DA-BAR assures support to IPs in Lake Sebu

DA-BAR met with indigenous groups in Lake Sebu, South Cotabato on 9-10 November 2022. This is part of the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) scoping activity of the project titled, Dynamic conservation and sustainable use of agrobiodiversity in traditional agroecosystems of the Philippines or the ABD Project. 

Leading the DA-BAR team, OIC-director Joell H. Lales gave his support for the sustainability of the ABD project initiatives in coordination with relevant government agencies such as the research division, operations, Agribusiness and Marketing Assistance Service (DA-AMAS), and the Kabuhayan at Kaunlaran ng Kababayang Katutubo (DA 4K) Program, within DA SOCCSKSARGEN, Sultan Kudarat State University (SKSU) and the local government units. With their possible assistance, the efforts in continuing the conservation and sustainable utilization of  the traditional varieties available in Lake Sebu will help the Lake Sebu Indigenous Women and Farmers Association (LASIWFA) processors reach their highest potential. 

The team visited the  Ubo tribe in Brgy. Luhib and T’boli tribe in Brgy. Klubi, two of the five clusters of LASIWFA, for a consultative dialogue wherein developments made possible by the ABD project and the needs for its sustainability were discussed. 

The team also went to visit the processing center which was part of the project’s initiative with counterpart funding from the Provincial Local Government Unit (PLGU) of South Cotabato. 

Following the discussions with the Luhib cluster processors,  Arnold Dacula, FAO ABD project provincial coordinator of South Cotabato and Enterprise Development Specialist, provided an overview of the LASIWFA Luhib cluster and the barangay’s community seed bank (CSB) organization. The project focused on engaging the women as laborers in semi-processing of products and the men in conservation of traditional rice varieties. Further, he highlighted the need for more tools and equipment to scale up operations. Also, interested women, as new members, need to undergo capacity building. 

Banana chips produced using the Cardaba and Bungulan cultivars, and taro chips were recently showcased at the Helobung Festival or the celebration of the T’boli culture. These products are among the staple products of a resort where the cluster delivers 50 packs on a weekly basis. 

The ABD project which aims to enhance, expand, and sustain the dynamic conservation practices of globally significant ABD in traditional ecosystems of the Philippines, is funded by the Global and Environment Facility and implemented by the FAO’s Project Management and Coordination Unit with the DA-BAR as the lead coordinating agency. (### Kathleen Mae B. Bulquerin)