farmer plants rice in a field on the island municipality of Dumaran, Northern
Palawan. WWF-Philippines and WWF-Singapore are pushing for food security for
Dumaran. Photograph © Alo Lantin / WWF-Philippines
In a bid for sustainable food security, the World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF) Philippines, with the help of Cisco Systems, has committed to the construction of food sheds in rural communities in Northern Palawan.
project comes in response to livelihood disruptions caused by the pandemic.
With lockdown restrictions making travel between towns difficult, many farmers
and fishers have had difficulty selling their produce. Regional tourism has
also plummeted, pushing coastal communities once reliant on visiting tourists
further into poverty.
of livelihood and rising poverty has also placed additional pressure on natural
resources, as ailing communities increasingly turn to fishing to meet their
counteract this, WWF-Philippines will oversee the construction of food sheds in
twenty communities across the island of Dumaran. A third-class municipality in
Northeastern Palawan, Dumaran is separated from the mainland by a thin stretch
of water – and in turn has suffered resource shortages throughout the pandemic.
they need is a way to grow their own food in the absence of stable livelihoods.
With a food shed, you can grow healthy food for less land, with less of an
impact to the environment. Food sheds offer a very good, very stable supplement
to their current food production methods,” added WWF-Philippines Project
Manager Monci Hinay.
has overseen the construction of food sheds in farming communities across the
country. Through the Sustainable Food Systems program, he and his team have
promoted sustainable livelihoods and food securities in towns struggling with
food sheds slated for construction in Dumaran are a combination of low-tech,
low-cost gardening innovations that are easily replicable in rural communities.
Made of bamboo poles and recycled plastics, the food sheds combine container
gardening and hydroponics systems in a multi-level food production system that
can handle both poultry and a wide variety of crops.
food shed also lowers environmental pressure from fishing communities. With a
sustainable supply of fresh produce growing in each food shed, their reliance
on fisheries decreases, granting fish stocks room to grow.
to endangered species like the Philippine Cockatoo and the Philippine Pangolin,
Dumaran is a biodiversity hotspot and an important site for conservationists.
Dumaran and the neighboring Araceli are part of a group of six municipalities
that comprise the Northeast Palawan Marine Protected Area (MPA) Network, a
system of connected MPAs established by WWF-Philippines for the conservation of
the regions’ marine resources.
looking at a win-win scenario, both for these communities and for the
environment. People need to eat. The environment needs room to recover. With
these food sheds, both is possible,” said Hinay.