Mt. Hamiguitan beekeeping project taps farming expert Green Solutions to bring expertise in the industry teeming with international market potential

August 24, 2022

A beekeeping project of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) in Mt. Hamiguitan sanctuary has tapped the Green Solutions Agricultural Farming Training Center (GSAFTC) to bring beekeeping expertise in the industry teeming with international market potential.


The Mt. Hamiguitan Range Wildlife Sanctuary (MHRWS) looks forward to improved crop production for its honey enterprise in its farms in Brgys. San Isidro and General Generoso, Davao Oriental.


A Memorandum of Agreement (MOA) was signed between MHRWS Protected Area Management Board and GSAFTC to expand collaboration on trainings, marketing-promotional work, experimental, and technology -demonstration on beekeeping.


The beekeeping livelihood program is a special project called “Beekeeping as Bio-diversity-Friendly Community-Based Enterprise in MHRWS” of the DENR as part of forest conservation.


Mt. Hamiguitan is a wildlife sanctuary recognized by UNESCO (Unied Nations Educational Scientific & Cultural Organization) to have a universal value. It is home to globally threatened flora and fauna eight of which are found only Mt. Hamiguitan itself.


The beekeeping project in Mt Hamiguitan ensures the surrounding communities have a livelihood so that they do not resort to illegal forest activities around Mt. Hamiguitan.


Beekeeping is also known to have the very important “pollinating” function in the ecosystem, enhancing environmental balance. It contributes to rapid generation of forest reserves.


The government sees a good market potential for beekeeping products (pollen, propolis, beeswax, and value added products including honey wine, honey and propolis-based soap, massage oil, shampoo, and ointment). The Philippines even imports honey. Local producers may be able to fill that import volume.

Beekeeping at Mt. Hamiguitan

With a more dependable livelihood and income, residents of the buffer zone of Mt. Hamiguitan Range Wildlife Sanctuary (MHRWS) are turning to become strong forest guards who help conserve forests and biodiversity of the protected site.


People’s Organization to be benefited by the project are the Progressive Organic Farmers and Fisherfolks Towards Ecology Conservation of Talisay (PROFTECT) of San Isidro, Davao Oriental and PO Sergio Osmena Rattan Association of Serbio Osmena, Governor Generoso.


The beekeeping project has been financed under DENR’s special project fund supervised by the Foreign Assisted and Special Projects Service (FASPS).
The project already identified two potential expansion sites in Sto Rosario, San Isidro and Macambol, City of Mati.


The project was compelled to transfer the beekeeping activity to the GSAFTC site which serves as the recovery area for the propagation of the bee colonies. This is because an infestation of the small beehive beetles occurred due to the erratic whether. This caused the decline of colonies from 241 to 89.


Part of the project’s target is to come up with local policies on biodiversity friendly enterprise and sustainable honey production. As such, an ordinance for the preservation, habitat protection, and collection of bee products from the wild has been drafted together with the legislative members from municipal and barangay levels, Davao Oriental State University, Department of Agriculture, Department of Trade and Industry (DTI), and municipal tourism offices.


The DTI and Department of Science & Technology (DOST) also facilitated a training of beneficiaries on handling and packaging of bee products.

Mt. Hamiguitan

Mt. Hamiguitan is being strictly protected as it faces threats of conversion of land for agriculture. There are also mining threats outside the site.


Potential risks from climate change and increasing tourism are now being addressed by DENR.

Mt. Hamiguitan is known for its highly diverse mountain ecosystem that makes it home to a number of endemic species known only in Mindanao and particularly found only in Mt. Hamiguitan.

“The combination of terrestrial and aquatic ecosystems within the boundaries of the property and the large number of species inhabiting each makes the MHRWS home to a total of 1,380 species with 341 Philippine endemics,” according to UNESCO (United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization.

That includes critically endangered species — the iconic Philippine Eagle (Pithecophaga jefferyi). Also considered endangered are the Philippine Cockatoo (Cacatua haematuropygia), the trees Shorea polysperma, Shorea astylosa and the orchid Paphiopedilum adductum.

“Its high level of endemicity is well exemplified by the proportion of its amphibian (75% endemic) and reptile (84% endemic) species. The fragile tropical ‘bonsai’ forest that crowns the MHRWS epitomizes nature’s bid to survive in adverse conditions,” UNESCO said.

Scientists believe there may be more undiscovered unique flora and fauna in the mountain range.

“In the lower elevations the agro-ecosystem and remnants of dipterocarp forests house some 246 plant species including significant numbers of endemics such as the globally threatened dipterocarps of the genus Shorea.”

