Why is it ok to be a hampaslupa

To be called a “hampaslupa” is no longer an identity to be ashamed of but an advocacy to stand for.

For the environmental group Greenpeace, it is a gesture of support to our local and organic farmers by patronizing organic produce and promoting ecological agriculture.

Though “hampaslupa” connotes destitution or lowly status, it can be literally defined as “to hit or till the soil”, a method generally practiced by farmers.

Thus, Greenpeace launched #IAmHampaslupaRegional Youth Forum in Davao City on Friday to encourage and maximize the participation of about 500 youth from different colleges and universities to become “hampaslupas”, a supporter of local farmers, a patron of healthy and organic food choices and promoter of ecological agriculture.

“Farming is a noble profession. Farmers feed us. By eating, we participate in farming and re-affirm the value and role of the farmers: each of us help ‘till the soil’ with our food choices. Collectively and individually, we are hampaslupa,” a statement from Greenpeace.

“Mahalagang kilalanin ng kabataan ang kahalagahan ng agrikultura at ang kaugnayan nito sa pagkain,” said Leonora Lava, Greenpeace Senior Campaigner for Food and Ecological Agriculture.

(It is very crucial that the youth understands the importance of agriculture and its relationship with food.)

She also said the campaign also aims to empower the youth, being biggest voting population, to challenge presidential hopefuls to give attention on food security and ecological agriculture, a type of agriculture that does not depend on chemical fertilizer and pesticides.

“We need everyone to get involved in this national problem, and we start by engaging the youth by providing them a platform where they can voice their opinions and challenge the next president to act on this problem,” she said.

Lava said the country lacks comprehensive food policy that lead to the issue of food insecurity.

“Dahil wala po tayong food policy, yung agricultural lands natin sige-sige po yung conversion. Conversion of agricultural lands into other uses. Nakasalang tuloy ang ating food production,” she said.

(Because we don’t have food policy, our agricultural lands are constantly being converted for other uses. It perishes our food production.)

Aside from that, she said the majority of crops cultivated in the Philippines are bound for exportation rather than for public consumption. These include crops like banana, pineapple, and rubber among others.

The #IAmHampaslupa campaign will culminate on November 25 to 27, 2015 in Manila during the National Youth Congress.

The #IamHampaslupa campaign was in partnership with University of Southeastern Philippines (USEP), University of Mindanao (UM), Philippine Women’s College (PWC), Masipag Mindanao, Greenpeace Mindanao and Interface Development Interventions, Inc. (IDIS).

| Published in 105.9 Balita FM Facebook page: Why is it ok to be a hampaslupa, November 13, 2015

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