Food forests as key to food security
Maximizing use of space is crucial, in any aspect. We’ve heard of multi-storey graveyards, capsule type of hostels, and now, for agriculture, we have the concept of food forest or “multi-storey crop farming”.
Jose Rene C. Gayo, a member of the MAP Agribusiness and Countryside Development Committee, and Program Manager for MAP’s Farm Business Schools Program said in his column for Business World that food forest farming, given its natural design, can help in providing food security for small family farms.
The farming technique, commonly referred to as “multistorey crop farming” or “condominium farming”, isn’t a new concept and it had been proven to work in other parts of the world, he said.
Gayo said that this could be one of the optimal ways to improve the Philippines’ agricultural systems.
“But the big challenge is, can it work in a farming environment where farm families are merely eking out for survival? I think so.”, he said.
“First of all, the principles of food forests were derived from Mother Nature itself; forest ecosystem has survived after millions of years. This in itself is a proof that such a system works”, he added.
He also explained that food forests have been proven to be an important source of income and food security for local communities.
“As proof, cultures all over the world where it has been practiced as age-old traditions, such farming system has survived the test of time. In the Philippines, it has been practiced by Batangas and Cavite farmers, and has proven to be effective in improving the lives of farmers”, he explained.
The most critical part, he said, is the training and education for agri-prenerus, and set their outlook to look beyond the conventional ways of today’s farming.
“What would be the results of our inaction? Mono-cropping and traditional agricultural practices are destroying our farms through the use of chemicals, contributing to soil erosion in sloping areas, and ravaging fragile ecosystems. Should we choose to close our eyes to these realities, then the doomsday scenario is the choice we will make for future generations”, he said.
He said that he is hoping the new administration and the DA would make this a priority in the country.