According to a report by the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, in 2019 the Philippines accounted for 20% of global banana exports and 90% of Asian exports, making it the second largest banana exporter in the world.
Since 2020, Tzu Chi Davao has been extending help to indigenous groups in the area. Over the past two years, more than 3,000 families have received rice and other basic necessities from Tzu Chi. To find a long-term and sustainable solution to poverty, volunteers coordinated with local government officers to create a poverty alleviation plan. It teaches poor households to be self-sufficient enough to give their families a better life.
Following the instructions of Dharma Master Cheng Yen, the Tzu Chi volunteers in Davao recently began a banana tree-planting initiative with farmers in Talaingod, a municipality 130 kilometers from downtown Davao. It is part of the foundation’s poverty alleviation program for the indigenous tribes of Davao del Norte.
On January 16, 2022, bearing with them 2,500 banana seedlings, Tzu Chi Davao volunteers led by Nelson Chua traveled more than three hours through mountainous roads to reach their destination. Once there, 45 farmer families helped to plant the seedlings. Davao volunteers plan over the next three months to continue to accompany other families and plant 52,500 bananas in a 52-hectare area of land.
In the weeks to come, volunteers will continue to provide farmers with seeds and fertilizer and assist with the weeding. Through this regular interaction, the volunteers hope that they plant the seeds not only of a bountiful harvest but also of a promising future ahead for these farmers, with their cooperation.
Tzu Chi volunteers always work to bring hope and peace to the world, so that everyone can have food and clothing, feel at ease, and live in harmony with the earth. This poverty alleviation plan in Davao del Norte is how they put their compassion into action.
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