Turning aspirations into reality: A young IP farmer’s journey
From his house in an upland neighborhood high above the mountains, Carlo Casenillas, 23, traveled by foot to his school in Pangantucan Bukidnon Community College. It is a 1.5-kilometer trek that takes about an hour. That was months ago, as he finally graduated in June 2022.
As a member of the Manobo tribe, one of the seven indigenous people of Bukidnon, it is a proud moment for Carlo. He just finished Bachelor of Science in Agriculture, which he believes will propel his family out of poverty.
“We have been a family of coffee farmers. It was a fulfilling experience [to graduate in this course]. We’ve been producing coffee traditionally. But with the new technologies I have learned, we can produce more,” he said.
While studying, Carlo has already immersed himself in coffee farming. He has been managing a one hectare farm with his parents. He had also applied what he had learned in school and also from training and seminars like proper farm management and good agricultural practices.
Right now, he already has 1,500 coffee trees to take care of. Annually, his income can go up to as high as Php 50,000. Through intercropping, they also produce abaca, root crops, and vegetables on their farm.
With the support of Bayanihan Millennium Multipurpose Cooperative (BMMPC), a coffee consolidator in the town, Carlo could sell his coffee produce to buyers such as Equilibrium Coffee, Nestle Philippines, and Gourmet Farms.
“The cooperative also helped me process my coffee beans and ensure their high quality. Carlo said.
While he is slowly building his dreams, Carlo said he wants to do more for the community.
“Giving back to the community that helped me has been my ultimate dream. I want to teach them what I’ve learned,” he said.
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.