LANAO DEL NORTE, Philippines – The provincial government of Lanao del Sur is exploring the possibility of introducing coffee production in its province after Governor Mamintal “Bombit” Alonto Adiong Jr signed a memorandum of undertaking (MoU) with groups interested in helping Marawi City's Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs).
Under the Marawi Response Project, coffee demo farms will be piloted in Lanao del Sur to show viable agricultural models.
These demo farms are intended to be the first step in a longer partnership to support IDPs and their host communities. The long-term objective is to create sustainable community-owned farms, which will serve to increase the self-reliance of these communities.
The groups which signed the MOU with the provincial government of Lanao del Sur, were Plan International, Iligan City Local Government, and East-West Seed Company. The signing was held during the Youth Innovate 2020 Summit, held at N Hotel, Cagayan de Oro City on Tuesday, March 3.
Governor Adiong said that under the MoU, the province would provide the land for the demo farms and monitoring services.
The Lanao del Sur provincial government identified the towns of Marantao and Ditsaan Ramain for the pilot. The towns will provide at least a hectare of land to accomodate 20 farmers in each demo farm.
A third demo farm will be launched in Iligan City.
Lanao del Sur is ideal for growing coffee because it is located in a high elevation area and has sufficient rainfall all year round.
"We will also provide monitoring and evaluation support of the learning site through the provincial government’s agricultural support programs and personnel, and other technical and logistical resources when applicable," Adiong said.
Adiong said that 2017 was an unfortunate year for Lanao Del Sur and its component city, Marawi. "The harrowing events during that time gave us Meranao people hopelessness which kept me thinking on how do we survive this,” Adiong added.
“What kept us going though was the overflowing humanitarian assistance from Local and International Organizations that unselfishly and generously lent a helping hand. It made me realize that economic recovery can happen as long as we all work together to achieve one common goal”, Adiong added.
Adiong said that the economic recovery is important for the province, which is one of the poorest in the country owed in part due to years of violent armed conflict, cultural and political conflict.
Adiong also encouraged other investors to consider the province as one of the agricultural hubs in Mindanao.
Dr. Karina Nersesyan of MRP said that a lot of coffee farms were destroyed during Marawi Siege in 2017 and they wanted to know how they could help rebuild it.
“The project will establish 3 learning farms for coffee intercropped with vegetables in Iligan City, Marantao, and Ditsaan Ramain. Proposed areas are strategically located along the farm-to-market road and will be assessed in terms of proximity to nearby markets, source of water, and availability of other resources. High-demand crops will be planted, including eggplant, bitter gourd, tomato, hot pepper, sweet pepper, cucumber, yard long bean, and watermelon,” Nersesyan said.
Henk Paul Marie Hermans representing East West Seeds (EWS) on the other hand will provide technical training and services for MRP beneficiaries. – Rappler.com