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What You Can Do To Help Local Farmers? [VIDEO]

As an ordinary citizen, what can we do to help local farmers?
Here are ways to contribute the cause:

1. Urge local government units to buy from local farmers
Especially with the wide reach of local government units, former National Food Authority (NFA) chief Renan Dalisay suggested that one way people can help Filipino farmers is to lobby to their local government units to buy local rice.

This will help ensure a stable income for Filipino farmers, and receive a constant demand for their products with reasonable prices. Dalisay noted that people can lobby to their local government units to buy from Filipino farmers for P20 per kilo and sell these in their local markets for P40 per kilo.

2. Buy locally produced rice instead of imported rice
To help support rice farmers, people can also opt to buy rice locally instead of getting imported brands. Dalisay added that more sales of rice will create more demand. It will also motivate farmers to produce more goods. Ibon Foundation highlighted that the dependency on imported rice can cause harm to Philippine society. Local rice should always be the priority. "What if the global market players jack up prices or restrict supply? Where do we source our rice if the local rice industry is already dead? We should directly support our rice farmers and strengthen the local rice industry instead of relying on imports for our staple," they said.

3. Set up a market for local farmers
Filipino farmers go through a rigorous process when selling their local goods. By setting up a market for these farmers to directly sell their goods to consumers, this will cut the bureaucracy involved, thus becoming easier for farmers to earn income.
Session Groceries also suggested to make events around the country in order to create a market for local farmers to sell their goods. This could be online or on ground. Session Groceries, for example, bridges consumers to Filipino farmers in order to sell their local goods.

4. Volunteer in an organization
Join outreach programs or activities or volunteer in an organization that focuses on helping local farmers. Session Groceries, for example, is currently accepting volunteers to help Filipino farmers and to expand their network of farmers within the country. You can volunteer for their organization by joining the Facebook group Helping Local Farmers or message Session Groceries on Facebook. Another organization where you can volunteer is Rice Pinas where it aims to unite and empower consumers by giving them options on where to buy rice as direct from our farmers as possible. You can volunteer for their organization by joining the Facebook group Rice Pinas Volunteers or message Rice Pinas on Facebook.

5. Ask companies to buy produce from local farmers
Another way you can help out farmers is to reach out to companies and set up an arrangement. There are other companies that follow a farm to table approach, which could be implemented even in restaurants in your city. The Philippine Rice Research Institute pointed out that local grocery stores, restaurants, canteens, among others, can partner with cooperatives or farmers' groups in their community and deal with them as suppliers. They pointed out that the regular demand from bulk buys can help local groups stand a better chance of flourishing. Rice Pinas organizes weekend markets where cooperatives and farmer organizations are given an opportunity to sell their products.

UPROOT Philippines, for example, partnered with Farmers Producers Cooperative of Victoria Tarlac and Aglipay to sell Premium Long Grain Jasmine 160 and Brown rice from Nueva Ecija. You may order their products through this form and through Rice Pinas weekend markets. Session Groceries highlighted that this effort can sustain the livelihood of the farmers as there is a continuous demand for their products.

6. Share and amplify information about local farmers
Session Groceries part owner Iloisa Romaraog Diga also expounded that awareness on the issue is essential by sharing posts on social media and sparking a conversation within communities.

Farm tourism in Philippines
Travellers seek learning and recreation in farms, and this demand engenders increased economic activities not only in the farms themselves, but also in the surrounding rural communities.
Farm tourism holds the promise of food sufficiency and additional income for our tourism stakeholders, including farmers, farmworkers and fisherfolk.

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