Raquion Ababa, 58 years old, is an upland farmer in Polangui, Albay who took a gamble by planting rice despite of the onslaught of El Niño during the first quarter of the year. When Mr. Ababa learned that there is enough water stored in the Small Farm Reservoir (SFR) established by the Bicol Agri-Water Project (BAWP) to irrigate his land, he decided to till his half hectare parcel of rice farm. Despite other farmers’ discouragement, Mr. Ababa carefully established rice seedbeds. He patiently cared for and transplanted his seedlings and irrigated his farm using the stored water from the nearby SFR.
In April 2016, Bicol experienced drought throughout the region that greatly affected the planting of local rice farmers for the wet season. This phenomenon greatly affected the yield of rice, being one of the country’s primary crops, as it is vulnerable to extreme weather and changes in rainfall.
But farmers who have the access to the shallow tube wells (STW) installed by BAWP in Camarines Sur took risks and planted their crops to survive.
The installed STW in Barangay Iraya in Buhi, Camarines Sur irrigated 15.5 hectares of rice field for the benefit of 12 farmers. Similarly, the STWs in Barangays San Esteban and San Roque in Nabua, Camarines Sur, irrigated 6.5 hectares with eight beneficiaries and 5.45 hectares with 16 beneficiaries, respectively.
Jona F. Camacho, 42, treaded the muddy trail leading to her makeshift house where her three children happily greeted her, kissed her hands then scrambled over the green mangoes which she bought for snacks. Camacho knew it won’t suffice, but for now that’s all she can afford from what was left in her wallet after attending the Business Planning Workshop and Coaching, sponsored by the Philippine Rural Development Project (PRDP) in Virac, Catanduanes.
Camacho, president of the Sustainable Livelihood Program Association (SLPA) in Brgy. Kilikilihan, San Miguel, Catanduanes, was one of the abaca farmer-leaders invited to attend the said activity to help abaca and mangrove crab farmers like her who were heavily devastated by typhoon Nina on December 25, 2016. Like other attendees who joined the business planning workshop, Camacho was hopeful that PRDP would save them from looming poverty once the abaca supply in the province are depleted.
“Kapag naputol na po ang mga abaca, matagal pa bago yun tumubo ulit. Ngayon, meron pa kasi inuuna nga yung mga putol kaya nakakakuha pa kami pero pag nawala na yun… Sa next year ngani hindi namin alam kung saan kami kukuha ng kabuhayan kasi yun lang ang pinagkukuhanan namin ng hanap-buhay (It takes time to revive damaged abaca trees. Now, we still harvest the truncated abaca trees but we’ll have no more left once we have exhausted them. We are uncertain about our source of income next year because it’s our only means of livelihood here),” she said.
PRDP offered to provide funds amounting to about P55 million originally committed by Department of Agriculture Secretary Emmanuel F. Piñol for the rehabilitation of abaca in Catanduanes. Known as the “abaca county,” Catanduanes is the country’s biggest abaca-producing province with a total of 11 municipalities and 212 barangays engaged in abaca production. The province contributes around 92.3 percent of Bicol’s abaca production, with the highest reported productivity of 600 kilograms per hectare. PRDP’s Abaca Value Chain Analysis shows that as of December 2013, about 12,734 farmers cultivate an abaca production area of 33,051.25 hectares.
February 27, 2017
For some time now, the Philippine coral reefs have been deteriorating due to poor land-use practices, rapid coastal development, overfishing and other destructive techniques such as dynamite and cyanide fishing. To resolve this marine biodiversity issue, government agencies have partnered and established Marine Protected Areas (MPAs) that would help regain the growth of the corals and increase the number of fishes.
The Department of Agriculture (DA) and the Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources (BFAR) have pre-identified target areas for the Global Environment Facility (GEF) sites of the Philippine Rural Development Project (PRDP).
To date, there are five on-going GEF sites in the Bicol Region coming from the Municipality of Magallanes, Bulan, Pilar and Matnog in Sorsogon and the municipality of San Fernando in Masbate. The Proponent groups(PGs) of the said municipalities together with their LGUs undergone series of trainings and consultations to come up with a proposal that would help preserve their MPAs as well as benefit the members of their community.