Posts Tagged ‘Philippines’


2007-2008 Food Crisis: Causes, Responses, and Lessons Learned

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By Jameson Spivack

The world food crisis of 2007-2008 caused a substantial rise in the cost of food, especially staple foods such as rice, wheat, and corn. This rise in price had a devastating effect on hungry people in the developing world.

When food prices rise, poor people in developing countries are hurt the most. (Image source: IFPRI)

Between 2005 and 2011, world prices for rice, wheat, and maize rose 102 percent, 115 percent, and 204 percent, respectively, according to the UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO). With price increases, people with less disposable income must spend a larger percentage of their earnings on essential staple grains, and less on other food and non-food items. This can have a significant impact on nutrition.

In seven Latin American countries, this increase in price led to an average 8 percent decrease in the amount of calories consumed. Before the crisis, 35 percent of households in Ecuador received an adequate amount of calories; afterwards, only 22 percent were receiving healthy levels of calories. In developing countries, if prices rise 50 percent across the board, and there is no rise in income, iron intake will decrease by 30 percent, according to the International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI). In the Philippines, this 30 percent decrease in iron consumption would mean that only 5 percent of women have adequate levels of iron.



Honoring Grassroots Environmental Leaders

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By Alison Blackmore

This is the second post in our 2-part series on the 2012 Goldman Environmental Prize. Click here to read the first post.

Earlier this week, we featured three of the six 2012 recipients of the prestigious Goldman Environmental Prize winners. Today, we highlight three more of these inspiring environmental leaders: Edwin Gariguez of the Philippines, Caroline Cannon of  Alaska, and Sofia Gatcia of Argentina.

Winners at the San Francisco 2012 Goldman Environmental Prize Ceremony. (Photo Credit: Goldman Environmental Prize)

In 2009 Intex, a Norwegian mining company, planned to build an open-pit nickel mine on the Philippine island of Mindoro, home to Catholic priest Edwin Gariguez. The project would produce several million tons of toxic waste, contaminating the island’s water resources and destroying the tropical forests. In order to protect the well-being of his community, Gariguez co-founded the Alliance Against Mining, a coalition of thousands of indigenous peoples, farmers, and local and provincial political leaders. Mindoro led communities in numerous protests against the mining project, even in the face of violence and verbal harassment from mining officials and the military. In 2002, Gariguez took his fight to the Norwegian parliament, bringing international attention to the mining project. In 2010, this pressure led to an investigation into the mine’s environmental and social violations by the Philippine government, who consequently revoked Intex’s permit for the mine.



Working With the Community to Foster Deep Roots of Health

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By Molly Theobald

Roots of Health, an organization based on the island of Palawan in the Philippines, views maternal and reproductive health as concerns that impact the well-being of entire communities,. “The better care women take of themselves, the better care they can take of their children, and the better children will be able to care for themselves in the future,” says Amina Evangelista Swanepoel, Founding Executive Director of Roots of Health.

The holes in the sides of the drum create an area for planting that is more than six times greater than the top surface of the container. (Photo credit: Molly Theobald)

Roots of Health works with small, informal settlements where families have no actual rights over the land they live on and farm. Most of the land available to them is severely degraded by pollution from mining, development, or run-off from the city. “The families in these communities don’t own their land, they are squatting here,” explains Amina. “They struggle to feed themselves and earn an income with what they have.” A community called Pulang Lupa, for example, is located on an abandoned mercury mine and their soil and water is severely polluted with dangerous chemicals and minerals.

Roots of Health and its staff of young nurses and teachers, work directly with mothers and children, to bring reproductive and maternal health, nutrition, and education into the community.

Roots of Health is also providing families with the tools they need to improve their nutrition. One of these tools is a vertical garden—a large plastic drum with 40 holes cut evenly around the sides. These holes create an area for planting that is more than six times greater than the top surface of the container. The drum is filled with compost-enriched soil and planted with seeds such as eggplant, chili, pumpkin, okra and various indigenous leafy greens such as alugbati and pechay. Straw is used on the top surface as a mulch to help the soil retain moisture and nutrients.



Nourishing the Planet in the Sun-Star Network

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Check out this article featuring Nourishing the Planet’s research on the Sun-Star Network Exchange, an innovative community newspaper network across the Philippines. The article quotes co-project Directors Danielle Nierenberg and Brian Halweil on the growing popularity of urban agriculture and its potential to alleviate hunger in the world’s increasingly urbanized population centers.