“The dipterocarp forest ecosystem is characterized by the presence of large trees and is home to 418 plant and 146 animal species, which include threatened species such as the Mindanao Bleeding-heart dove (Gallicolumba crinigera) and Philippine warty pig (Sus philippensis).” (Melody Mendoza Aguiba)

People’s organization Greener Pasture Ad Holnad produces farm-to-table tablea under JICA-funded forestry project in Hingyon, Ifugao

August 19, 2022

A people’s organization in Hingyon, Ifugao, the Greender Pasture Ad Holnad Inc. (GPAHI) is now benefitting from an agroforestry farm-to-table tablea (chocolate-cooking delicacies) enterprise that they developed under a JICA-funded forestry project.


Actual site monitoring activities in Hingyon, Ifugao was held by Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) delegates in its funded projects, particularly the Forestland Management Project (FMP) in partnership with the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR).


JICA was earlier constrained to do site monitoring by the Covid 19 pandemic for two years. After a long wait, JICA resumed its project site visits starting in the Ifugao, Cordillera Administrative Region (CAR).

FMP has enabled GPAHI to produce farm-to-table tablea using cacao from its plantations. It has also established a cacao processing facility for enterprise development.

GPAHI has been one of the successful people’s organizations (PO) supported by JICA.
From 2013, GPAHI has established and maintained a Site Development (SD) area of 200 hectares– kickstarted livelihoods such as ginger production, and established swine and chicken raising as additional sources of income.

“The PO’s vision for the future carries an intergenerational value – for the future generations to benefit from their efforts. Therefore, sustainability is integral to their strategic plans for the conservation and sustainability of our natural resources while uplifting women in their communities,” according to the DENR project “Save our Watershed.”

During the JICA site monitoring in Ifugao in June this year, the Boliwong Organization of Muyung Protectors, Inc. (BOMPI) also showcased the PO’s fruit trees intercropped with bananas which are both bearing fruits at this stage.

A line up of activities was prepared by FMP-CAR for the visit which mainly involves a turn-over ceremony of an FMP-funded access road to the local government unit of Brgy.Montabiong in the municipality of Lagawe.

A monitoring of banana plantation and enterprise development activities of a partner PO of the Lagawe subwatershed was also made.

The JICA team also and inspected the Subproject Site Management Office (SUSIMO) of the Lagawe subwatershed and Provincial Project Management Office (PPMO) of FMP Ifugao.

The main purpose of the three-day site visit is for JICA to witness first hand project gains at the field level to further support the decision of the funding agency in granting the request for project extension of an additional year or until July 2023.

Consequently, DENR’s Foreign Assisted and Special Projects Service (FASPS) led by its new director, Al Orolfo, made sure its technical assistance to the activity to affirm its support to the project in the region.

The turn-over ceremony of the Rehabilitation of the Montabiong Access Road was further graced by the Embassy of Japan contingents led by its First Secretary, Tachikawa Junpei.

Part of the ceremony’s key message of JICA representative, Hashizume Takuya, is urging “LGU officials and partner POs to take care and maintain the 4.5–kilometer infrastructure in order to ensure longer utilization of the subproject” and achieve “improved access to our critical subwatershed in order to sustain reforestation, conservation, and protection efforts”.

Further, Engr. Ralph C. Pablo, the Regional Executive Director of DENR-CAR, reminded the community people of Montabiong to “strike a balance” between socio-economic and watershed rehabilitation and conservation activities as in the end humanity cannot survive a heavily degraded environment with the emphasis that “there is no planet B”.

FMP is a 10-year project of DENR ending in 2022. It integrates conservation and development activities beneficial to local communities. Its beneficiaries are 147 People’s Organizations (POs) within 24 sub-watershed areas including those in Ifugao. The total project investment cost is estimated at P5.870 billion.

ADB commissions SEARCA for 10-year agriculture modernization plan that needs a multi-trillion budget

August 17, 2022

The Asian Development Bank (ADB) has commissioned the Southeast Asian Regional Center for Graduate Study & Research in Agriculture (SEARCA) for a 10-year plan in an aim to catapult Philippines to be a major agricultural producer, probably a farm produce exporter.

This endeavor apparently aligns with the pronouncements of President Ferdinand R. Marcos Jr. about Philippines’ pursuing food security aims, even agriculture modernization, having himself taken on the task as secretary of the Department of Agriculture (DA).

SEARCA Director Dr. Glenn B. Gregorio told a press orientation that the “National Agriculture and Fisheries Organization and Industrialization Plan” has an indicate implementation schedule for 2021 to 2030.

The press orientation was in conjuction with the lauch of the SEARCA Hub for Agriculture and Rural Innovation for the Young Generation (SHARING) Cafe.

