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Lion in the global jungle

Christian remains hands-on with the operations of Lionheart Farms. PHOTOGRAPH COURTESY OF LIONHEART FARMS

Having traveled the world, Danish businessman Christian Eyde Moeller discerned that his purpose does not end with only exploring the planet, but extends to defending its ’More with Less’ footprint.

Deep-diving into global climate challenges, he ignited his passion to further his campaign through regenerative agriculture and set up Lionheart Farms with his old friend Anders Haagen.

Laid on the soils of poverty-stricken areas in Palawan, Moeller’s seedlings of hope in 2016 grew into a coconut business that now employs thousands of locals, provides food security, harnesses education and preserves the environment.

Spearheading the use of organic fertilizers and ancient natural farming methods, Moeller remains a beacon of hope that walks his talk on saving the world and the future generation.

Taking off from his interesting life story before he decided to live the serene life in Palawan with Filipina wife Cecille, Christian sits with Daily Tribune to expound on how his life’s work, Lionheart Farms, concretizes his vision to save the planet and the future generation.

Daily Tribune (DT): How exactly do you execute your advocacy to save the planet and the future generation?

Christian Moeller (CM): In Lionheart Farms we define these goals in terms of impact and we have already challenged conventional thinking in terms of coconut farming, and in particular the scale for organic regenerative coconut farming, in a community-based approach to maximize the impact to our chosen SDG goals # 1,2,8 and 13. Once you take this perspective, then you realize the enormous opportunity for our younger generations to transform the entire agricultural sector in the Philippines and beyond. This would not only uplift people’s lives, but also deliver healthier and better foods to mitigate health issues and help save our planet.

Apart from my work in the coconut industry, I see an exciting opportunity in organic rice farming where I believe farmers have become overly reliant on agrochemical inputs which are detrimental to our environment and actually result in a lower economic benefit to farmers, although on the surface the “higher” yield is the justification.

Palawan residents now pursue regenerative farming through Lionheart.

DT: Can you walk us through the benefits of regenerative agriculture?

CM: Organic regenerative farming practices can be applied to most crops in the Philippines and will yield better nutritional density and product value, leading to healthier food and people. But as seen with Lionheart, new business models are needed to challenge the supply chains of the last century and bring consumers closer to local markets and focus on products produced in the most socially, environmentally and ethically responsible manner.

To achieve this, we need the younger, better-educated generations to embrace agriculture and food production as an exciting industry of the future. We need collaboration across many sectors especially with government and financial institutions supporting entrepreneurship aligned with the SDGs. Only if we engage the grassroots of private enterprise can we drive the change needed.

DT: How do you encourage the younger generation to pursue agriculture?

CM: The Lionheart organization is full of young professionals and I see how they are inspired to transform their community and use all their energy to drive change. And our tribal partner, the community of the Indigenous Peoples, gets it immediately as their elders know the value of living in harmony with nature.

DT: How is Lionheart Farms helping the communities in terms of livelihood?

CM: Through Lionheart, we produce everything locally. And that means that our costs are marginally lower and instead of using that money to go to some fertilizer company, it is going to the pocket of local people because it goes to their salaries. We drive the local economy and that’s how we address inequality. That’s how we can bring together the solutions both for the people, for the livelihood, together with the environment and at the same time bring a better product to the global consumers.

In terms of the economic value that comes back to the farmer, there’s an improvement in terms of return of three and a half times.

DT: In fulfilling SDG number two or Zero Hunger, how does the farm provide food security?

CM: What we are excited about is using the coconut palm because it is one of the most efficient photosynthetic converters. It has high ability to take energy from the sun and convert it into energy stored in terms of calorific output of what the palm produces. And it’s much higher than corn or rice so if you look at the ability of hybrid coconut palm, like what we are working with, we can store up to 350 kilos of Carbon per year whereas a traditional tree is down to around 50 to a hundred.

DT: What inspires you to push through with these concrete actions for the environment?

CM: The global climate challenge is a daunting one, which leaves most people overwhelmed and hopeless. Every day I see an opportunity to show people how our actions can make a difference —- how individual and community-based action can make a difference. Lionheart Farms delivers measurable and visible results. People across the Philippines and internationally are starting to say, how can we have more Lionhearts — it is like building many Noah’s Arks — and this is happening on other continents, as well as with other crops. We must stop thinking of one single solution as the answer to the global climate challenge, but rather promote a wide variety of solutions across all areas from renewable energy to regenerative agriculture. In this way we think, act and organize locally but cultivating a global vision and solidarity — revitalizing both rural and urban economies.

Credit belongs to : www.tribune.net.ph


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