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 focuses on the case of smallholder communities involved in and affected by 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 is informed by related literature from mainstream development studies, critical agrarian studies, and political ecology. We look 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.
BW Photo credit: Alex Felipe (2015)