Bridging knowledge, closing the gap: IPs in agricuture

By DA Caraga

Leaning towards development for the ancestral domains of the Indigenous Cultural Communities (ICCs) / Indigenous Peoples (IPs), the Department of Agriculture (DA) – Caraga through the Kabuhayan at Kaunlaran ng Kababayang Katutubo (4K), mobilizes its efforts in creating a livelihood and agricultural productivity program that will touch into four components such as Social Preparation, Production and Livelihood, Marketing Assistance and Enterprise Development, and Project Management. The project will also provide capacity building that will link the IP community to credit facilities and crop insurance. All of these will be catered through the targeted Community Needs-Assessments (CNA).

‘No One Left Behind’

The 4Ks, which commenced last 2020, is intended for the IPs to throw light on norms that they are the “left behind” sectors in the society. The year 2020 has an allocated budget of P13.7 million while 2021 has P14.9 million. 

“Our IPs have massive spaces and lands for agricultural products but it is not productive. This is the reason why this initiative is lodge under the DA, of course in coordination with the National Commission on Indigenous Peoples (NCIP) to safeguard the customs, traditions, values, beliefs, and interest of the communities,” said Edelmira Luminarias, DA – Caraga 4K Program Focal Person.

Before the implementation of the project, a joint special order with the DA and NCIP was established to work hand-in-hand. 

‘Checking the validity’

The project will cater to IP farmers and fisherfolk of recognized Indigenous Political Structure (IPS) by the NCIP, who has a Certificate of Ancestral Domain Title (CADT), Certificate of Ancestral Land Title (CALT), and Certificate of Ancestral Domain Claims (CADC). In addition, they should also be registered in the Registry System for Basic Sectors in Agriculture (RSBSA).

“The reason, why we need to look thoroughly at the recognized members of the IPS, is because there are some who are claiming to be a member of an IP community and recognized by the NCIP so that they can avail of the benefits. They must be registered in the RSBSA so that they will be insured under the Philippine Crop Insurance Corporation (PCIC),” Luminarias said. 

‘Benefits from the component’

The 4Ks anchor its benefits from four different components allotting different scope of interventions. For the Social Preparation, the scope of interventions includes validation of the Ancestral Domain Sustainable Development and Protection Plan (ADSDPP), Community Needs Assessment, Registration of IP Farmers to RSBSA, Registration of farmers to the PCIC, and identifying the specific interventions for capability building and conduct of training. 

After determining the social preparations, component two focuses on the provision of support services and livelihood assistance. Production of support services includes quality seeds, organic and inorganic fertilizers, pre-and-post harvest equipment, tools and machinery, breeder animals to name a few. Component two also targets to improve access of technology through the conduct of technology demonstration projects as a show window of technology through approaches like ‘learning by doing’ and ‘to-see-is to-believe’ for easy adoption of technology.

Component three will focus on the marketing assistance and enterprise development which is in coordination with DA-Agribusiness and Marketing Assistance Division as key players. Technical assistance and literacy training take place to access finance, markets, services, and partnerships outside the ancestral domains. This component also aims to match the market and create linkages and a farm consolidation approach as well as value-adding of their products.

The last component will be the Project Management implementation, coordination and provision of logistics are ensured and appropriately conducted. “Consultation in every Ancestral Domain is necessary so that we can keep up with the effects of the implementation. We have to hold onto our aim to provide initiative but in accord with their customs and tradition,” Luminarias said. 

‘Target communities’

For the year 2020, DA-4Ks identified 10 recipients of the 4K Program Intervention. Three IPOs from Agusan del Norte, three from Surigao del Sur, one from Surigao del Norte, two from Surigao del Norte, and one from Butuan City.

For 2021, as of the latest data, DA-4Ks listed three recipients from Agusan del Sur. These are IPOs from Rosario, Bunawan, and Sibagat, Agusan del Sur. 

“For the list of recipients, we already incorporated the farm clustering approach so that these selected recipients will feel better access to resources, technologies, and markets basing on their specific sectors,” Luminarias said. 

‘Closing the gap, Opening better opportunities’

The never-ending story of the IP communities revolves around being deficit in terms of capital and financial capacity, technical knowledge to produce quality agricultural products, lack of marketing skills, and lack of confidence. All of these dilemmas create gaps that hinder these communities to function well in the agriculture sector. 

But as the saying goes ‘alone we can do so little, together we can do so much,’ there’s always a better chance to change the usual. With their expertise and historical legacies, bonded with government support and interventions, they will no longer be the ‘left behind.’ (Kent Warren H. Fugoso, DA RAFIS-13/PIA Caraga)