Palawan: Stop blaming indigenous peoples’ farming practices for deforestation – look at boom crops, oil palm plantations and mining!
Traditional upland farming implemented through swidden (‘slash-and-burn’) technology (kaingin) in The Philippines is demonized and antagonized through restrictive legislation. In Palawan forests are being destroyed by agribusiness (mainly oil palm and rubber), mining enterprises and various forms of land grabbing. Yet, state agencies as well as some Palawan NGOs still view indigenous kaingin as ‘illegitimate agriculture’ and as the primary cause of deforestation. However, traditional kaingin does not only provide for sustainable livelihoods, but it also benefits Palawan’s indigenous peoples by offering a variety of timber and non-timber goods for subsistence and to diversify production. A ‘ban on kaingin’ has nonetheless been imposed with vigor by many municipalities and is being implemented and spread under the current administration.
Read the joint press release by CALG (Coalition against Land Grabbing) and NATRIPAL (United Tribes of Palawan) here