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Restoring peace via organic farming in Lanao

Restoring peace via organic farming in Lanao

Kauswagan, Lanao del Norte — Tingintingin, a hinterland barangay seven kilometers south of this municipality, is the home to farmers who devote to organic farming in Northern Mindanao.

This village is used as a war field between government troopers and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front. Years of armed conflicts pummeled this community, especially during the all-out war declaration against MILF of former President Joseph Estrada in March 2000.

But, this war-torn village has evolved into a vast plantation of rice, corn, and peanuts.

Christians and Muslims alike agreed to till their lands using techniques to achieve good crop yields without harming the natural by not using synthetic fertilizers and pesticides. As such, they recycled and composted crop wastes and animal manures, employ crop rotation, used green manures and legumes, observe careful use of water resources and good animal husbandry.

Malic O. Macabato, village chief, said he and the rest of barangay council members adopted organic farming to sustainably support their farmers.

Macabato emphasized that farming is the first step to combat hunger and to achieve a peaceful community.

He noted that conflict will not erupt if hunger is addressed, especially now that convergence efforts among national and local government agencies and civil society organizations are underway.

Tingintingin, with 204 registered household wherein 132 are Pantawid Pamilya members, has celebrated its first festival dubbed as Organic Upland Rice Harvest Festival on July 22 this year.

 

Convergence efforts underway

DSWD is one of various national agencies who poured assistance to this village.

Aside from Pantawid Pamilya that serves most of the population, the Sustainable Livelihood Program under the Grassroots Participatory Budgeting Process (GPBP) modality extended loans with zero interest rate to at least 25 members of Tingintingin Upland Rice Growers SKA on September 6, 2013.
Each of the members received P10,000, said Maria Lani Bularon, former project development officer of SLP in Kauswagan. According to her, they used the money in growing upland rice in which they harvested it during the village’s harvest festival last month.

Aside from upland rice, farmers also grow corns, peanuts, coconuts, and mung beans. The Department of Agriculture provided the seeds while the local government unit provided a mobile rice mill.

Farmers need not to rent and go down as far as seven kilometers for a dryer in the Poblacion area here. World Food Programme, United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, and a non-governmental organization constructed a solar dryer while the local government unit constructed the storage facilities for the farmers’ produce.
Meanwhile, DSWD’s KALAHI CIDSS – National Community Driven Development, under the PAMANA modality constructed a peace center, health center, and day care center.

 

War no more

 

Macabato is optimistic that arm conflict will erupt no longer.

“I can assure that no one among us here will rebel against the government,” he said, adding that rebels have started to lay down arms and embrace the development because of each in the community are given importance.

“Makakasabi talaga ako na kaya namin talaga ang pagbabago dahil sa tulong ng DSWD at iba’t-ibang ahensiya ng gobyerno. Ngayon, talagang nasa matuwid na daan kami,” said Macabato. (I can prove to everyone that we can make a difference because of DSWD and other national government agencies’ intervention. Now, we are on the right path)
He disclosed that two former MILF commanders and an MNLF commander have been actively involved in organic farming.

The former rebels were engaged in numerous skirmishes and encounters against the military before that took a toll on their lives and those of their families. Now, they live peacefully as they are reintegrated to the mainstream society.

Recently, this town through Mayor Rommel Arnado received the Galing Pook Award for its ‘From Arms to Farms’ program.###smu

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