FIELD OPERATIONS TEAM DEEPENS RELATIONSHIPS WITH PARTNERS THROUGH FARM VISITS
Sihaya Ansibod, PBCI-CFP Director of Field Operations, developed the Farm Visitation Program to get first-hand and up-to-date information on the state of our farming partners’ lives, wellness, farming successes, farming challenges, and aspirations. We’re passionate about holistic and inclusive development. We’re very careful not to impose coffee farming if it’s not appropriate in a given social, cultural, or geographical context. We, at PBCI-CFP Tribe, believe that this Farm Visitation Program, an aspect of our on-going Participatory Action Research (PAR) around Mt. Apo, would help us to be true to our philosophy of development — from the ground up.
A number of big businesses involved in industrial agriculture are entering the ancestral domain of the Bagobo Tagabawa with the blessing of government authorities. This is a serious concern for us, influenced by our global perspective on the trends and challenges on the future of food and agriculture. Industrial agriculture and its requirement for standardized approaches is driving our local food supplies towards a global food system, shrinking the role of local farmers and shifting decision-making power to the far away central offices of big businesses and government agencies.
As social entrepreneurs in partnership with impact investors, we advocate and practice an alternative approach. Our holistic perspective towards a new food-system design could meet the needs of a larger share of stakeholders. Starting with Participatory Action Research (PAR), we are plunging into a long-term journey with our farming partners. PAR is crucial in this global-to-local transition, being the hub of knowledge and the workshop of participation in and appropriation of the research in agriculture over a long term.
As faith-inspired organizations, PeaceBuilders Community, Inc. (PBCI) and Coffee for Peace (CFP) value holistic and inclusive development approaches in the context of the UN Sustainable Development Goals. Our community-based entrepreneurial solutions have been internationally recognized as an effective interventions to address poverty.
The PBCI-CFP Team, through a market-systems approach and strategic partnerships, helps enable local farmers, especially the Indigenous People’s communities and women entrepreneurs, gain access to entrepreneurial and technical expertise to build transformative, conflict-sensitive, inclusive agricultural market systems. In turn, these market systems would create decent jobs, allowing traditionally excluded groups to become active participants in a sustainable and regenerative economy.
Last 05-06 August 2021, our PBCI-CFP Field Operations Team continued their on-going listening process with the Bagobo Tagabawa farmers in Binaton, at the foot of Mt. Apo. This Farm Visitation Program is a significant part of PAR. It enables us to advance in the restructuring of physical ﬂows, economies, and information that support local farming, as a means to achieve greater autonomy and self-management.
We present a methodology applied during the creation of a small network of IP and Settler farmers around Mt. Apo and detail the steps of the co-innovation process implemented. After a context analysis of the area to define the type of research and degree of participation, three steps were performed:
- Identification of stakeholders;
- Dialogic identification of common activities; and,
- Validation and feedback from participants.
In the first participatory step, three coffee and vegetable farms were engaged for the second and third steps. We organized meetings to discuss future plans, facilitating the interaction process between farmers and researchers.
These activities led to:
- the definition of a research protocol based on farmers’ research needs for a new long-term experiment;
- committing farmers to take an active role in the research; and,
- hosting experimental satellite trials in their own farms.
Here’s a video of one of our Farm Visitations last 15 July 2021, a part of PAR.