Promoting Sustainable Farming in Palawan

July 13, 2022

by MASIPAG National Office

In the first half of 2022, MASIPAG Luzon, with the local farmer-trainors, re-visits the farmers and their organizations in the island of Palawan after years of pandemic-induced restrictions. People’s organizations (PO) in the island continue to address the challenges of the pandemic, agricultural crisis, and climate change through sustainable farming. Despite the devastating typhoon that ravaged the province last year, Palawan’s MASIPAG farmers’ organizations remain steadfast in practicing sustainable farming to overcome the present challenges and improve their livelihood.

For more than two years, the organizations have remained in the way of collective leadership. Farmer-led discussions, skills workshops, and active sharing of farmer-to-farmer practices continue upholding the spirit of “bayanihan” which is the source of their strength and resolve in achieving sustainable farming.

New Member PO in El Nido, Palawan

The town of El Nido is known for its beautiful scenery and is a popular tourist destination. But the island is also home to the indigenous Tagbanua Tandolanen of Northern Palawan.

Tagbanua Tandolanen kat El Nido Inc. (TTKEI), led by their chairwoman and tribal leader, Apo Remedios Cabate-Cabral, welcomed MASIPAG in conducting the orientation on MASIPAG programs and discussing sustainable agriculture. TTKEI expressed their desire to share more in-depth programs to further develop their sustainable organic farming methods.

During the MASIPAG Luzon’s visit last May, a discussion on soil fertility management (SFM) and alternative pest management (APM) with TTKEI members was conducted, wherein farmers learned new knowledge and practices on alternative and sustainable methods of soil fertilization, insect repellants, and herbicides in their farm. According to Mr. Nelson Bienes, a member of TTKEI, “Napakalaking tulong ng aming natutunan sa training na ito upang maiwasan ang paggastos ng malaki sa paglalagay ng pataba sa lupa, lalong higit ay maiwasan ang paggamit ng mga nakalalasong kemikal upang magkaroon ng ligtas na pagkain ang aming komunidad (what we learned from this training was a big help to avoid spending a lot cash on fertilizers , especially in avoiding the use of toxic chemical fertilizers and inputs  to ensure that our community have  safe and nutritious organically produced foods”.

Apart from the members of the TTKEI organization, members of the Tagbanua Tandolanen tribe from the towns of Dumaran, San Vicente, and Roxas also joined in the said training. MASIPAG had the opportunity to meet them and discuss plans to expand the practice of accessible organic sustainable agriculture or what MASIPAG calls as “likas-kayang pagsasaka” in their  community.

New Member PO in El Nido, Palawan

The Sto. Niño Organic Farmers Association (SOFA) in Taytay, Palawan has been a regular member of MASIPAG since 2011. MASIPAG and members of SOFA have reviewed the PO’s skills in organizational management and plan how they will be able to devise ways for them to revitalize their organization. In May, the SOFA successfully conducted the election of new officials who will lead towards the revitalization of the organization and its programs.

Expansion Work in Palawan

MASIPAG (MOSA) was able to share its orientation with farmer organizations in the towns of El Nido, Narra, and Quezon in Palawan. According to farmer trainer (FT) Joey Arca of SAMOFA in Narra, Palawan, “Mainam na maisama sa mga priority natin sa Palawan ang usapin ng expansion upang madagdagan ang bilang ng mga kasaping PO, at mas maparami ang mga nagsasagawa ng likas-kayang pagsasaka sa probinsya, at kung kakayanin ay makapagbuo ng sariling PCB ang Palawan sa susunod na taon (It would be good to include Palawan as one of our areas of focus in terms of network expansion so that we can have a sustained and strong farmer-led organic agriculture program in the province. With this, we are hopeful that by next year, Palawan will have its own Provincial Consultative Body or PCB).

Long live, MASIPAG farmers!