Luyungan IP school to fight student hunger with ‘food sufficiency’ project

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MALAYBALAY CITY ( 05 March 2020) — To address student hunger, the Luyungan Indigenous Peoples High School (LIPHS) in Bangcud has launched its “Food Sufficiency Project,” which involves planting of assorted crops inside the school compound.

Principal Edsel James Quemado said most of their students would attend classes on empty stomachs.

According to him, 187 students, all from the seven tribes of Bukidnon, live inside the campus. Due to the distance and high transportation cost, they could not easily go home to their respective villages.

The school has previously solicited assorted food items from government agencies, non-government organizations, and concerned individuals.

“This practice, however, is not good in the end because we are just ‘giving them fish’,” Quemado said. “The better thing to do is to ‘teach them how to fish.’”

The Food Sufficiency project, he said, will consist of three phases.

At the first phase, cash crops that can be harvested within two to three months will be planted. These will include assorted vegetables such as pechay, eggplant, pepper, sweet potato, and alugbati. These will be inter-cropped with abaca and dragon fruit. A mushroom culture facility that can accommodate 10,000 production bags will also be established.

Phase 2 involves planting of medium-term crops that can be harvested from six to 12 months. They will allot two hectares for adlay and root crops such as lutya (taro) and cassava.

Phase 3 will see the planting of dragon fruits in one hectare, abaca in two hectares, and some fruit trees. They have set to begin planting this June, the start of the rainy season.

Quemado said Unifruitti Tropical Philippines Inc., Hineleban Foundation Inc, and Kalugmanan Agri-Development Corp. (KADC) have pledged materials and technical assistance from planting to marketing.

Ulticon Builders Inc. (UBI) will also help create the school’s water system while the 403rd Infantry Brigade and the 8th Infantry Battalion will provide the necessary equipment for land preparation, vehicles to be used in transporting organic fertilizer, as well as technical and manpower assistance.

Other groups that pledged assistance are the Bukidnon Police Provincial Office, LGU-Malaybalay, Bukidnon Lateral Organization and Development (Buklod), Globe Telecom, Inc., and Sar Shalom Abaca Farm.

At the project launch on Feb. 26, Maylin Lagwas, student council president, acknowledged the stakeholders’ support.

“Masasabing humingi kami ng tulong ngayon pero sa pagdating ng panahon kami naman ang tutulong,” (We may be the ones asking for help right now but time will come when we will be the one extending help), she said.

Lagwas, a member of the pioneering batch when the school opened in 2016, said 37 of the 70 students in her batch dropped out due to survival difficulties.

LIPHS caters to the educational needs of the children of Bukidnon’s seven tribes—Higaonon, Talaandig, Bukidnon, Umayamnon, Matigsalog, Tigwahanon, and Manobo. (Mel B. Madera)


IN PHOTO: Stakeholders join the ceremonial planting of dragon fruit during the launch of LIPHS’s Food Sufficiency Project at Sitio Nasuli, Brgy. Bangcud, Malaybalay City on Feb. 26. (Photo by Mel Madera)

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