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Talaandig of Bukidnon
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The Talaandig of Bukidnon Develop their Ancestral Domain

The major goal of most of the projects supported though the RNIP Trust Fund is poverty alleviation which is usually involves the raising of food crops. One approach to ensure crop production is the provision of water systems not only as a source of potable domestic water supply but more so as sustained source of water for irrigation to increase agricultural production. The project implemented by the Portulin Tribal Association (PTA) – the Talaandig of Bukidnon – is of this type. It was funded for an initial one-year period but it was among those funded for 2007.

A major accomplishment of the project is the provision of a sustainable water supply both for potable domestic water supply and for sprinkler irrigation. Project implementation was assisted by PAFID-Mindanao (Philippine Association for Intertribal Development). Water supply was tapped from a spring in a mountain range some 5 km away. The households within the community, Talaandig or not, became beneficiaries of the free-flowing potable water supply.

An interesting aspect of project implementation is that funds were given by the PTA through loans to its members for vegetable production. Provided in kind (seeds, seedlings, fertilizers) and without interest, the release of funds was done in two batches – one set of members for one cropping and another set for the next. The first batch mostly planted carrots and was a great success because of bountiful harvests. This generated enthusiasm that resulted to an increase in the number of community members who actively engaged in vegetable production that resulted in tapping potential idle lands. The second batch, mostly venturing into onion production, was not as successful because their production was not comparable to the first.

Most of those within the second batch were able only to partly pay the value of their ‘loan’ because of low harvests due to drought. The PTA maintains this cycle of lending farm inputs without interest with the payments after harvest used to buy farm inputs for loan to the next batch again. For this purpose, the PTA adopted and is implementing a 12-point policy. The women run the finances of the PTA and in monitoring project implementation.

The RNIP Trust Fund triggered and provided opportunities for the community with additional assistance from the UNDP-SGP/RNE, Senator Aquilino Pimentel and Congressman Nereus Acosta. In November 2005, Representative Acosta, UP Professor Prospero de Vera – a staff of Senator Nene Pimentel – and two farmer leaders from Malabing Valley Multi-Purpose Cooperative (MVMPC) in Nueva Vizcaya visited the area to see for themselves the initiatives of the Talaandig on ancestral domain development, vegetable production, reforestation and the potential of the community’s engagement in citrus planting.

The MVMPC representatives, producers of the famous Malabing oranges, vouched for the big potential of the area as a citrus producer as the climate and soil characteristics are similar to that of Malabing. With planting stocks acquired from Malabing, many farmers have planted citrus and some have few fruits as of December 2006 (planted were grafted seedlings almost a meter tall). The PTA has started to venture into planting perennial crops in tandem with their vegetable production.



 

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