An estimated 1,000 calamansi seedlings were turned over by Rio Tuba Nickel Mining Corporation (RTNMC) to support the revival of backyard gardening and to attain food sufficiency during the pandemic in the indigenous peoples (IP) community of Sitio Cabuan, Barangay Ocayan, Bataraza.
Jenny Dela Vega, RTNMC’s community development organizer, said the growing process and cost of maintenance will be the counterpart of around 200 households in Ocayan as beneficiaries.
This move would help to instill project ownership and accountability to beneficiaries. The company has allotted a budget of P50,000 from the Social Development and Management Program (SDMP) and each household will have five seedlings to maintain and cultivate as their livelihood’s source.
“Since nagkaroon ng pandemic, hindi sila puwedeng magtanim bilang isang asosasyon. Ang nangyari dyan ay per individual, per household. Ang target nyan ay nasa 100 lang pero nagdagdag pa sila ng 100 kaya naging five seedlings na per household (ang hatian). Diyan lang sa backyard nila, kung may lupa man sila, diyan na lang sa sarili nila,” she said.
The community shifted to calamansi farming after they encountered a problem with the water sources for their vegetable plantation before.
She added that the community could enjoy the benefits of calamansi fruits soon as it grows within a short period of time. The community will harvest the fruits after a few months if they would cultivate and supervise the maintenance of the plants.
The company would like to teach the community to attain sustainable livelihood through calamansi farming, she said.
“Kailangan pursigihin mo talaga na makabenta ka para iyon ang magiging source of income niyo, maging sustainable ba. Habang kumikita ay lumalago. Kaya may counterpart ang households sa pag-maintain,” she said.
Due to the demand for calamansi in the town, Dela Vega believes that the community will have a sure market for its agricultural products. She said even the townsite inside RTNMC can be a market for the calamansi.