07 Jul Evasco joins ‘organic’ mayors and civil society groups
In a two-day policy dialogue that starts today, the League of Organic Agriculture Municipalities and Cities (LOAMC), represented by its core members, together with the People’s Food Movement,  will seek to agree on the framework and elements of a food policy that will cater to sustainable, climate resilient agriculture to produce safe and healthy food that is accessible to all.
“The mayors play an important role on the ground in connecting everyone to address agriculture and food security in the country,” said Sec. Leonicio Evasco, Jr on his speech today.
The Philippines consistently remains one of the most vulnerable countries to natural disasters and extreme weather events. These resulted in low farm production, which caused hunger and further pushed farmers into heavy debts. The situation is further aggravated by farmers’ dependency on external and inorganic fertilizers and inputs, adding burden to the already impoverished farming sector. While the small farmers are generally the ones feeding the population, they are also the ones who are suffering from the impacts of climate change, resulting in poor agricultural production and extreme poverty. In this condition, food security is likewise threatened.
While data showed that there is an increase in food available per person compared with the food available in 1990, the Global Hunger Index considers the hunger situation in the country in 2016 as “serious”. This is validated by the results of the Social Weather Stations Survey that revealed 13.4% of Filipino families suffer from involuntary hunger in 2015. In fact, SWS self-rated hunger survey said that the number of hungry Filipino families rose from 8.3% to 18.3% from 1999-2014.
“Food security is among the government’s priorities. But this does not only mean availability of food on the table, but also ensuring that the food on the tables of the Filipinos is nutritious and safe to eat,” stated LOAMC President and Kauswagan, Lanao del Norte Mayor Rommel Arnado. “Providing safe and nutritious food also means producing food crops in environment-friendly, climate resilient and sustainable farming systems.”
Leonora Lava, Food and Ecological Agriculture Campaigner of Greenpeace Philippines and People’s Food Movement member, noted that the current policy environment promotes unsustainable farming practices that do not allow farmers to break free from inter-generational poverty, hunger and food insecurity.
“We are now in a situation where we need to shift our agriculture systems – conventional farming should be eradicated, and instead give way to indigenous, climate resilient, environmentally safe and healthy farming system that puts farming back in the hands of smallholding farmers,” said Lava.
Evasco is LOAMC’s founding officer and adviser. The People’s Food Movement believes that his vast experience in pushing for healthy and environment-friendly farming systems, and his presence in President Rodrigo Duterte’s Cabinet, could hasten passage of a People’s Food Policy that will pave the way for a better, safer, healthier and accessible food and agriculture system in the country.
Notes to the Editor: http://www.loamc.org/  The People’s Food Movement is a food campaign advanced by individuals, groups, organizations, government entities, academe and other formal and non-formal groups that act collectively and individually to promote practices, programs and policies rooted on the concept and practice of ecological agriculture.
For more information:
People’s Food Movement
Leonora Lava, Ecological Agriculture Campaigner
Greenpeace Southeast Asia – Philippines
Email: firstname.lastname@example.org | Mobile: (+63) 998 562 4005
League of Organic Agriculture Municipalities and Cities
Ms. Aloha Rebancos
Email: email@example.com | Mobile: (+63) 935-6844595