Groups launch the 2012 Lunhaw Awards for Davao’s best green initiatives

June 26th, 2012 by

DAVAO CITY –  The Interface Development Interventions, Inc. (IDIS), the Davao Association of Colleges  and Schools (DACS), City Agriculturist’s Office (CAO), the City Environment and Natural Resources Office (CENRO) and the Davao City Water District (DCWD)  are launching a citywide search to recognize outstanding practices in organic farming and environment-friendly initiatives.

Named after the Cebuano word for ‘green’, the Lunhaw Awards seeks to recognize individuals, groups  or communities which use innovative and sustainable ways of living which protect and nurture the environment.

“This award seeks to recognize and honor the initiatives of the ordinary Dabawenyo, who believes in the vision of Green Davao, and thus  finds ways to make the vision a reality.”, said Mary Ann Fuertes, IDIS Executive Director.

A maximum  of fifteen (15) awards will be given. Winners will be selected from three categories: individual household categorys (small), community-based/association (medium), and institutions/malls/hotels (large).

Winning entries will be judged according to the following criteria:  environmental benefits, economic benefits, use of renewable energy, replicability, durability and continuity, and innovation.

The contest is open to Dabawenyos currently living in Davao City. Candidates may nominate their own green practices or else submit other entries which fit the search criteria.

“We will award the winners during the citywide celebration of Organic Day in December 2012.”, said Fuertes. “The winners will receive P5,000.00 and a trophy, plus their stories will be promoted as green initiatives worth replicating in the City.”

“We hope to sustain this as a yearly activity. In time,  we hope to  create a Davao City’s Hall of Fame for Best Practitioners in Environmentally Sound/ Sustainable Lifestyles where consecutive winners of the Lunhaw Awards will be enshrined.”, she added. “This will underscore the fact that Green Davao goes beyond the buzzwords and is actually a city of best green practices.” (#)

Organic farming advocates work with CAO to plan for the future of the Davao’s organic agriculture

June 26th, 2012 by

DAVAO CITY –  The future of Davao City’s organic farming is being laid out at the City Agriculturist Office.

Organic farming practitioners and their advocates are meeting with the city’s Technical Committee on Organic Agriculture/ Organic Agriculture Management Council (TCOA-OAMC) this week to determine how to mainstream organic farming in the next five years. The most pressing questions include how to sustain the production of high quality organic products, and how to make organic farm produce more accessible to the public.

Go Organic Davao City network member Ling Castro, of the Interface Development Interventions, said that they hope to have the 5 year strategic plan in place before the year ends. “Having a  strategic plan for organic makes it even more of a commitment for Davao City to establish itself as the organic center in Southern Mindanao where organic farming communities are producing a sufficient supply of affordable organic produce and where these communities are patronized and supported by the local government and the public.”, she said.

“This will also contribute to Davao’s vision of a green city where there is a confluence of sustainable initiatives and environment-friendly lifestyles.”, Castro added.

Davao City already has more than 100 farmers practicing organic agriculture, excluding the indigenous upland farmers who grow crops using traditional techniques without the use of synthetic fertilizers and pesticides.  That number is expected to increase with implementation of the strategic plan as it will pave the way for the institutionalization  of  LGU support for organic farming.

This includes the development and popularization of indigenous based organic farming techniques as well as the integration of organic agriculture promotion in local school curricula.

Of late, Davao City’s agricultural lands  have been drawing the interest of investors. Last month, CAO Officer in Charge Leo Avila revealed that Chinese investors are interested in establishing a vegetable farm in the areas of Waan, Mandug and Tigatto, and a dried mango processing plant.

Go DC members are hopeful that these investments will be in the area of organic farming so that Davao’s small vegetable farmers,which comprise the bulk of  organic farming sector, will be able to  benefit from this as they will be able to touch base with the export market.

Castro is optimistic about the  results of the strategic planning. “Even if we’re just starting it now, the organic farming movement has already accomplished a lot in partnership with CAO. We’ve already begun to identify the initial organic farming zones as well as organic centers.  These are small steps, to be sure, but this is why we are participating with the formulation of the OA strategic plan. We want to make sure that the policies are in place to ensure sustainability of Davao’s organic agriculture for years to come.”, she said. (#)

RESEARCH SPECIALIST APPOINTED AS IDIS NEW EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR

June 1st, 2012 by

DAVAO CITY –   The Interface Development Interventions, Inc., an environmental advocacy group for the protection of Davao’s watersheds, proudly announces the selection of its erstwhile Research Specialist, Ms. Ann Fuertes, as its new Executive Director today.  Fuertes brings two decades of experience in environmental research and development work , including a teaching stint at UP Mindanao.

Fuertes’ background is  an ideal fit for the IDIS, now on its 13th year. She has a Masters in Environmental Science from the University of the Philippines in Los Banos and has a proven track record of conducting environmental research and implementing city-wide advocacy and development projects.  In her most recent post as Research Specialist, she was head of the program team which provided support for the community-led campaigns against Bt Talong and Aerial Spraying.

IDIS , under Fuertes’ helm, will continue to move forward in advocating environmental justice, protecting people’s health and environment particularly in the context of watershed management. Fuertes is a strong advocate of stakeholder collaboration in the pursuit of a green and healthy Davao City and will continue to push this message in all of IDIS future engagements.

The IDIS’s  Board of Trustees, along with their newest member, Ms. Lia Jasmin Esquillo, thanks its partners and the general public for the support throughout the years. It is looking forward  to Fuertes continuing  many more years of   active engagement by IDIS for the environment. (#)