Integrated Family Farming
Farmers take on debt with 15% monthly interest to purchase seeds, fertilizer, and tools. To pay their debt, farmers give up 80% of their profits and are forced to borrow more money just to survive.
Our solution is Integrated Family Farming, which is the combined effort of the farmers and their families in growing a variety of crops and vegetables.
Through Integrated Farming, farmers have the ability to increase their income. They will be able to provide a higher variety of crops and vegetables for the market at a competitive price.
To lead and facilitate this effort, RiceUp is building two model farms in Pampanga. These will serve as an example where farmers can learn and observe the processes of effective integrated farming of a wide variety of produce. We will also practice efficient farming methods through the use of technology, and reduce food waste before and after harvest. These model farms will also serve as a supplement to the community to help leverage the need for food, seeds, and other deficits.
We worked with the former President of the Philippines and now Speaker of the House, Mrs. Gloria Macapagal Arroyo, and through her influence, the local municipalities worked with us and established two model farms where farmers implement integrated farming. We wrote a bill, which she is now sponsoring in Congress, to encourage young Filipinos to be social entrepreneurs.
Thousands of kilos of food are wasted every season both before and after harvest. The long supply chain that currently exists uses up unnecessary time for the food to travel from farm to consumers' homes. A lot of produce go bad in the process. With inefficient methods, many products are left unused. That means thousands of pesos that could have been income for the farmers, and thousands of kilos of food that could have fed the people.
Riceup's vermiculture project aims to achieve a specific goal; to prevent food waste and to make use of existing waste. Since this project launched in February 2017, RiceUp has opened two vermiculture facilities. We collected waste from the local communities to turn into fertilizers, which supplemented our farmer's needs for the upcoming season and reduced farming costs. Technological training and integrated farming seminars have also helped the farmers utilize more efficient farming methods for land preparation, harvest, and on to delivery of goods. The more efficiently they can operate, the less waste they will accumulate throughout the process.
As of June 2017, RiceUp has been able to divert and reduce 3,000 kilos of waste. The vermiculture products have saved our farmers' precious pesos. In the end, lower costs for the farmers and more efficient production will generate lower costs for the consumers.
Last year we established the first Farm School in Lubao, Pampanga, Philippines. For three months, farmers train in self-development and profitable farming classes to become agricultural entrepreneurs (agri-preneur). We hire the older children of the farmers to teach at the farm school so we can provide employment to some of them. The children who teach at the farm school are paid by our partner- The Upward Bound Business School.
Riceup also established a Tech-4-Ed Center in our Farm School in partnership with the Department of Information and Communication Technology (DICT). They provided training, equipment, and a $25,000 digital platform.
In August 2018 there were 27 farmers who graduated from the Farm School. Our second batch graduated in December 2018. We currently have over 200 farmers enrolled in the farm school course.