We are "in process" of building this site. Our formal launch was scheduled for December 2014. This was delayed over a year through legal complications over our pilot scheme site. Those problems should be resolved in the very near future (2016). We apologise for the delay but there has not been much we could do about any of it. We will completely revamp this site as soon as we can. Much is changing and there is some real progress on the ground. Our area of focus is currently in the upland areas around Mariveles, Bataan, Philippines. We hope you find this site interesting and informative - we welcome constructive suggestions:
The upland areas of the Philippines are often the only places where some of the most marginalised and disadvantaged people can find refuge away from overcrowded cities. Metro-Manila, for example, is thought to be the most densely populated city in the world.
It has been estimated by the Bureau of Soils and Water Management that about 623 million metric tonnes of top-soil is lost annually from 28 million hectares of arable land in the Philippines.
The world population is predicted to increase 30% to 9 billion people by 2050. That increase requires a 70% increase in food production to meet demand but resource limitations will limit global food production.
Biodiversity is reducing, for example, in India farmers have planted 30,000 different varieties of rice over the past 50 years, with the varieties grown in a region closely matched to its soils, climate and so forth. With the advent of green revolution varieties, this has changed. It is estimated that 75% of all rice fields in India were planted to just 10 varieties in 2005.
Similar trends are found in most regions of the world and with most staple crops:
On average, across all crops grown in the US, over 90% of the varieties grown 100 years ago are no longer in commercial production or maintained in major seed storage facilities.
In 1903, US seed catalogues listed 408 pea varieties; only 25 can be found now (a 95% decrease) and by 1970, just two pea varieties comprised 96% of the US commercial crop.
Seventy one percent of US corn acreage in 1991 was planted to just six varieties.
Nine varieties of wheat occupy half of all the wheat land in the US.
When a new crop variety is released, is usually resistant to most of the dominant current diseases. This is, of course, part of the plant breeders' strategy, as disease resistance is an important, usually genetically-controlled, trait. In 1970 a fungus encountered all this acreage of susceptible host and wiped out one fourth of the US corn crop in 1970, a loss of over one billion dollars in production! If the corn acreage hadn't been such a monoculture, the fungus wouldn't have been able to spread as rapidly, as it would have encountered barriers of genetically resistant plants.
Reductions in crop genetic diversity have implications both over the short term and over the longer term.
Over the short term, as more and more growers’ plant out monocultures of nearly genetically uniform stock, there are then huge acreages of plants that all respond similarly to stresses, resulting in the types of problems with instability in yields described above.
In the Philippines, 83.4% of farming is on small farms but they, in total, only hold 31.9% of arable land. The vast majority of farms in the world today are small and getting smaller.