Manobos making Agusan Sur a Jatropha capital

Manobos making Agusan Sur  a Jatropha capital

By Anthony S. Allada

Jatropha or tuba-tuba making a hit in Agusan Sur

MANOBO tribesmen is set to make the province of Agusan del Sur as the capital of Jatropha (tuba-tuba), a shrub touted as the great hope for biofuels.

The planting of Jatropha is initiated by the heirs of legendary leader Datu Hawodon Tagleong Coguit, who made history in leading his people united and intact for over a century. Datu Tagleong died in 2006 at the age of 113.

Bae Merlyn Coguit, his daughter, said that her fellow Manobo farmers, have already planted around 120,000 seedlings in their tilled farm lands in La Paz and Talacogon municipalities and they have harvested for years already.

After plating its seedling, a Jatropha could flower in four months time and be harvested  after six months.

“The idea is we don’t sell our harvest. Instead, we are making an expansion. We will plant hectares and hectares of Jatropha,” according to Merlyn’s husband, Datu Bunanat Francisco O. Hernandez, who is the Manobo Tribe Administrator.

Hernandez said though Jatropha is their second major crop next to palm oil, they are viewing the commodity as a big help to produce biofuel, which is an environment-compliant.

Aside from Jatropha, Manobo farmers are planting high-valued timbers which they hope to make them more competitive in the world market since their market value is very high. Each timber tree could cost 5,000 dollars, Hernandez said.

Hernandez said they are also ready to introduce the so-called sweet sorgum that is said to cost about $1 per kilo.

“Because of advanced research and technology, we come across with these developments. And this will liberate our Manobo brothers and sisters from poverty,” he said. (ASA)

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