Girlyn Pacalioga, an innovative organic farmer and a committed advocate for agroecological transformation from the progressive town of Dumingag, Zamboanga Del Sur has successfully produced a very aromatic, good-eating quality and resilient red rice by breeding an improved farmer-bred variety from the Philippines with a traditional variety she got from Korea. The result is superb, surpassing many of the commonly known and available varieties and proved that quality is better than quantity.
During our most recent visit to her farm, which we never failed to do every time we conducted a project monitoring in Western Mindanao, Girlyn said to us “take a significant quantity of this variety” which she named GVP1, an abbreviation of her full name – Girlyn V. Pacalioga and share this among the farmers, especially those who are starting with organic farming. Jun Galenzoga and Greg Tacbas, our Cluster Coordinators in Davao Region and Northern Mindanao, respectively, have took her bred line – to be planted in our Farmer Learning Centers (Community-Seed Banks) and be shared to the farmers, as much as possible, throughout the Philippines.
A down to earth, very thoughtful and humble Ate Girlyn (she hates to be called Ma’am) further added: “may these seeds help those small-scale farmers facing with economic and environmental challenges.”
Girlyn walks the talk. She concretizes her advocacy by being actively involved in asserting farmers’ right to seed at the national and international level, as one of the key leaders (BOT Treasurer) of the Filipino Farmers’ Seed Network https://www.facebook.com/ffseednetwork, organized in 2018 by Agro-Eco Philippines, SEARICE and PINA and supported by Fastenopfer and DKA Austria.
Little is published about this exemplary organic farmer and social entrepreneur. But this time around we’d like to give her the due credit she really deserves as a leader who passionately works with the small-scale farmers in her municipality and the whole Salug Valley, involving herself in discussions and sharing of technologies with other farmers thru the PCTs of Agro-Eco Philippines www.agroecophilippines.org in Zamboanga Del Sur and Misamis Occidental; and as a mother who nurtures her four children to be practitioners and advocates of organic agriculture also. The eldest of whom, Joan, is currently the Mayor of Dumingag and the second one, Mark (a graduate of UP-Diliman), loves collecting traditional varieties of rice, vegetables and corn wherever he goes.
The results of her logical actions made her one of the pillars of the success of organic agriculture in Dumingag and Region 9. In 2012, their interior municipality became a recipient of the coveted One World Award https://www.one-world-award.com/nacianceno-mejos-pacalioga.html?lg=e given in Legau, Germany unexpectedly topping some of the great names in organic agriculture. And in the 4 years that followed, she received the Gawad Saka Outstanding Organic Farmer Award.
Go watch her short video along with our other exemplary women farmers by clicking this link https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JssRRASQJzw&t=43s.
Her inspiring story on soapmaking which provides sustainable source of livelihood to the women and young people in Dumingag will be published soon, under our Western Mindanao Series.