BAYOMBONG, Nueva Vizcaya: Indigenous peoples or IPs in the province have found an ally in a provincial board member who defended them in their practice of kaingin or slash-and-burn farming.
Kaingin means clearing by the cutting down and burning of trees and plant growth in an area for cultivation purposes.
Also known as swidden farming in other countries, it is a traditional but considered a destructive agricultural system practiced in many parts of the world.
In Nueva Vizcaya, slash-and-burn farming is still being practiced in some areas, particularly in the towns of Santa Fe, Kasibu, Kayapa, Dupax del Sur, Ambaguio and Diadi.
Board Member Flodemonte Gerdan of the South District, during the recently held Environmental Awareness Month Celebration-Driven Climate Change Symposium here said kaingin among the tribes is totally destructive.
Reacting to the issue of perennial siltation of rivers in the province blamed on slash-and-burn farming, Gerdan added that most upland farmers continue to follow environmentally sound methods.
”Our kaingin farmers in the province observe an eco-friendly practice in such a way that trees are not totally burned but only branches are cut,” he noted.
Gerdan explained that most of the IPs put importance to prevention of erosion and landslides by the use of the traditional method of farming.
He blamed heavy siltation of Nueva Vizcaya rivers on indiscriminate dumping of soil during road and bridge projects of both the national and local governments.
Gerdan also cited the construction of the Nueva Vizcaya-Benguet Road and the ongoing implementation of the Imugan, Santa Fe (Nueva Vizcaya)-San Nicolas (Pangasinan) road project as contributors to the heavy siltation.