THE FREEMAN "Permaculture eyed as alternative livelihood"

Permaculture eyed as alternative livelihood

By Jessica B. Natad, Staff Member (The Freeman August 27, 2010)

CEBU, Philippines - A group of Cebuano businessmen and leaders are working together in a newly-established organization that aims to help provide an alternative source of livelihood to the marginalized sector of society.

Permaculture Action Asia Inc. (PAAI), a non-government, non-profit social enterprise, duly registered with the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) that sees permaculture as a solution to help ease poverty in the country.

Permaculture is a design system for creating sustainable human environment. It aims to create stable productive systems that provide for human needs, harmoniously integrating the land with the people, according to a statement.

“In permaculture, the ecological processes of plants, animals, water, weather and nutrient cycles are integrated with human needs and technologies for food, energy, shelter and infrastructure. Elements in a system are viewed in relation to other elements, and the outputs of one element become the input of another. Within permaculture systems, work is minimized, wastes become resources, productivity and yields increase and the environment is restored.”

PAAI aims to make Cebu a world leader in sustainable development by reforesting the province and ensuring food security for every Cebuano. This mission is in line with the United Nation Agenda 21 on sustainability, which means “meeting the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs.”

The program, which will commence in the province in January 2011, will provide free permaculture courses and distribute seeds and plants to the low-income beneficiaries.

PAAI aims to implement the program region-wide in 2012 and nationwide in 2013.

PAAI will have eight permaculture demonstration sites to be located all over the province. The flagship site, the 64-hectare model eco-village Cebu Eco-Culture Club, which will be located in Buhisan, Pardo, will showcase the five zones of permaculture, and will house 40 beneficiary-families.

The organization is chaired by Greg Knibbs, an accredited practitioner in Permaculture Institute, who also has ongoing projects with communities, NGOs and private companies in West Africa , Cambodia and Australia .

Other personalities involved in the program are former Department of Environment and Natural Resources 7 director Joe Gapas, former chair of the Cebu City Council Committee of Environmental Management Nestor Archival, former Cebu Educational Development for Information Technology executive director Boni Belen, Cebu Landmasters Inc. president Joe Soberano, Rotary Club of Cebu president Baba Panopia, Tennant Trading Inc. chairman Roy Lotzof, Primary Software Development Corp. president Angelico Jurado and Hyundai Cebu Inc. president Edward Onglatco.

The program’s management team is composed of Jensen Go Chow (, Michael Gatchalian, Jonel Villanueva and Vicente Orillo Jr. PAAI’s partners include the Rotary Club of Cebu and Cebu Leads Foundation. (THE FREEMAN)