By Marisol Tuso
August 31, 2022
For my column this month, I would like to share my conversation with Camille Cutimar, 23, a Climate Reality Leader from Magallanes, Agusan del Norte. Through this, I hope to inspire more young people to dedicate their time to contributing to efforts to transform our food systems and integrate sustainability in the country’s agriculture sector.
In the Philippines, the average age of the farmers is 57. The figure simply tells us that a few young people are becoming farmers, threatening the future of agriculture in the country. This is why government agencies, non-government organizations, and private sector organizations involved in food systems are working towards making farming appealing to more young Filipinos like Camille.
Camille works in the agriculture and fishery sector. Seeing the need to reduce fishing pressure in sea waters, address overfishing, and allow juveniles to grow before they are caught, she is working to bring alternative livelihood for small fishers. She is also studying aquaponics, a climate-smart innovation for farming aquatic organisms (aquaculture) and cultivating plants in water without soil (hydroponics), with the aim of sharing this technology with climate-vulnerable and farming communities. Hydroponics and aquaponics are examples of innovative and sustainable farming practices that the youth should learn more about and build on.
With the global population expected to grow by an additional two (2) billion in 2050, we need more innovative and sustainable practices that will make global food systems more sustainable. We cannot just expand farming lands. We need to allow farmlands to restore nutrient losses. Young farmers will play a major role in this transformation. We need the creativity, passion, and knowledge of the youth in finding more innovative agricultural practices.
The government is now supportive of farming innovation from the youth sector. You can inquire with the Department of Agriculture (DA) and the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) for available support to start your own farms or climate-smart agriculture initiatives.
Marisol is the Mindanao Coordinator of The Climate Reality Project Philippines. She has been working in the development sector for 16 years. She is a specialist in training, institution and community development, information, education, and communication (IEC), and gender and social inclusion. Aside from being a broadcast journalist since 1997, she also served as the Project Coordinator of the Global Fund for Malaria Component Project for 10 years and as Training and IEC Specialist of the Philippine Cold Chain Project.
ABOUT HISGUTANANG KLIMA SA MINDANAO
Hisgutanang Klima or “Climate Discussions” is a space that aims to amplify the climate stories and initiatives of the more than 100 Pinoy Climate Reality Leaders in Mindanao.
It is one of the monthly columns launched by The Climate Reality Project Philippines to elevate the climate discourse and strengthen climate action across all regions in the Philippines.