- Location: Mt.Matutum PUROK 8
- Main source of income: arabica coffee
- Bulol Alnabo means shouting if you want to be heard in the mountains
- Altitude: 1,200 to 1,600 Meters above sea level
- Distributed rain and no fixed dry and wet season all year round. The Arabica harvest from November to January •
- Vacantland: 1,000 hectares
B’laan tribe, is one of the 18 non-Islamic indigenous groups in Southern Philippines. The name “B’laan” was derived from “To Bali” which means “on the other side of the bay”, as the tribe were seaside dwellers before they were pushed back to the mountains by non-indigenous settlers from Luzon and Visayas. B’laan communities in Polomolok are ruled by “datus” or village chiefs known as “fulongs”. This person is usually the wisest man in the village. The rulership is formal and customary and their agreement-setting is basically oral in tradition. B’laan have rich tradition in crafts and agriculture. They believe in strong interdependencies with the environment. They believe that all objects in the forest have guardians assigned to them by “Malu” or “Dwata”, their god. Thus, trees and rivers have assigned guardians and are considered sacred to tribes.
In 2016, Collatio Insignis conducted a visit to Village 8 of Mt Matumtum. Mt Matumtum is the major source of potable and irrigation water. Water from the mountain runs through 5 major rivers providing 25% of the water requirements of the region (Sarangani, South Cotabato, General Santos City and Koronadal City), which adds up to roughly 4.5M people or 750,000 households. Its protected primary forest of 3,000 hectares supports these waters. In an open and participative socialization with the community, farmers mentioned that they are selling coffee from their ancestral lands to traders that provide them with a value lower than the price on the market. Because of the low value for their coffee beans, farmers are forced to borrow money from traders or ‘loan sharks’, who provide loans against very high interest rates or ask for part of their harvest in return.
In 2017, Collatio provided a loan of PhP 200,000 to 23 farmers against a solidarity interest rate (2% per month). This allowed farmers to break the negative feedback loop with traders and ‘loan sharks’. Farmers used their loans to improve the quality of their coffee or establish vegetable gardens, which allowed them to diversify their income sources. This project shows that good community relationships and community dynamics lowers risks for investors and can be seen as intangible collateral. Collatio is now looking at the second phase of this project, which will allow more farmers to break the negative feedback loop with traders and ‘loan sharks’ and move up into the supply chain.