East-West Seed Philippines, through it Knowledge Transfer program, and in collaboration with Plan International, United States Agency for International Development Marawi Response Project, and the Provincial Government of Lanao del Sur, recently launched a 6-month capacity-building project in vegetable farming that is envisioned to improve the livelihoods and food security of Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) in Marawi and neighboring Lanao areas.

This multi-sectoral collaborative effort will pilot three demonstration farms in conflict-stricken areas of Lanao del Sur Province and Iligan City, Lanao del Norte. These farms will serve as learning sites for farmers and local extension workers where they will be trained on vegetable production technologies with intercropping systems. Coffee and high-value vegetable crops will be planted, including eggplant, bitter gourd, tomato, hot pepper, sweet pepper, cucumber, yardlong bean, and watermelon.

“Vegetable farming with intercropping systems can be an excellent source of livelihood for families. With these learning sites, we aim to equip them with the knowledge and skills needed to increase their yield and income,” said Hermans.

The project is expected to directly benefit 60 key farmers and reach more than 6,000 local farmers, youth, extension workers, and input dealers through the trainings and technical field days.

“We want to help in hastening the economic recovery of the people affected by the Marawi siege. This is just the first step in a longer partnership aiming to increase agricultural productivity, improve entrepreneurial skills, and foster sustainable business for IDPs,” added Hermans.

East-West Seed, together with its partner local government units, academe, and non-government organizations, has been supporting rehabilitation projects for IDPs. In 2018, the company and its partners distributed vegetable seed packs and farming guides in Maranao dialect and provided trainings on vegetable production to more than 2,000 farmers and local extension workers in Marawi and nearby communities.