MAGUINDANAO. Mr. Abudabie Abdullah, a peer educator and facilitator of ANGAT DAPAT Livelihood Project from Brgy. Madia in Datu Saudi Ampatuan municipality, related that in the past he used to plant rice but with the frequent flooding he finds it futile to continue to plant and does not know any alternative to save his rice farming. He added that because of the frequent flooding many farmers have significant decreased income and they could only hope for an alternative livelihood.
The National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Center (NDRRMC) reported that persistent rain since early May of this year in Maguindanao Province has caused several rivers to overflow, in particular the Pulangi River, Mindanao River and Ligawasan Marsh. Since then, the flooding has continued and the numbers affected have reached 227,475 people in 17 municipalities in total. Nearly 30 schools have suspended classes due to flooded buildings. Flooding has damaged crops, with over 1,500 farmers affected.
In 2015, The Regional Planning and Development Office of ARMM reported that the drought affected 19,359 hectares planted with rice, corn and high value commercial crops in 84 municipalities with 462,740 residents in the ARMM region.
Recent natural disasters significantly affected crops and livestock , which resulted in severe loss of agricultural products and even human lives. Climate change worsened the economic situation and food security among others. Hence, there is a critical and urgent need to develop climate -smart technologies available and accessible to the farmers through creation of an enabling institutional environment in Maguindanao.
In line with this call, the The Moropreneur Inc (TMI) and Islamic Relief Worldwide – Philippines (IRW-PH) have started in June of this year an advocacy work at the grassroots level. A series of orientation and dialogue with municipal and barangay officials, private sector, sectoral groups (women, youth, PWD), other CSOs and the communities are being conducted to lobby for a multi-stakeholder collaboration in building community resilience. It also aims to enhance consciousness among the community in terms of embracing climate resilient ecological farming methods to adapt to climate change and meet their community’s food security needs.
Climate-Resilient and Smart Agriculture is an integrative approach to address the interlinked challenges facing food security and climate change through the three dimensions of sustainable development: a) economic – sustainably increasing agricultural productivity, to support equitable increases in farm incomes, food security and development; b) social – adapting and building resilience of agricultural and food security systems to climate change at multiple levels; and c) environmental – reducing and/or removing greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions from agriculture (including crops, livestock and fisheries).
TMI and IRW-PH believe that the presence of newly established community-based micro-enterprises (CMEs) in communities –a major output of the ANGAT DAPAT Livelihood project – will enable delivery of products and services to hard-to-reach populations. This market concentration and high level of employment means CMEs are in a good position to contribute to making vulnerable populations more climate-resilient. But while they can assist in helping vulnerable households adapt to climate change, they are also extremely vulnerable to the impacts of climate change.
On 27 April 2017, Hadja Kadiguia R. Abdullah, Senior Agriculturist and Chief of RAFID-ARMM; and, Ms. Salembai A. Abdullah, Information Officer of the Department of Agriculture – ARMM oriented the ANGAT DAPAT Lead Facilitators about the Climate Change and Smart Agriculture. Accordingly, the Agriculture industry in the Philippines contributes around 33% of the total green house gases emissions. Hence, the discussion was steered towards the adoption of smart and climate-resilient agriculture through integrated crop-management in Maguindanao.
Currently, TMI and the Municipal Agrarian Officers of Datu Odin Sinsuat, Datu Saudi Ampatuan, Datu Piang, South Upi and Sultan Kudarat municipalities are collaborating in generating awareness at the municipal and barangay level to create climate-resilient enterprises.
This advocacy work is important to help CMEs overcome challenges and capitalize on their unique business opportunities in ways that can help vulnerable communities adapt to climate change.