IP community in South Cotabato to establish model farm

Clearing of the site for the communal farm of farmers in Sitios Blit, Tasaday, and Lomoyon has recently begun. 

LAKE SEBU, South Cotabato, May 1 (PIA) -- Under the guidance of the National Commission on Indigenous Peoples (NCIP), farmers in Sitio Blit and adjacent sitios in Barangay  Ned, this municipality, are set to develop a demo and training farm where farmers in the area can learn productive and sustainable  technologies. 

Haide Bendoy, community development officer, said NCIP, in cooperation with the local government units of Lake Sebu and South Cotabato and national line agencies, will assist local IP farmer organizations in establishing the model farm. 

"This farm can provide them with livelihood opportunities. They will be taught how to raise, goats, ducks, chickens, possibly establish a fish pond, and grow vegetables, fruit trees, upland rice, corn, and other crops," Bendoy said. 

She added that the project is aligned with the NCIP objective to help indigenous people communities protect and develop resources within their ancestral domain. 

On April 22, TESDA Regional Director Rafael Abrogar and TESDA South Cotabato Provincial Director Alfredo Panuela Jr., led a team in an ocular inspection of the project site, a five-hectare lot situated at the boundary between Sitio Blit and Sitio Tasaday. The lot, which was donated by Datu Lobo Bilangan, is divided at the middle by Lawa River. 

Clohonon Udelen, president of the Tasaday Reservation United Farmers' Association told Philippine Information Agency that the establishment of a model farm is aligned with their Ancestral Domain Sustainable Development and Protection Plan (ADSDPP). 

Udelien said, the area will be cultivated as a communal farm of farmer-organizations in Sitio Blit, Sitio Tasaday, and Sitio Lomoyon. 

Clearing of the area and the construction of a multipurpose building has already begun. 

As initial contribution to the convergence project, TESDA XII, through its provincial office in South Cotabato, will conduct a training for at least 36 farmers. A course orientation was held last week. 

TESDA XII RD Rafael Abrogar II  (in blue shirt) with Datu Lobo Bilangan (in yellow shirt), donor of the farm lot. 

Director Abrogar also promised to coordinate with either the Department of Social Welfare and Development or the Department of Labor and Employment for possible cash-for-work program to expedite the clearing of the farm area and the road leading to the site and immediately start the farm-based training. 

Vicente Aseral, one of the two trainors, said the training will be carried out as a farmer field school where participants will be taught Sloping Agricultural Technology (SALT). 

SALT, developed and popularized by the Mindanao Baptist Rural Life Center (MBRLC), is an agroforestry scheme that utilizes nitrogen-fixing plants  grown along the contours of a hilly land to serve as hedgerows that prevent soil erosion and serve as source of fertilizer for the soil and feed for livestock. The farming system includes annual and perennial diversified crops grown in between the hedgerows. Livestock, poultry and freshwater fish production are also raised in a SALT-based farming system. 

Aseral said, SALT is the most appropriate farming technology for the model farm, considering that the site as well as the farms in the surrounding communities are located in mountains and hills. 

RD Abrogar assured the would-be farmer-trainees that the farming technology that will be introduced to them will be in accordance with their culture as indigenous peoples. 

Even the plan to establish the farm and the Lawa River as a potential tourist destination will depend on the decision of the IP community, he said. 

The community in Sitio Blit, and a number of households in Tasaday and Lomoyon, are beneficiaries of TESDA's Project TALA that has lighted 250 houses in these places by distributing photovoltaic (PV) system kits to trainees who completed a course in PV system installation and maintenance. 

"Secretary Isidro Lapeña has ordered us to provide lights and food to communities. We have already given you lights; now, we are providing you with opportunity to produce your own food that will fill your stomach and keep you healthy," Abrogar said. 

Besides TESDA and NCIP, other government institutions such as the LGUs, DSWD, DOH, DOLE, DOH, PCA, DA, PSA, DOST and others have either implemented or promised to carry out interventions in Sitio Blit and other parts of Barangay Ned as target area of the Barangay Development Program of the National Task Force to End Local Communist Armed Conflict. (DED-PIA XII) 

Source: Philippines Information Agency (pia.gov.ph)

Post a Comment