“We are fine here in spite of the limited movements of goods due to the lockdown being implemented by the government because our own farm provides us with the commodities we need.” These words of assurance from Teodulo Badillo and his wife Delia, our farmer leaders in Molave, Zamboanga Del Sur who called me up last night to give updates on their situation eased our worries on the socio-economic impacts of COVID-19 on farmers’ lives.
Teodulo or Dokdok, as he is popularly known, has constantly been practicing agroecology or Diversified Integrated Farming System (DIFS) in local term for 11 years now, constantly making on-farm innovations, leading the social enterprise program of their organization, and unselfishly sharing his knowledge among the farmers in Zamboanga Peninsula Region and in several parts of Mindanao.
In their 1 hectare farm in Barangay Miligan, Dokdok and Delia planted rice, vegetables, fruit trees, herbs, and they also raised goats, native chickens, and ducks – providing them with all-year-round sources of secured and nutritious food, medicines, natural fertilizers, and regular income which is much higher than those organic farmers who depends only on rice.
In a time like this, the couple sees the multi-dimensional benefits of practicing DIFS, giving their commitment to teaching other farmers.
COVID-19 threatens not only our health but, even worst, our food supply, ‘normal’ economic activities and regular sources of income. It is feared that the food crisis will exacerbate in the months to come if the lockdown would probably be prolonged and the situation won’t be back to normal as it was. In the cities, for instance, the supply of food is already becoming quite alarming.
Dokdok and Delia affirm that practicing DIFS makes their family more agile to face this kind of situation, fully believing that DIFS plays an essential element for the sustainability of small-scale farming families and local economies.
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