Monday, August 18, 2008

Fighting hunger in the Philippines

My friend, Kristine, who is originally from the Philippines, asked me if I could help publicize this:

"I have been researching for reputable organizations that specifically donate food to the Philippines but have had no such luck. Hunger and poverty have always been major issues in the Philippines -- and moreso malnutrition, but from my experience, large corporations and non-profits (who barely have the funds to run themselves in the first place) donate food only when there is a critical situation (such as typhoons or earthquakes).

Perhaps your blog can help raise awareness about the needs in the Philippines. If readers of your blog find a non-profit in the Philippines that they are intersted in working with, I am willing to see if it is a reputable organization and be their point of contact. They can email me at"

Here's an article to refer to:

Unrest and Hunger Threaten Philippines Stability

... Right now, it's "hunger season": The farmers have planted their rice, but not yet harvested it. Usually the price of rice is higher and many of the farmers, having sold the previous crop have run out of their stored rice and may go hungry. This is not as bad in our area, where we irrigate in the dry season, but farmers in higher fields and unirrigated area face dire hunger.

At the same time, the huge increase in the price of rice means that many cannot afford this staple.

Part of this is weather related, and seasonal. But worldwide, there is a growing problem of food shortages due to increased use of grain for biofuel and diversion of crops to to feed animals. At the same time, there has been a lag in research and development of agriculture. Fewer new hybrids are being produced because there is less money invested in research. There is also less money spent on infrastructure development for irrigation, fertilizer, pesticide control and drying facilities.

The increase in the rice price has been terrible for those with low incomes.

We have seen rice, which two years ago ranged from 18 to 28 pesos a kilogram go to 32 pesos to 40. (exchange rate is 44 pesos per US Dollar).

... So there are a lot of problems simmering here, but the main anger right now is from the inflation that makes it hard to buy food for one's family, while rumors of multimillion dollar bribes to businessmen and government officials are discussed daily on the many talk radio programs.

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