Lumads to launch indigenous food security program

SUNGKO, Lantapan, Bukidnon (MindaNews) — The Talaandig tribe of Bukidnon will embark on a “sustainable food production program” amid reports the world is facing a food crisis.

Datu Victorino Saway, a tribal leader of the Talaandigs in this town, also invited all other ethnic groups in Mindanao to replicate their own food security program which he described as “patterned from traditional way of producing food crops.”

“In fact,” Saway stressed, “people all over the world can also adopt a food security program similar with what we will do.”

The Talaandigs will launch their program in a religious ritual in September yet, but they have already conducted consultations with Lumad farmers who would participate in the year-long “pilot project.

“As of the moment, we already got the commitment of almost 100 Talaandig farmers who would support and join our food security project,” Saway said.

He identified at least three main agricultural crops that they plan to plant — camote (sweet potato), cassava and corn.

Saway explained that the three crops “will really address the food security the world is faced with because in every stage of the plants’ development, they could be harvested to serve as food.”

The young leaves of the camote, which he said are very nutritious and have medicinal value, could be steamed and served as salad.”

A study on the nutritive value of sweet potato conducted by South Korea’s Rural Development Administration shows that sweet potato contains antioxidants such as chlorogenic acid, isoclorogenic acid, and caffeic acid.

Taiwan’s Food and Fertilizer Technology Center shared the information on the RDA study with the Philippine Council for Agriculture, Forestry and Natural Resources Research and Development.”

Antioxidants, also identified as anti-aging nutrients are phytochemicals or substances (mostly present in fruits and vegetables), which neutralize the free radicals generated by the body during metabolism.”

Saway said the Lumads also steam and eat the leaves of cassava while waiting for its roots to mature.”

Cassava is grown for its enlarged starch-filled roots, which contains nearly the maximum theoretical concentration of starch on a dry weight basis among food crops.”

Fresh roots contain about 30 percent starch and very little protein.

Roots are prepared much like potato. They can be peeled and boiled, baked, or fried.”

For the Talaandigs and other ethnic groups in Mindanao, corn is a staple. Saway said that in “almost all stages” of corn’s growth, the Lumads could make use of it as food.

“The very young corn can be cooked as vegetable when cobs still have no grains, then the young  grains can either be steamed or roasted before it finally matures.”

He said “there are many other useful uses of corn” aside from being a staple of  the natives.”

Corn components can be found in thousands of products – food, drugs, cosmetics and cleansers, just to name a few,” the Talaandig leader  said.

A year after the launching of the food security program of the Talaandig Saway said they will host a week-long thanksgiving ritual that would showcase a variety of foods produced from the three crops.”

“We shall invite people and show them all the processes that would be involved in producing food for the table from these three crops,” he said eagerly and with optimism that “other farmers in Mindanao, Philippines and even the world could really appreciate and be encouraged to replicate this project.”

He said their food security project “is not costly because we would not be using fertilizers and chemicals.” (Romy Elusfa/MindaNews)


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