• Dindin Reyes

EcoWEB: Helping Mindanao farmers rise from conflict

Updated: Aug 8, 2021

How has one social enterprise helped Mindanao farmers produce more and rise above their vulnerability to conflict?

MANILA, Philippines – To the general public, Mindanao is known for many things – but not its farmers.

People perceive the region as a hotbed of endless conflict. At best, it’s the cradle for the Philippines’ vibrant Muslim community and its rich culture.

Somewhere underneath all the noise are Mindanao’s farmers who share the same problems with other farmers all over the country. The difference is, their plight is compounded by conflict. In places where lives are ended by misunderstanding, they struggle to grow life from the soil.

Far from the country’s capital and divided into peace and war zones, the people of Mindanao see no other choice but to help themselves. One group that has taken the initiative is the Ecosystems Work for Essential Benefits (EcoWEB).

A social enterprise founded by Nanette Antequisa, EcoWEB produces natural fertilizers, plant growth enhancers, and pest repellant as alternatives to chemical farming. As a business with social good as its main agenda, it strives to address the problems of poverty, environmental degradation, conflict, and lack of good governance as holistically as they can. They believe one problem won’t disappear if the others remain rampant.

But how does one confront poor governance with fertilizer? Or, for that matter, how do you battle vulnerability to conflict with pest repellant? For EcoWEB, it’s a matter of creating and improving livelihoods.

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