The Department of Agrarian Reform (DAR)-Iloilo is planning to develop a coffee alamid which is made from sivet cat poop or locally known as miro that are very abundant in mountainous area of Sitio Nagpana, Brgy. Lipata, Barotac Viejo, Iloilo.
Hernan Buenavintura, provincial investment and marketing assistant officer of DAR’s Beneficiaries Development and Coordination Division said they have already submitted a proposal to DAR Central Office asking them if they could establish a P 1 million worth of processing center in the said area or within the town.
Sitio Nagpana is 12 kilometers away from the Poblacion of the said town. It covers 938 hectares of verdant forest land where 200 hectares is identified as “reserved area” for its watershed and 40 hectares is intended for housing and its school.
It has been identified to be the aeta community or indigenous people (IPs) since 1950’s. Presently, there is a population of 1, 000 plus aetas living in their shanty houses.
Buenavintura said almost of the IPs living at the area are beneficiaries of the Comprehensive Agrarian Reform Program (CARP).
“As CARP beneficiaries, we are tasked to monitor, train and give them livelihood program to sustain their daily needs. That is why we are encouraging them to plant more native coffee and discourage them from eating wild miro so that more miro will produce this coffee alamid”, he said.
Buenavintura added every year, this IPs could harvest more than 10 tons of coffee at their backyard but a big company in Lapuz, Iloilo City only bought their harvested coffee in cheaper price ranging from P 90 to P 100 per kilo.
“If we could produce this coffee alamid here just like what Davao City did, this processed coffee could now be bought from P 8, 000 to P 12, 000 per kilo. This could be a big help to our IPs”, he said.
With the help of DAR, Nagpana Minorities Association was organized in 2001 and now, has 168 active members led by their president Jessie Elosendo.
Presently, Buenavintura said the group is now producing native bags, wallets and other souvenir items made from vine or locally known as nito or balagon.
The DAR officer said the vine is very abundant at the area and the products are now available in the markets especially in Boracay Island.
One of the association member Ritchell Arsaga, 36, said she was able to send her children to school after joining the association. She said her expertise in making nito products helped her family in so many ways.
“Now, we could already buy some of our needs which we could not buy before when we are still into kaingin and farming”, she said.
Arsaga added while she is into the association, her husband is the one managing their coffee plantation and rice land.
Arsaga also said that she is the one delivering their products to Boracay Island when there is a bulk order from one of the stall owners in Boracay Talipapa. IMT