Traditional farming in the Philippines has a long and rich history that dates back to pre-colonial times. The Indigenous Peoples of the Philippines, including the Erumanen ne Menuvu in Cotabato practice the traditional farming called SURAGAD – a space developed for planting various types of food crops for family and community consumption only.
In an interview, Bai Lydia Bansawan, 60 years old recalls the time when she was still 5 years old, when she was placed in a basket by her mother in going to their suragad. Her mother would make a shanty for her and when she was sleeping her mother made a hammock hanging on a branch of a tree while her mother was sowing various seeds of sorts in their yard.
Primne Ducay, also an indigenous woman, shared her backyard garden with us. She’s not using synthetic fertilizer in her garden. She used urine mixed with water as fertilizer on her plants. Some of her products were sold in the market and this entails additional income for the family. Both Bai Lydia and Primne owned a traditional and manual rice, corn, and coffee mill. This equipment was used by their parents. Today, they are still using it in grinding their products.
PHOTO: Umalohokan Team during their field work in Brgy. Milaya, Midsayap, North Cotabato