Enriching Nature, Empowering Lives
Typically representing the critical problems and issues commonly experienced in the uplands of the country: land degradation due to unsustainable management practices. The land was left idle and without any vegetation. As expected, soil erosion is widespread contributing to siltation of reservoir of the SWIP and therefore, reduces its storage capacity and life span. This has negative impacts on the people who depend on SWIP for irrigation. Consequently, urgent measures need to be done to address this problem.
The project site is within the watershed of Sto. Niño Small Water Impounding Project (SWIP) located at Brgy. Sto. Niño, Talibon, Bohol, about 11 kilometers from the town proper.
As a strategy in identifying priority needs of the farmers in the area, the team conducted a series of consultation meetings. The emphasis was given on the current and potential livelihood opportunities in the area making use of available agricultural resources.
Empowerment and capacity development of the local people were achieved through the conduct of trainings on soil and water conservation technologies, soil fertility enhancement and agri-based livelihood opportunities.
After the conservation techniques were conveyed to the people, the team had a workshop on livelihood activities such as processing of locally grown crops such as santol, kamias, ube, malunggay, banana, cassava, mango, peanut, coconut and pineapple into food products, wine and vinegar. Some of the products such as peanut butter, banana chips and banana catsup are now commercially produced by the local people.
Food processing encouraged crops and product diversification thus, providing value-added benefits to crop production. These crops were integrated in the crop diversification scheme either as alley or hedgerow.
Regular consultations were done to assess the impact of the project’s activities, livelihood trainings, and formulation of action plan to further improve farm productivity and income. This ensures sustainability of natural resources for the present and future generations.
Water supply in Sitio Parungao, Brgy. Sapang Bulak, Dońa Remedios Trinidad, Bulacan is very scarce resulting to low agricultural production. It has a rugged topography with rainfall from May to October only. This has been the story for the whole year, every year.
The cycle stopped after a team chose Sitio Parungao as beneficiary site.
The project began. A water storage and distribution left was constructed to improve the production system and income of the farmers. Potential water sources in the area were identified and the water resources development plan was implemented through cost-sharing with the farmer cooperators. The water system which consists of concrete weirs, concrete tanks and distribution pipes is being used for irrigation of diversified crops as well as for domestic purposes. This provided immense benefits not only to the farmers but to the entire community.
The availability of water supply allowed the establishment of fruit trees, mahogany and pineapple as vegetative barriers for soil and water conservation.
Contour farming was introduced in the techno-demo sites. Likewise, cropping patterns were improved and farmers are now able to plant high-value commercial crops such as carrots and cabbage.
Community empowerment through capacity building increased the appreciation and awareness of the local community on introduced technologies. Livelihood trainings were conducted for women, mostly farmer’s wives, on mushroom production and food processing. Farmers were also given values formation and leadership training, which equipped them with the right attitude to ensure the sustainability of the project.
Other activities that were made possible due to increased water availability in the area include establishment of nursery, organic farming technology and seed propagation technology. Project concluded.
Status: Another successful endeavor
The Sta. Maria, Ilocos Sur project site is situated at the eastern watershed part of the locality. It lies in the downstream area of a river system. The temporal variability and scarcity of rainfall is a natural constraint to livelihood improvement. The area is dominantly an agricultural zone. But due to lack of efficient irrigation system, only one cropping of rice per year is possible. Vegetables and corn are usually planted after rice cropping to avoid the lands to be left idle or the farms are left fallowed for the rest of the year.
The community has the farmers and a school that promotes common agricultural patterns. But still, the site can not function productively. The project addressed the need to increase productivity and provide economic opportunities. The Ilocos Sur Polytechnic State College (ISPSC) was selected as the key institution that served as the outdoor laboratory.
