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DA to help develop IP lands in Davao

From Philippines
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By Cherry Mhae Palicte (PNA)

DAVAO CITY -- The Department of Agriculture (DA) 11 (Davao region) will collaborate with other agencies to provide the Indigenous Peoples (IPs) the capability to develop their ancestral lands.

It will be a convergence initiative aimed at providing the intrinsic importance of agricultural land, forests and related natural resources for their sustainable livelihood.

The DA-11, together with the National Commission on Indigenous Peoples (NCIP) - Davao and other stakeholders, has already discussed the proposed Ancestral Domain Development Areas (ADDA).

The ADDA project will address the IPs’ heavy dependence on raw forest resources, both timber and non-timber, by providing technical assistance, packaging and social marketing, and developing ancestral domain products following the principles of value chain.

About 10 municipalities have been identified as project sites, among them Boston, Tarragona, and Cateel in Davao Oriental; Maco, New Bataan, and Laak in Compostela Valley; Talaingod and Kapalong in Davao del Norte; Magsaysay in Davao del Sur; and Malita in Davao Occidental.

The NCIP said the ADDA shall be sub-divided into various lots and will be offered to the interested investors following community rules on land allocation and other existing laws.

The investors will be invited by the departments of agriculture, environment, social welfare,trade and industry, and labor.

Based on the map suitability of DA-11, cacao, coffee, abaca, upland rice, corn, peanut, mung bean, and root crops are best suited in the identified ADDA.

Director Ricardo Oñate said on Friday that DA will provide the needs of the IPs, such as seeds, technology and other inputs the agency can offer.

“The projects should not bring harm to the cultures and tradition of the IPs. Thus, this whole nation approach (project) would increase IP youth participation in attaining sustainable food production,” Oñate said.

The project covers several components -- capacity development training of IP farmers, community organizing, forest protection, and planting of high-value crops, coffee, fruit trees, and vegetable garden.

Lawyer Geroncio Aguio, NCIP director, said the convergence effort could possibly generate employment since the ADDA project will invite investors for wood processing, plywood factory, abaca processing (stripping machine and decorticator), organic upland rice, corn and peanut production and marketing, cacao and coffee processing. Aguio said the ADDA pilot area’s integrated facilities will also be built on the project site.