A field of newly transplanted Virginia tobacco in Barangay Anei, Claveria, Misamis Oriental. The production of these plants plummeted to only a million kilograms in 2018 as only 336 farmers planted the crop in 436.21 hectares, down from 2.5 million in 2017 with 1,117 farmers who grew the variety in 1,387 hectares. Photo by LSReyes

[Philippines] Images of women absent from posters on safe tobacco growing

Researchers in a Brazil-based study in a tobacco-growing community pointed out that women are primary study subjects on the health and environmental impacts of tobacco production because of  “their role in tobacco production, combined with their essential role in caring for the family, especially related to health.’’

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[Philippines] Environment, health impacts awareness factor in tobacco production nosedive

Done in 2016, three years after tobacco’s commercial cultivation began here, the study, which profiled women farmers, including the knowledge, perceptions and practices of women working in tobacco farms in Claveria. Among its findings is that 90 percent of the women workers were aware of the health impacts of cultivating the plant.

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[Philippines] Romancing storms, worms and leaves: Growing ‘batek’ in the shadow of environmental perils

The farmers continue to use insecticides whose active ingredients, Gold Star Daily has learned, are listed as hazardous by World Health Organization (WHO) and the Pesticide Action Network (PAN) International. PAN uses the definition of the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) of hazardous pesticides as “those linked with a high incidence of severe or irreversible adverse effects on human health or the environment.”

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Arlene Django

[Philippines] Romancing storms, worms and leaves: Growing native ‘batek’ in the shadow of environmental perils

The town leadership more than a decade ago, as early as 2006, had the foresight to envision environmental management strategies for its communities that included the introduction of organic farming methods for all crops for this largely agricultural town, where residents grow rice, corn, coconuts and other cash crops like bananas, coffee and tobacco on 4,366 hectares, 42 percent of its land area.

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Ruthela Mabalo, 73, a comprador at the Bagsakan, the tobacco trading center in Laguindingan town in Misamis Oriental, examines a mano (a sheaf of 100 batek leaves) before she decides to buy them from a farmer-seller. (photo by Lina Sagaral Reyes)

[Philippines] Romancing storms, worms and leaves: Growing tobacco in the shadow of environmental perils in Misor

In October 2018, at the eighth Conference of Parties (COP8) in Geneva, the WHO FCTC spotlighted Article 18, which commits signatory countries like the Philippines, to addressing the environmental impacts caused by tobacco agriculture as well as the health of growers. 

On the ground, however, it is easier said than done. While the number of farmers and the hectarage had significantly declined in the past seven years nationwide, Misamis Oriental had seen an upsurge as farmers turn to tobacco as major crop once again.

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The Ton River is seen in Kua village, Laos, on Dec. 24, 2018 / Credit: Somphavanh

[Laos] Poisoned fish worries village as Sangthong district promotes good agricultural practices

The people of Kua village in Sangthong district depend on the Ton River for their livelihoods. It is a prime source of food for the community and provides fishermen an income. It is a source of drinking water for the many diverse animals that live in the area. Locals use the water from the river on a daily basis for drinking, bathing and washing.

Villagers say the number of fish and aquatic life in the Ton River has been on the decline ever since the Chinese-owned Yongzhen Import-Export Production Promotion Company started planting bananas there in 2014.

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