Jose ‘Apollo’ Pacamalan is the ingenious social impact powerhouse behind a range of pioneering provincial agriculture organisations in the Philippines. Mr Pacamalan is the founder of the innovative Rice-Duck Movement Inc. supporting farmers with an organic, climate-smart, accessible, and resilient rice production system. Two ‘life-changing’ years at Flinders University achieving a Master in Environmental Management, inspired Mr Pacamalan to return home to help secure more than 1,000 hectares of conventional rice farms to experiment with incorporating ducks into the production supply chain. The ducks fertilise the rice crops, increase production by eating insects and other pests, and produce meat and eggs, providing both family nutrition and income for the smallholder farmers, who are often living on the poverty line. Mr Pacamalan’s ultimate goal is to increase rice production from 1,000 sacks of milled rice a day to 12,000 sacks daily in order to meet 100% of the province’s demand.
Food Security is a key focus for Mr Pacamalan in an emerging economy impacted by regional conflict, recurring climate crises and a prolonged pandemic. As Head Provincial Agriculturist at the Provincial Agriculture Office, concurrent themes of his work include poverty alleviation, environmental regeneration and decreasing malnutrition. His ability to draw from locally accessible resources and scale income for local livelihoods is astounding. Mr Pacamalan has mobilised private sector support to establish and operate a 7-hectare Provincial Agriculture Development Complex, enabling the continuous distribution of vegetable seedlings for rural and urban farmers and households.
“The only thing that remains constant in this fast changing time is Food Security. The Integrated Rice Duck Farming System, which I pioneered in the Philippine countryside, could be a major contributor in ensuring that rice supply and its parallel duck meat and egg community enterprise could significantly respond to the unpredictable food supply chain during these uncertain times of prolonged pandemic and the recurring natural calamities!”
He has also implemented an Integrated Coconut Processing facility that will produce 12 coco-based products and allow coconut farmers to receive better prices. A partnership with the CocoPallet company will recover millions of coconut husks to be used as coco-based pallets for export across Asia. Yet another income source Mr Pacamalan is cultivating for farmers is the planting of bamboo for carbon trading and production of laminated boards for export in partnership with the Bamboo Ecologic Corporation. Mr Pacamalan is not only feeding communities, he is feeding hope, knowledge and sustainable agricultural practices to secure the livelihoods of future generations.
‘The greatest accomplishment in my work is when I see poor farmers and households grow in terms of their skills and talents in farming systems.’