SIBOL Regenerates New-Found Hope For Corn Farmers in the Philippines
8 April 2022, Manila, Philippines – Asia Society for Social Improvement and Sustainable Transformation (ASSIST) and Syngenta Philippines, Inc. have announced an initiative to improve farmer livelihoods and yields through healthy soil. Project SIBOL will reach over 20,000 farmers to educate them on proper soil management and regenerative agriculture starting in the Cordilleras and Cagayan Valley, the top corn-producing region in the Philippines.
Corn is one of the most significant crops in the country but productivity in the region has been hampered by problems related to intensive farming practices, leading to significant soil erosion and degradation. Named after the Tagalog word for sprout, growth, or germinate, Project SIBOL aims to help farmers in Cagayan Valley and the Cordilleras improve productivity and double their corn yields within the next three years from current levels of four metric tons per hectare.
According to Ruby Eduarte, Business Sustainability Manager of Syngenta Philippines, Inc., "Farming should not only be profitable but sustainable as well, as the existence of our growing global population depends on it. The SIBOL project will bring better soil health, yield, and income to the farmers of Cagayan Valley, and for the Philippines, greater food security and climate resilience."
In addition to training farmers on climate-smart agricultural practices, the project aims to establish two model farms to showcase the benefits of adopting these sustainable practices and Syngenta's innovative technology. The project's pilot phase will take place in Isabela and Ifugao, with plans to replicate this project in other corn-growing areas around the Philippines in the following years.
"As our population continues to grow, food scarcity and security are becoming an unavoidable problem. We believe that SIBOL not only addresses these issues but also helps our farmers boost agricultural productivity and yield in a sustainable manner while enhancing long-term soil health at the same time. Our farmers are faced with numerous challenges. They don't have to face these challenges alone," says Francis Macatulad, ASSIST's Executive Director.
"What distinguishes this project is the integration of multiple technologies. These technologies can help ensure that the lands remain productive and can assist many farmers in improving their livelihoods. We're all here to provide farmers with a better future through technology," added Allan Nieves, Head of Agronomy & Field Corps, Syngenta Philippines Inc.
Project SIBOL is created with the assistance of Ifugao State University; Isabela State University; Municipal Agricultural Office; Bureau of Soils and Water Management, and local government units.
75% of all croplands in the Philippines are vulnerable to soil erosion. This has impacted the country’s corn farming sector, with erosion driving a decline in corn productivity by 80% over the last 25 years. Soil is also a key nature-based climate solution. Soil stores around 80% of carbon in terrestrial ecosystems, about two to three times more carbon than is in the atmosphere.
Asia Society for Social Improvement and Sustainable Transformation (ASSIST) was established in 2003 with the aim of addressing sustainability challenges in the Philippines. Driven by passion and purpose for progress and prosperity in the region, ASSIST takes pride in its professional outlook, social responsibility, and process-oriented approach to capacity-building towards social impact. More on ASSIST here.
About Syngenta Philippines Inc.
Syngenta is a leading global agricultural company. Syngenta equips and empowers farmers to overcome multiple challenges as they strive toward global food security. Their innovative crop solutions transform how crops are grown, enabling millions of growers to use available resources efficiently. In the Philippines, Syngenta improves the lives of Filipino growers and increases food security by giving farmers access to sustainable crop protection technology and innovative seed varieties. Their products undergo rigorous trials to ensure safety before being released into the market. These integrated solutions guarantee high quantity and quality yields. More on Syngenta here.
About Project SIBOL
Project SIBOL is a partnership for sustainable farming between Asia Society for Social Improvement and Sustainable Transformation (ASSIST) and Syngenta Philippines, Inc. By training and empowering farmers on proper soil management and regenerative practices, Project SIBOL aims to improve agricultural yields and farmers' incomes in the Cordilleras and Cagayan Valley, the top corn-producing region in the Philippines.
Ruby M. Eduarte, [email protected]
Francis Macatulad, [email protected]