In 1991 a major volcanic eruption of Mount Pinatubo covered a huge area in ash and destroyed many homes and farms. The ABS-CBN Foundation offered land for those who lost property. At an Earth Day event in 2003, a Foundation board member met Shumei members, which led to a collaborative effort working with farmers in the Philippines.
Farmers growing rice with Natural Agriculture principles received tremendous benefits, such as no longer being exposed to the dangers of toxic agri-chemicals in their rice paddy fields. Since then, they have seen many more living creatures coming back, such as birds, frogs, insects and microorganisms. Also, over the years, the yield amount has continued to grow.
Consumers often appreciate the fine taste of the rice. Many small scale farmers had no access to the market for selling the vegetables and fruits they grew. Now, once a week, Shumei staff travel around to Natural Agriculture farms to buy whatever produce is available to send it to Manila, the capital city of the Philippines.
The local Shumei staff receives those vegetables and fruits at the bus station and sell them at the Sunday Makati City Manila Farmers’ Market. Affluent city shoppers can taste the difference in these Natural Agriculture products. The income from the sales goes into a special bank account for each community of farmers who can then pool the money to buy things collectively. In this way, the small-scale farmers can benefit financially.
Since 2013, Shumei Philippines began setting up a beautiful 2-3 hectares farm in Tanay, Rizal, which is located only 1 and 1/2 hours from Metro Manila, which is more accessible for people to visit and to develop it as a Natural Agriculture demonstration and learning site.