Farmers’ voices heard: Organic farm product trading post set to open soon in M’lang town

By Roxanne Angelika S Dela Cruz | Field and Emergency Communications Specialist

NORTH COTABATO, PHILIPPINES — It’s a dream come true for a group of organic farmers in the Municipality of M’lang. At long last, the local government has heard their pleas and offered assistance by providing a building that will serve as a trading post for organically grown farm produce.

But it wasn’t an easy feat. Years ago, the farmers hesitated to approach their local government units (LGUs), believing their voices would never be heard.

“We felt like ordinary people with no voice. When we were invited to meetings with the LGU, we only showed up for the sake of being present,” Flora candidly shares.

Things changed after the group attended the Citizen Voice and Action (CVA) organized by World Vision and the Philippine Rural Reconstruction Movement. Both organizations partner in implementing a Climate Smart Agriculture project in several communities in North Cotabato.

The project Strengthening Liguasan Marsh-Based Farmers’ Resilience Towards Climate Change and Disaster Impacts on their Livelihoods in the Province of Cotabato (North Cotabato), funded by Germany’s BMZ or Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development, aims to help farmers to adapt to climate change and promote food security through various farming methods and advocacy. 

The CVA training helped farmers to identify key issues affecting agriculture and taught them strategies to engage with government agencies to address these challenges. “The linkage of the farmers and the LGU only started when the CVA was introduced to us,” shares 64-year-old farmer, Emmanuel.

In July 2023, M’lang farmer representatives had an initial dialogue with the LGU, lobbying for solution on issues affecting the farmers surrounding the Liguasan Marsh and in marketing their organic products. At that time, the farmers were individually selling their produce.

While other concerns are still being addressed, the request to market organic products has received a positive response. “The Municipal Agriculture Office agrees to provide us with an organic trading post,” Emmanuel says, referring to a nearby trading post that was built by the LGU but is not yet used.

As the Memorandum of Agreement awaits finalization, the M’lang farmers are looking forward to utilizing the organic trading post, which will include a small laboratory for making organic concoctions for pesticides and fertilizers, in addition to selling organic produce such as rice and vegetables.

The organic post is conveniently situated along the highway next to the Municipal Agriculture Office.

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