One of the key objectives of the Inclusive Development (IncluDev) team of PeaceBuilders Community, Inc. (PBCI) and Coffee for Peace (CFP) is to help strengthen peace and reconciliation values in every farming community where coffee is grown, among other produce. Here, we’ll focus on the journey of our partner from the Banao Indigenous community in the Province of Kalinga. Recently, they reported of their first harvest as an initial result of a long process of inclusive development endeavor.
Ms. Wanay S. Baluyan, a graduate of PeaceBuilders School of Leadership, shared with us the story of her Uncle Royce Lingbawan and the Banao Indigenous People’s journey towards becoming farmerpreneurs and who are also advocating peace and reconciliation. Wanay belongs to the Banao community in Kalinga. Mr. Royce Lingbawan is one of the elders in their local Indigenous political structure. Wanay also looks up to him as a mentor in Indigenous leadership wisdom.
“Uncle Royce had his first harvest in his coffee farm last December 2021 to January 2022,” reports Wanay with much excitement. “He is one among the elders,” Wanay continues, “who went to Davao for a study tour on coffee production in partnership with Coffee For Peace.”
Part of the training in Davao was to identify the best coffee cherries to be processed as seeds for planting and propagation. “He immediately propagated the seeds that he bought from Mt. Apo,” Wanay said, “and they are now bearing fruit.”
We, at PBCI and CFP, started relating with the Banao tribe of Kalinga Province in January 2017. Wanay was our Provincial Field Worker then. She got connected with PBCI-CFP family through Tala Alngag Bautista, also a graduate of PeaceBuilders School of Leadership. Through Wanay, our PBCI President & CEO was invited by her tribal elders to visit their ancestral domain to have an exploratory conversation on partnership. After a few months, the PBCI-CFP Inclusive Development Team visited them to conduct an orientation seminar.
The relationship grew. Wanay was sent by her elders to go through a two-year internship program in Davao City. Within that period, the Banao Council of Elders visited us in Davao for week of hands-on coffee training, from crop to cup.
After Wanay’s two-year internship in Davao, she was hired by ACDI/VOCA (Agricultural Cooperative Development International / Volunteers in Overseas Cooperative Assistance), an American NGO involved in helping coffee farmers through their PhilCAFE Project. She’s currently serving as Monitoring, Evaluation, and Learning Administrator of its Cordillera regional operations. Wanay’s office coordinates trainings on Good Agricultural Production (GAP), including harvesting and post-harvest handling.
Mr. Royce Lingbawan has been one of the many participants in the PhilCAFE Project in the Cordillera Region. Recently, Wanay helped her Uncle Royce submit his coffee beans for grading. “It was cupped with a score of 84 by our licensed local graders in Kalinga,” she wrote with so much enthusiasm. “It was beyond awesome! Great Coffee indeed!”