ATI’s “From Arms to Farms: Fostering Peace through Agriculture & Fishery Development in Conflict Areas of the Philippines” was crafted to help war torn families battle against hunger through farming. ATI’s presence in the fields coupled with sincerity and commitment greatly influenced former and active rebel leaders to engage in agriculture.
Educational tours to small yet successful farms, trainings on different commodities, capacity building, & family farming were undertaken and demonstrated. Jobs for the children of former combatants were also offered. Scholarships were provided through the laddered courses on agri-entrepreneurship and the Academic & Technology Integration–Educational Program.
As of now, 3 of the 17 rebel leaders trained on capability enhancement are now sharing their learnings. Their farms are used as the learning site or school for practical agriculture. From rebels, they were transformed to returnees, to farmers, then to agriculture educators. More than that and despite struggling to maintain positive peace, they eventually up-scaled to become agri-preneurs while their once idle land was improved to become a farm tourism destination.
by Asterio Saliot, Philippines