A small farm reservoir inside the ISPSC campus was reconstructed. This served as the irrigation source for the site’s production area for pigeon pea and sweet sorghum, and consequently, the project’s techno-demo area. An agro-meteorological station was also established inside the school to provide relevant data for the development of suitable cropping patterns, reference for agricultural research studies and regional analysis, and for instructional purposes for the students. Likewise, a biogas generator was successfully installed inside the school campus. The technology created awareness among the students in the utilization of agricultural wastes as potential sources of energy and organic fertilizers. Collaborative endeavors with the school opened the eyes of the farmers, students and the community on the project benefits.
The site slowly crept back to be an ideal agricultural land.
Livelihood trainings were conducted to increase farmers’ financial capacities as well as education programs for the technical know-how on soil and water conservation technologies. These trainings included farm waste recycling, composting, mushroom cultivation and mushroom spawn production, tomato processing and vinegar making, among others.
In an attempt to reach out to nearby communities, the Danuman diversion dam and canals was rehabilitated. The existing water pump was reconditioned, and a pump house was constructed.
This irrigation system has benefited 30 farmers with service area of 50 hectares. It is hoped that the project will serve as a catalyst in achieving progress in the community.
Located in San Clemente, Tarlac, the Casipo micro-watershed is about 3.5 kilometers south of the town proper. It has an area of more than 90 hectares which are considered as arable lands. Most of the farmers are members of the Federation of Free Farmers (FFF) and San Clemente Farmers Cooperative Marketing (FACOMA). The existence of FFF and FACOMA for more than 50 years is the major reason for selecting Casipo as project site.
The watershed condition is marginal in terms of its physical attributes and absence of support facilities. The topography is gently rolling, dominantly covered with grasses with patches of trees and is characterized by shallow soils, moderately eroded and low soil fertility. Moreover, the area has rainfall for less than 6 months in a year and oftentimes experienced prolong dry spell. All these manifest the constraints of the area for crop productivity.
Cognizant of the vital role of sustained supply of water source for crop cultivation, the community listed the rehabilitation and construction of new Small Farm Reservoirs (SFR) as priority development objective. Thus, through a Memorandum of Agreement (MOA) between the BSWM and the FACOMA which is the project cooperator, the establishment of new three (3) units and rehabilitation of two (2) existing SFRs were realized. Also established as support facilities are: 1) 8m x 5m bunkhouse that served as storage room for crop inputs and farmers’ meeting place; 2) 4m x 5m nursery that was utilized by the community for seed propagation as source of livelihood; and 3) perimeter fence covering more than 400m of the techno-demo area.
The MOA signed between the BSWM and FACOMA stipulated the commitment of both parties to implement the needed infrastructure and support facilities. The FACOMA willingly shared more than 40% of the total cost consisting of labor and local materials. Equipments were provided by the municipal government unit.
The availability of water from the SFR coupled with soil and water conservation technologies demonstrated in the area enabled both the upland and lowland farmers to cultivate a second crop. The use of plastic mulch to conserve moisture during the dry season and to keep the weeds out during the wet season was demonstrated through the cultivation of ampalaya. This practice reduced the use of chemical weedicide and promoted efficient use of soil moisture while ensuring high production and farm income.
In the downstream part of the watershed where lowland rainfed rice is being practiced, SFR provided supplemental irrigation during the dry season while ensuring supply during the wet season. This allowed the second cropping of rice with relatively good yield.
The bunkhouse served as venue for capacity building of the community to introduce livelihood opportunities particularly for women. Livelihood trainings were focused on simple yet profitable enterprise that would effectively utilize available local materials with market potential.
The demonstration of interventions and technologies in the area attracted the adjacent communities to adopt the development activities. One of the communities that signified their intention was the Gawad Kalinga (GK) 3 located about 1.5 km upstream. As an outreach community, the GK 3 community was provided technical support in terms of development plan preparation, hands-on training on contour establishments and livelihood trainings. About 100 pieces of planting materials were also provided through the DA-RFU III.
It can be emphasized then that through this project and with the sincere commitment of the community, the previously idle land was transformed into a productive land and a source of agri-based livelihood.
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