LGU Clarin, PRRI, & DOST empower Subanen farmers in rubber latex harvesting

MISAMIS OCCIDENTAL – The Department of Science and Technology – X (DOST – X), in collaboration with the Philippine Rubber Research Institute (PRRI), trained 25 indigenous Subanen farmers in rubber latex harvesting on April 3-4, 2024, Penacio, Clarin, Misamis Occidental. The training dubbed Skills Training in Rubber Latex Harvesting was designed to empower Subanen farmers with knowledge and skills to utilize their abundant rubber trees grown in the area.

The training is a project of DOST’s Community Empowerment through Science and Technology (CEST) program, that aims to provide livelihood and alleviate poverty in remote communities.

The training initiative received support from LGU Clarin through its Municipal Agriculture Office, underscoring the importance of collaborative efforts in empowering local communities.

Nagpasalamat mi’g dako nga na-training mi aron makatuon mi sa pagsanggot sa among rubber,” said Leonard Somoson, barangay kagawad and training participant. 

(We are very grateful that we were trained to learn how to tap our rubber [trees].)

The two-day training commenced with a pre-test assessing the baseline knowledge of farmer participants in rubber latex harvesting. 

Following this, PRRI staff Jenepher Bade delivered a comprehensive lecture, providing insights into the historical context of the rubber industry in the Philippines, alongside recommending effective techniques for rubber latex harvesting. This was complemented by a tapping demonstration conducted by Gilbert Rance of PRRI, offering participants hands-on experience in the proper tapping method. 

On the second day, participants underwent assessments to evaluate their proficiency in rubber tapping, enabling facilitators to identify top performers within the group. Subsequently, a post-test revealed a significant enhancement in participants’ understanding of rubber latex harvesting, validating the effectiveness of the training program.  .

To ensure that the farmers are well-equipped in their livelihood, DOST – X provided the participants with essential farming tools such as tapping knives, plastic buckets, boots, gloves, and other materials to facilitate the harvesting process.

Mely Mintang, president of the Penacio Peglakanangan Enterprise, the farmers’ association conveyed their gratitude for the training and affirmed their commitment to immediately commence tapping activities on their individual plantations, with plans to sell the harvested latex to a consolidator in the province. The association further pledged to sustain the newfound livelihood opportunity. 

DOST also recently allocated project funding to LGU Clarin for the upgrading of the Subanen farmers’ abaca fiber processing, further enhancing livelihood opportunities in the area. (Ella B. Nadela, DOST Misamis Occidental)