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Greenpeace launches #IAmHampasLupa to spotlight role of youth in addressing food, nutrition and agriculture issues

By GREENPEACE
October 10, 2015

BAGUIO CITY – Greenpeace Philippines, in partnership with local organizations, challenged the voting youth to pledge to transform the country’s food and agriculture.

Through the use of social media, and capitalizing on the ‘selfie’ phenomenon, Greenpeace launched #IAmHampasLupa at the Baguio Cathedral, to solicit photo pledges from all over the Philippines as a way to elevate food, nutrition and agriculture as key issues that should be tackled in the upcoming national elections.

The group believes in this digital age, people should be mindful of what is important and vital, especially when it comes to our intrinsic relationship with food and agriculture.

“Food is life and most of us take for granted how we get our daily nourishment to sustain us and enable us to do our day-to-day business. We seldom associate the food we eat with the farmers who do backbreaking work to produce them,” said Virginia Benosa-Llorin, Greenpeace, Food and Ecological Agriculture Campaigner. “In fact, buying and consuming local produce makes us stakeholders in our local agriculture. But how involved are we in the discussion of food and agriculture, even food security?”

Greenpeace said the country suffers from a double burden of malnutrition, with one in every five (20%) Filipino children under 5 years of age under weight, and one in every three (31%) Filipino adults aged 20 and above overweight or obese. Undernutrition exists because of unequal access and distribution of food. Overnutritionis prevalent because of increasing physical inactivity and poor diets, particularly the low intakes of fruits, vegetables, rootcrops and tubers and the increasing intake of sweet and oily food. This is further re-enforced by our agriculture’s focus on rice, irrigation and specific food commodities. Forty percent of the Department of Agriculture’s budget goes to rice and irrigation programs.

The group believes that the Philippines cannot continue on this path and that reforms in our food and agriculture system are needed in order to address nutrition issues. “We need a comprehensive, holistic, responsive food policy that addresses today’s challenges of climate change, nutrition security, disaster response and environmental protection. We need an ecological transformation in our food and agriculture in order to respond to the growing needs and concerns,” added Llorin.

It starts by changing our perception of farming and acknowledging the vital role that farmers play in our everyday lives. Philippine society has looked down on farming as menial and dirty, hence oftentimes, hampaslupa is used to describe our farmers as pitiful and not fit to be role models. Farmers are looked down as farming is considered a poor man’s trade that no one should choose as there is no future in it.

Greenpeace believes that as consumers, we participate in farming and re-affirm the value and role of farmers. Collectively and individually we are hampaslupa, which literally means ‘hit the land’ or ‘till the land’ as farmers do. We contribute to ‘tilling the soil’ with the food choices we make. Each of us therefore, especially the youth, which comprise 40% of the 52 million registered voters, have the power to shape the future of food and farming. They can define what the next President should address.

“If we want good, affordable, nutritious food – we need to connect, converse, support our local farmers to enable them to provide these food. But it starts with altering our perception and acknowledging our connections to Filipino farmers,” said Rogel Marsan of the Cordillera Organic Producers Association.