Oxfam Japan provides farmers in Mindanao with financial support and training for the construction of grain drying facilities and warehouses. Drying rice under the sun prevents the growth of mould, allowing the farmers to sell their produce at a higher price.
Oxfam in the Philippines
Oxfam opened an office in Manila in 1987 and has been working in the Philippines since then.
Oxfam's work focuses on:
• Lobbying for change through our advocacy work
• Increasing opportunities for women
• Providing disaster response and preparedness measures through the humanitarian programme
Most poor people in the Philippines live in rural areas. Agricultural productivity has been low since the 1990s. Many farmers struggle with high levels of debt and difficulties in accessing markets and buying land. More recently, rising food prices have also had a big impact because of the country°«s rapidly growing population and a shortage of land suitable for crops.
Photo: ©Dante Dalabajan/Oxfam
Poverty is not just about the lack of resources. In a wealthy world, it is about wrong decisions made by the authorities. Oxfam campaigns vigorously to press the authorities for real lasting change. One of the continuous campaigns is aimed at beefing up the government investment in small-scale agriculture to ensure the country°«s food security. This means importing less rice and strengthening the capacity of local farmers to produce rice.
Mindanao is the geographical focus of Oxfam°«s development work. Through the Oxfam Mindanao Programme (OMP), it works with the civil society and the private sector to help build poor men and women°«s capacity as economic leaders. The focus is on women because they account for the second largest number of the poor population next to children. At the same time, poor women, when given an equal opportunity, have the potential to rise above poverty. The Poor Women°«s Economic Leadership Programme of Oxfam aims to build women°«s negotiating power in both their own households and in the economic markets in which they engage to sell their produce and/or services. At the heart of the Oxfam Mindanao Programme°«s operations is a vision of women free from armed conflict, violence and discrimination so that they can have access to secure livelihood.
Oxfam°«s response to emergencies – clean water, food, shelter and sanitation – keeps people alive. In the long-term, it funds poverty al£ževiation projects that enable people to rebuild their lives, livelihoods, and communities. Oxfam has provided relief and humanitarian protection to communities displaced by natural disasters, typhoons Reming and Frank, tropical storms Ketsana and Parma, and the long-standing armed conflict in Central Mindanao.
Oxfam Japan°«s support
Oxfam Japan has supported for Philippines since 2007.
Support for piece-building in Mindanao
On 15 October 2012, the Government of the Republic of the Philippines (GPH) and the major rebel group in Mindanao, Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF), signed a historic peace framework deal after more than a decade of protracted negotiations. Referred to as the Framework Agreement on the Bangsamoro (FAB), this outlines a roadmap for the next four years (until 2016). This will lead to the creation of an autonomous Bangsamoro government, which is expected to put an end to longstanding conflict in central and western Mindanao, where a majority of Muslim Filipinos reside. The FAB is not yet the final peace agreement.
There is an immediate and urgent need to increase the public awareness of the Framework Agreement on the Bangsamoro and the process that will follow, which will be the signing of the comprehensive peace deal in the Bangsamoro areas and outside. The devil, as the saying goes, is in the details. There are misconceptions that can cause more frustrations among the people if the implementation of the FAB fails. At the national level, particularly in the media, there is also a lot of misinformation - from the (dismemberment) disintegration of the country to land dispossession. Words will mean different things to different people. In an effort to address these issues, Oxfam supports workshops aimed at sharing and discussing the details of the Framework Agreement on the Bangsamoro in the communities.
(Photo: ©Jessan Catre/Oxfam)
Support for small farm owners
Poverty and conflict
The target communities are situated in two poor municipalities in Central Mindanao: Balabagan in Lanao del Sur and Esperanza in Sultan Kudarat. Lanao del Sur has a poverty incidence rate of 56% while Sultan Kudarat has 54%, nearly double of the national average pegged at 26.9%, according to the National Statistical Coordination Board (NSCB). These municipalities were also once war zones in the recent conflict and are dominated by Muslims and indigenous people (or lumads).
Climate change and livelihoods
The target communities, as in other areas in the Philippines, have recently been experiencing changes in weather patterns, with altering episodes of drought and flooding caused by the El NiŹę–o and La NiŹę–a phenomena. Central Mindanao, according to meteorological records, is said to be at high risk to both temperature increases and to El-NiŹę–o-induced drought. The extreme weather events that hit the region in 2009-2010 have severely affected the livelihoods of small farmers, resulting in decrease in incomes and huge indebtedness and for their families, food shortage and involuntary hunger.
The project°«s overall objective is to reduce the vulnerabilities of poor farmers in the targeted communities to climate change. It has two major components: (1) the construction of facilities in the targeted barangays of Esperanza, Sultan Kudarat and Balabagan, Lanao del Sur; and (2) the capacity-building for the key members, particularly women, of farmers°« associations to which the management of the facilities will be turned over.
With the construction process complete, local rice and corn farmers have begun utilising the warehouses and grain drying facilities..