Pinay chef bags UN award for helping Bicol farmers

  • Page Views 707
  • MANILA—The United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) on Wednesday announced its winners for the prestigious Young Champions of the Earth Prize.

    Of the 7 young entrepreneurs, 20-year-old Filipino chef Louise Mabulo was recognized as the winner for the Asia and the Pacific region.

    UNEP cited Mabulo for taking action to address climate change through her “Cacao Project.”

    “Mabulo’s solution, the Cacao Project, has trained over 200 farmers in agroforestry techniques, planting more than 70,000 trees across 70 hectares of land,” UNEP said in a statement.

    Mabulo will receive the prize in New York, days after the global climate strike and the UN climate summits.

    Mabulo, who first gained popularity as a young chef when she became a finalist of ABS-CBN’s Junior MasterChef cooking competition, said she started the project after Typhoon Nina (international name Nock Ten) devastated her home province of Bicol in 2016.

    “It started out as a typhoon relief project,” she said, adding that she bought cacao seedlings from her own savings and some donations.

    While she was focused on her career as a chef, she started going into farming and agriculture as part of her interest in sustainable food value chains.

    It was then that she realized how unsustainable it was for farmers in Bicol to continue planting crops that were not climate-resilient.

    After the 2016 typhoon, many rice fields in her hometown of San Fernando were left flooded. A large number of coconut trees were destroyed because of the strong winds.

    “We realized we can’t just weather through the yearly typhoon,” Mabulo told ABS-CBN News in a phone interview. “Coconut trees would take another 5 years (to mature). We had to think of something more resilient and something more profitable for the farmers and with demand for the market.”

    Mabulo discovered that the cacao tree was just the right height to withstand strong winds. “Our soil is also perfect for growing cacao trees. It’s sustainable,” she said.

    Since it takes a cacao tree around 3 years to mature, the project also provides short-term crops for the farmers so they can earn a living while waiting to harvest cacao.

    By winning the Young Champions of the Earth Prize, Mabulo will be receiving $15,000 (P783,900) for her “Cacao Project.” She plans to use the money to set up a training and processing center. She will also be receiving mentoring and communications support.

    She is hoping that once harvested, the farmers can learn how to process the cacao to make chocolates.

    UNEP executive director Inger Andersen said “building resilience in a climate changing world is critical to helping communities weather the challenges of extreme weather events. And in doing so, we can create jobs, build more livable cities, and improve the well-being of the world’s most vulnerable, making sure no one is left behind.”

    Mabulo said she has been receiving a lot of inquiries from companies interested in purchasing their upcoming harvest.

    “It’s a way to make sure that companies are sourcing their chocolate sustainably,” she said, adding that they will make sure that the pricing is fair to the farmers.

    Mabulo said her dream is to make cacao farming an “art form” that will be as attractive as wine and vineyards.

    As for the winning the UN prize, she said, “Getting this kind of award and attention for a project is absolutely amazing. It’s not just for me but for the farmers and for bringing the Philippine industry in the spotlight.”

    Mabulo and the 6 other winners bested over 1,000 applicants under the age of 30. They were chosen for their creative, innovative and impactful initiatives addressing climate change.

    Before receiving her award, Mabulo will be attending and giving talks at the UN Youth Climate Summit and other climate-related events in New York. (K. Sabillo, abs-cbn news)

     

    Share

    New Posts Recently publish post More

    • 09 July 2020
      4 days ago No comment

      Cinemalaya announces short film finalists

      The Cinemalaya Philippine Independent Film Festival has recently unveiled the 10 finalists who will compete in the Short Film Category in this year’s edition of the annual fest. The finalists are: Ang Gasgas na Plaka ni Lolo Bert by Janina Gacosta and Cheska Marfori; Ang Pagpakalma sa Unos (To ...

    • 09 July 2020
      4 days ago No comment

      Dr. Gloria Samosa and team start term with Rotary Club Vancouver Mountainview

      A new team has started its term at the helm of the Rotary Club Vancouver Mountainview, the first Filipino Rotary club in Canada. Dr. Gloria Samosa and officers began their term on July 1, 2020. “I’m looking forward of seeing you all more often as we, Rotarians , open ...

    • 09 July 2020
      4 days ago No comment

      Max Collins, Pancho Magno welcome first child

      Celebrity couple Max Collins and Pancho Magno have welcomed their first child. Celebrity couple Max Collins and Pancho Magno have welcomed their first child. The actress shared the news by posting on Instagram Wednesday a picture of their newborn baby, whom they named Skye. “Good morning, my Skye,” she ...

    • 09 July 2020
      4 days ago No comment

      ‘I have found my forever’: Maritoni Fernandez gets married at 51

      Actress Maritoni Fernandez took to social media to reveal that she has tied the knot with her partner, Mon Dayrit. Actress Maritoni Fernandez took to social media to reveal that she has tied the knot with her partner, Mon Dayrit. The two married in a civil ceremony on Tuesday, ...

    • 09 July 2020
      4 days ago No comment

      Pinay Wins 88 Supermarket Raffle

      88 Supermarket celebrated Canada Day with its 2020 Giveaway promotions. Apart from gift cards worth $888 and $88 each, the store gave away a Toyota Corolla LE 2020. Winning the car was Annabel Domingo Gabriel of Vancouver, who was so happy that she came to the store right away ...

    %d bloggers like this: