Green Economy and Food (In)Security in the Philippines

Over the last few decades, smallholder farmers in frontier lands and uplands in the Philippines have negotiated with changing conditions of food security. Historically, smallholders (particularly indigenous farmers) have relied on swidden cultivation and gathering of non-timber forest products as direct source of food nourishment and as means of acquiring cash to purchase food stuff. As frontier lands have drastically transformed to accommodate the influx of extractive industries, agribusinesses, and migrant settlement, smallholders continue to struggle and cope with changing access to and utilization of food stuff. This research project focused on the case of smallholder communities involved in and affected by green economy forms of rural development in Palawan. We specifically looks into the case of oil palm production regimes in Southern Palawan and the local level politics that affect how food (in)security manifests at the household level. Our approach was informed by related literature from mainstream development studies, critical agrarian studies, and political ecology. We looked at the role of agricultural cooperatives in mediating micro-politics and household food security, as well as social dynamics such as gender, class and ethnicity.

Relevant Publications:

Montefrio, M.J.F.,  Dressler, W. Declining food security in a Philippine oil palm frontier: The changing role of cooperatives. Development and Change (in press) (Link)

Newspaper Publication:

Dressler, W., & Montefrio, M.J.F. (2018, May 10). Pala’wan indigenous food, forests threatened. Philippine Daily Inquirer, Opinion

Featured Photo credit: Alex Felipe (2015)

Published by Marvin Joseph Montefrio

Critical agrarian and food scholar specializing in political ecology, cultural politics, and STS.

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