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Exciting projects for the Lumads

March 19, 2010



December 16, 2009, 3:26pm

Two exciting projects are in the offing that will immensely benefit the indigenous people in the Caraga region. The projects are being spearheaded practically single-handedly by a businessman whom we shall not identify for the moment. He doesn’t want to call himself an NGO, just a person committed to help the Lumads (the indigenous people) to make their vast ancestral lands productive.

The fellow observes that after a while, most NGOs suffer from burn out. And most of the time, they end up as money lenders, lending money to micro entrepreneurs at 5 percent interest per month. He sees that as ensuring or perpetuating poverty among the underprivileged. He said that out of many NGOs that were once active in his home province, only a couple have remained to be doing some kind of sustainable development.

The fellow met us and exchanged views with us through a mutual friend. He said that the Lumads have at their disposal thousands of hectares of fertile land that have not been put to productive use. The forests are intact since they are vigilant in protecting them. But there are wide unforested areas that are suitable for agricultural production, some with topsoil as deep as one meter.

One big project he is bent pursuing is the production of organically grown muscovado sugar. He chose sugar for a number of good reasons. His family has been engaged in large sugar plantation and he knows his sugarcane production from A to Z. He also knows financing because he has been into banking. He knows of possible sources of financing from grant-giving institutions, too. One more reason for choosing muscovado sugar is that he has the connection in Europe where most of the muscovado produced will be marketed. The market is big and is ready, he told us. One more thing, he is in very good terms with the leaders of the Lumads, and the communities as a whole. In fact, he is an honorary Lumad.

He said he has already put up 20 hectares of nursery near Butuan City for the production of sugarcane planting materials.

He has a close relative right in Mindanao who can provide the tractors that will prepare the land for planting sugarcane. What he needs now are equally committed individuals who can provide some inputs in terms of ideas and technology that could enhance the success of the project.

The other project is the production of indigenous upland rice like Azucena which can rival the best jasmine or basmati rice in the world market. He has also the market connections in the United States and Europe for this rice. What is needed now, he said, is to produce the commodity.

Other projects that might be introduced later are the production of high-value crops and livestock. But in the meantime, the focus will be on muscovado sugar and mountain rice.

One Comment leave one →
  1. Felicitas N. Jaque permalink
    August 8, 2010 6:31 am

    Aug. 8, 2010

    This inspires me to pursue in organizing not only the lumads but small farmers from the GKK members not only in Sts. Peter and Paul Parish but in several parishes.

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