In a country that is agricultural and is surrounded by water, it is ironic that there are thousands of farmers and fishermen starving because of poverty, climate change or calamities.
In 2016, many farmers were deeply affected by the El Niño phenomenon. The Department of Agriculture estimated that 181,687 farmers were affected by the drought. 54% of these were rice farmers.
It was also reported in April 2016, 42% of the Philippines experienced drought or dry spells brought on by El Niño. Thirty-nine provinces, cities, municipalities and villages were placed under the state of calamity. The worst affected areas were in the Mindanao and Visayas regions. (Source: www.ifrc.org)
Aside from the farmers, fishermen also experienced the negative effect of the extreme heat and prolonged drought. The Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources (BFAR) reported in 2016 that there was a 20% decline in fish caught due to warmer waters, citing that at least 100,000 fishermen would need to look for alternative sources of income. (Source: www.ifrc.org)
Because of El Nino, many farmers and fishermen didn’t have enough income to purchase the basic needs, including food. During that time, SLAC found it worrisome that the people who were working hard every day to feed the nation were the ones who didn’t have enough food to eat. This led the company to launch the Balik Biyaya Project: Bigas Mo, Tulong Mo, a campaign which aimed to give back to the people who are feeding the country.
Balik Biyaya Project: Bigas Mo, Tulong Mo encouraged rice consumers to purchase 2kg, 5kg or 10kg packs of any variant of Doña Maria® Premium Quality Rice or Willy Farms® Rice in supermarkets to help feed our farmers and fishermen. SLAC donated an equivalent of 20% of rice based on product purchased -- 400 grams donation for every 2kg pack purchased, 1kg donation for 5kg pack purchased and 2kg donation for 10 kg pack purchased. (Per DTI-FTEB SPD Permit No. 11875 series of 2016)
The campaign ran from August 16, 2016 to October 31, 2016 in coordination with Alagang Kapatid Foundation and Philippine Red Cross. And even if the campaign has already ended, SLAC commits to continue its efforts on helping, feeding and uplifting the lives of the hardworking and industrious Filipino farmers and other people who are in need through “Balik Biyaya”.
Total kilograms of rice donated
September 2017 - 2,000 kilograms of rice were donated to farmers in Tacloban.
March 2017 - 32,000 kilograms of rice were donated to farmers in Roxas and Bacolod.
September to December 2016 - 58,200 kilograms of rice donated to more than 29,000 farmers and fishermen in Luzon and Mindanao.
October 2016 - 14,000 kilograms of rice donated to the victims of “Typhoon Lawin” in Isabela Province.