A farmer in the Bukidnon town of Lantapan who has been engaged in ube or purple yam cultivation for 12 years, will supply planting materials to an isolated tribal community in Kapalong, Davao del Norte, under the “Adopt-a-Tribal Family” program of the Mindanao Development Authority (MinDA).
In a Facebook post on Thursday, MinDA Secretary Emmanuel Piñol said Teofila Llausas’ ube tubers and farming techniques would be used to help some 150 Ata-Manobo families start their own plantation.
“Ube farming is one of the livelihood activities (that) will be introduced to the 150 Ata-Manobo families, called the ‘Lost Tribe’, who was discovered by Army Long-Range Patrols living in the forests in the tri-boundaries of Davao del Norte, Agusan del Sur, and Bukidnon,” Piñol said.
He said Llausas was happy that she would be getting a good price and a ready market while the tribal families are expected to benefit from her ube.
“After touring her farm, we came to an agreement that she will supply planting materials to our tribal family program. Our role was simply linking Mrs. Llausas and the tribal families,” Piñol added.
MinDA’s “Adopt-a-Tribal Family” aims to provide decent homes, sustainable livelihood projects, education for the children, and basic services to tribal communities in Mindanao.
He said MinDA would also assist the Kapalong tribal community to generate other income-earning activities, such as tree farming and the growing of high-value coconut and abaca.
“Sourcing purple yam or ube proved to be a challenge because not very many farmers are producing it. But thanks to Facebook, after I posted an article about our search for purple ube planting materials, a professor from the Central Mindanao University (CMU) sent me a message saying that her mother has an ube farm,” Piñol said.
On Friday, he said, Llausas’ tubers would be planted on site to mark the start of the program to “improve the lives of marginalized and neglected tribal families in Kapalong, Davao del Norte.” (PNA)