Crisanto “Datu Bobong” Memper, 47 years old, is a member of the TUMINDOK Farmers Association at Sitio Pelarcon, Lourdes, Valencia City in Bukidnon. Datu Bobong comes from the tribe of Manobo–Talaandig descent. This tribe faces
lack of capacity development and training opportunities to transform their produce into an economic resource for the community.
The Manobo-Talaandig live in a location so remote, there is inadequate or lack of transportation, aggravated by the harsh and difficult terrains, which all the more aggravates making a decent income from their produce.
“This farm is more than land and crops. It’s our family’s heritage and future” proud Datu Bobong said. “The overall success of any farm is largely due to the ability of family members to work together as a unit with a sense of purpose and pride.” he added.
His family's 6-hectare land was planted mostly with coffee but in 1988, they cut the coffee trees and started to plant sugarcane instead. "Due to the height of the coffee trees – harvesting was difficult, no established buyer , hence they just sold their coffee to whoever is willing to buy, resulting to low prices. Sugarcane fetched better prices and was sold to local sugar milling company.”
He is thankful to Philippine Coffee Alliance, Inc. (PCAi) and Forest Foundation Philippines (FFP) for the introduction of the project entitled "Empowering the Coffee Value Chains of Forest Communities via Community Based Social Enterprises" the Tumindok community is now encouraged to go back in planting coffee.
Datu Bobong’s wife together with their 4 children planted 1500 Arabica coffee trees. Everyone is determined to plant more coffee for their tribe’s future now that they gained additional knowledge in farming.
"It was a big help for me because I learned a lot during the agribusiness mentoring of PCAi staff and technical expertise shared by Coffee Doctors." Datu Bobong declares.