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Thirty four Indigenous People (IP) from Paquibato District graduated from the training on rock wall establishment conducted by the Department of Agriculture Regional Field Office 11. 

After eight days of stay-in training provided with food and allowances from DA’s rice program, the IP coming from Paquibato district celebrated their graduation ceremony recently which was held at Arakan Valley, North Cotabato that also served as the training ground of the participants. 

DA together with the local government unit of Davao City and a private social corporation named “Lingkod Saka” who owned the eight hectares hilly area spearheaded this rock wall training. 

The training which not only aims food sustainability but also erosion protection management, taught the IPs how to pile rock walls as barricade to protect their planted rice from landslides and to trap the water in the flat areas hence achieving the look of Ifugao’s rice terraces. 

Agriculture Undersecretary Dante Delima said that much boost is needed for the development of farming industry in Mindanao especially that marginal communities like the IP, benefits less from government’s services which lead them to create their own governance. 

“This is a challenge to the government to exert effective efforts to answer their (IP) concerns. Through training supports and extension activities, we could empower the livelihood of these small scale farmers located in remote areas. We, in the department is willing to assist”, Delima added. 

He added that this is a challenge as well as to private sectors in helping the government to promote rural developments. 

Delima said that Arakan Valley is a good platform to foresee the appearance of the rice terraces which is a component only for an area that has its own water system and they are planning a diversified farming for cacao, banana, vegetables, livestock and poultry for the upcoming trainings. 

A bio-gas digester was also provided by DA which is a technology for waste management, alternative energy generation and natural farming fertilizer which will be useful for the community and trainees in an area considered as isolated. 

Delima also encouraged everyone to replicate the rock wall establishment in their areas anywhere in the country to maximize agriculture but by considering the protection of the place from destruction. 

Agriculture Regional Director Remelyn R. Recoter proposed for additional training for the IP which will take place in their area in Paquibato district where they could apply what they learned in Arakan Valley and eventually generate income from what they will plant. 

This project of DA started last June 18, 2013 and was participated by almost  all regions in Mindanao producing three batches with 20-35 participants each batch.(aggie media service)