TipidTanim challenges households to grow own food
Cotabato City - As the ‘new normal’ looms after the lifting of community quarantines throughout the country, a group of advocates are pushing for backyard farming for sustainable food security and self-sufficiency.
In March, Nasrudin “Naz” Buisan, an agriculturist from the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (BARMM) founded TipidTanim Challenge to encourage families to plant their own food in their backyards.
“The severity of COVID-19 pandemic has affected the movement and distribution of food because of the lockdowns and community quarantines. So how do we solve this? Let us plant our own food!” he said in a podcast interview.
According to Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, a worldwide food crisis threatens as countries battle the spread of the pandemic. And local food production, particularly of vegetables, will be one of the steps to combat a future food crisis. (http://www.fao.org/2019-ncov/q-and-a/impact-on-food-and-agriculture/en/)
“May mga groups na nagexpress ng support nila, they said, okay, let’s start home gardening, pero sinabi din nila na hindi kami makalabas, hindi kami makabili ng seeds, that is why we thought, how about we distribute seeds?” Naz added.
Eventually, government, private organizations, and individuals supported TipidTanim challenge by donating funds to raise seedlings such as kangkong, ampalaya, pipino, and okra.
Naz narrated how the seed distribution started in just two pick-up points: Cotabato City and Datu Odin Sinsuat and grew to more than 18 pick-up points in Maguindano and ten outside the province, bringing the advocacy to Regions 10 and 12, and as far as Cebu.
“Sa ngayon, 3,000 na ang nabigyan natin ng seeds. Kung susumahin natin ang lahat ng mga seeds na naipamahagi natin, ito ay nagkakahalaga na ng PHP 200,000 na din,” Naz said.
Empowering communities to be self-reliant through social media
According to Naz, a lot of families have already started their home gardens proving that their advocacy continues to gain traction.
“Marami tayong nahikayat gawin ito kahit hindi naman natin sila nabigyan ng seeds. Yun talaga ang advocacy natin na bawat pamilya ay makapagsimulang magtanim.” he said.
TipidTanim’s social media page not only features the basic home gardening tips, but also answers inquiries on backyard farming. Agriculturists from Mindanao State University and Cotabato City Polytechnic College provide helpful tips to those interested.
“Naging parte na din ng TipidTanim challenge ang hikayatin ang mga komunidad na magtanim ng sarili nilang pagkain. Kung ang bawat household ay may kakayanan nang gawin ito, hindi na nila kailangan pang umasa sa iba,” he said.
Support from PEF
“Since the start of the lockdown, PEF has assisted a number of relief efforts in collaboration with other civil society organizations, but we also wanted to look for initiatives that promote sustainable recovery from the effects of the pandemic,” PEF Social Enterprise Institute Manager Merlyn Francisco said.
She added that encouraging backyard vegetable gardening can bring immediate support from the communities in the area.
“We think the project can be scaled up and replicated in many other areas,” she added.