SEARICE COVID-19 Quick Response
Story by: Cid Ryan Manalo
Extraordinary circumstances require extraordinary responses, in all these, we vow to recover together.
One of the core values of the organization is social inclusivity, and in all its endeavors, SEARICE has been committed in providing targeted responses and assistance to the most vulnerable. As we continue to navigate the effects of the pandemic, in addition to its continuing projects centered on capacity building, the organization through its partnerships with several institutions in Vietnam, the Philippines and Lao PDR has delivered immediate responses to farming communities.
In the province of Lao Cai, home to 33 ethnic groups who live in rural communes, through our partnership with Initiatives for Community Empowerment on Rural Development (ICERD) and Crop Production and Plant Protection Sub-Department of Lao Cai province (CP & PPSD) we have successfully conducted Farmers Field Schools (FFS) on establishing Diversified Integrated Farming Systems (DIFS) on four different communities. A total of 75 farming households received trainings, 301 received immediate agricultural inputs and support, and 226 are in the process of diversifying their farming systems. These numbers are continuously growing as farmers continue to reproduce the inputs initially provided to share with other farmers, and exchange knowledge to diversify their farming systems.
In partnership with National Agriculture and Forest Research Institute (NAFRI) and a multitude of other public institutions, organic livestock raising and vegetable production trainings were conducted in three communities in Xaysathan district. These communities belong to the country's poorest that experience chronic food shortages exacerbated by the pandemic. In addition to trainings, 2 schools and several households received agricultural inputs (livestock and seeds) to be shared to the members of the community. Our partners have shown their strong commitment by constructing greenhouses and cages for the target communities.
In partnership with local farmers organizations and local government units, SEARICE conducted a two-pronged response to our partners in several communities in the country. First, trainings and agricultural inputs were provided to several farming communities in Mindanao who were strongly affected by the pandemic lockdowns. These were conducted in six communities in two provinces. Second, in response to the devastating effects of the typhoons which further magnified the vulnerabilities by the pandemic, SEARICE has conducted relief operations in several communities in Rizal province, and extended its support to rehabilitation in Quezon and Aurora.
Our commitment will remain on the continued support for the recovery of our partner communities. And beyond this, we continue the call for the radical transformation of our food systems, towards a more inclusive, post-COVID 19 world.