Coffee farming fuels young IP’s quest to help her community
Sitio “Bagong Buhay” is the name of the village where Flushiela Mae Hupayan, 22, resides. Located in the upland area of Pangantucan, Bukidnon, the sitio is home to a sizable population of indigenous people’s (IP) community, including the Manobo tribe, where she belongs. Most of the households are engaged in farming, with coffee, abaca, and root crops as primary commodities.
There is also a small elementary school for IPs and Flushiela, a third-year college student this year, aims to teach there someday.
“Next year, I will be one of the first people to graduate from our Sitio. I’m looking forward to work in our IP school there someday,” she said.
To finance her education, Flushiela works in a two-hectare farm their family own. She’s currently managing 500 coffee trees, while intercropping abaca and gabi (taro root).
“I’ve been working with my family and siblings on the farm since my childhood. The farming has been a major source of income,”
In 2021, Flushiela managed to earn Php 20,000 despite the lower output of coffee beans that year. She sells her produce to Bayanihan Millennium Multipurpose Cooperative (BMMPC) in the town proper.
“BMMPC really helps us in our education. If we don’t have enough money for transportation to school, we can avail small loans from the cooperative,” she said.
The cooperative also helped Flushiela and other young IPs be trained on good agricultural practices like pruning and rejuvenation.
Flushiela said she believes that someday, Sitio “Bagong Buhay” will live up to its name.
“Education will be the key to success. Hopefully, I can contribute to building a new and better life for my fellow IPs.”
Bayanihan Millennium Multipurpose Cooperative (BMMPC) has been a partner of the Peace and Equity Foundation since 2018 in supporting the IP coffee farmers in Pangantucan, Bukidnon through financial and technical assistance, and market linkaging.