding of what accompaniment can be done and how stability can be brought to the uplands and to its people.
Participants went to community field visits in Sitio Tingkaan, Barangay Poblacion, Cabanglasan and Sitio Upper Mapulo, Malaybalay City to listen to challenges and lived experiences of smallholder farmers.
Two groups were later formed to discuss possible strategies and intervention in aid of smallholder corn farmers through policy intervention and research.
Genetically modified corn (intended only as animal feeds) are usually stored in old sacks of imported rice. Farmers are challenged to sell these as soon as possible as they do not have the facility and means for storing the corn long term, especially with the unpredictable climate.
This forum is part of ESSC’s LUCID project, a five-year research and training collaboration on the social justice implications of land use change in the Philippine uplands, in partnership with Universitē de Namur, Université catholique de Louvain, Ateneo de Manila University, Central Mindanao University, and ARES.