“We have already submitted our recommendations to the Department of Agriculture (DA),” said Gregorio.

The industrialization plan has a nine-point track to carry out:

  1. Consolidated production and post harvest facilities (commodity systems-oriented
  2. Construction of critical infrastrucutre spatially integrated within agri-fisheries industrial business corridors (AFIBCs
  3. Modernized food terminal facilities and similar facilities linked to transport nodes in urban and peri-urban areas.
  4. Smart irrigation and water impoundment or retention systems serving two or more commodities
  5. Other large-scale infrastructure (waste management facilities, fish ports, ICT (Information Communication Technology) including high-speed connectivity
  6. Scaled up mechanization and adoption of other commercial scale-oriented technologies
  7. Large-scale production and distribution of biologically safe technologies including biopackaging
  8. State-of-the art R&D (research and development) facilities linked to PAFES (province-led agriculture and fisheries extension systems) networks
  9. Development of agri-fishery enterprises and business incubation initiatives linked to large investors.


Gregorio said the 10-year industrialization plan requires a budget of P5.03 trillion.

“The budget should come from the public sector, P2.5 trillion, while the other P2.5 trillion will come from the private sector,” he said.

SEARCA itself has launched its own programs inspiring investments in the knowledge economy which taps on the economy’s intellectual resources in order to generate wealth.

For one, the SHARING Cafe provides for creative learning experience that can lead the young generation to contribute to farm industrialization.


SEARCA conducts sessions on Lego education robotics at its SHARING Cafe

“The SHARING Café is an interactive component of the SHARING innovation spaces, which aims to provide a creative learning experience geared towards Agriculture 4.0 in Southeast Asia,” said SEARCA.

“The SHARING Café will be an innovative venue for ‘play-to-learn’ activities for guests and fun learning modules for K-12 students in the beginner, intermediate, and advanced levels.” (Melody Mendoza Aguiba)

JICA graced turnover of access road and banana plantation project in Brgy. Montabiong, Lagawe, Ifugao

August 16, 2022

The Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) has graced the turnover of an access road and a banana plantaiton and development enterprise project in Brgy. Montabiong, Lagawe in Ifugao Province showing significant gains in its funded Forestland Management Project (FMP).

Actual site monitoring activities by JICA to its funded projects such as the Forestland Management Project (FMP) was constrained by the Covid 19 pandemic for two (2) years. After a long wait, JICA resumed its project site visits starting in the Ifugao, Cordillera Administrative Region (CAR) on June 13, 2022.

The Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) has led the project implementation of FMP.

The access road plays an important role in the socio-economic progress of the town as it leads to the center of Brgy. Montabiong. It also serves as a farm-to-market road.
Beneficiary and partner of the banana enterprise and road are peoples organizations (POs) of the Lagawe subwatershed.

JICA also had an inspection of the Subproject Site Management Office (SUSIMO) of the Lagawe subwatershed and Provincial Project Management Office (PPMO) of FMP Ifugao.

The main purpose of the three-day site visit is for JICA to witness first hand project gains at the field level to further support the decision of the funding agency in granting the request for project extension of an additional year or until July 2023.


Consequently, DENR’s Foreign Assisted and Special Projects Service (FASPS) led by its new director, Al Orolfo, made sure its technical assistance to the activity to affirm its support to the project in the region.

The turn-over ceremony of the Rehabilitation of the Montabiong access road was further graced by the Embassy of Japan contingents led by its First Secretary, Tachikawa Junpei.

Part of the ceremony’s key message of JICA representative, Hashizume Takuya, is urging “LGU officials and partner POs to take care and maintain the 4.5 km infrastructure in order to ensure longer utilization of the subproject” and achieve “improved access to our criticalsubwatershed in order to sustain reforestation, conservation, and protection efforts”.

Further, Engr. Ralph C. Pablo, the regional executive director of DENR-CAR, reminded the community people of Montabiong to “strike a balance” between socio-economic and watershed rehabilitation and conservation activities as in the end humanity cannot survive a heavily degraded environment with the emphasis that “there is no planet B”.

The subsequent activities focused on visiting the PO office and tree and agroforestry plantations of the Greener Pasture Ad Holnad, Inc. (GPAHI), specifically beholding how agroforestry farm-to-table tablea are made possible by the organization through its cacao plantations all the way to its established enterprise development cacao processing facility.


A PO member Mr. Stewart of BOMPI shows the JICA Visit team their agroforestry plantation intercropped with banana crops

The Boliwong Organization of Muyung Protectors, Inc. (BOMPI) on the other hand, showcased to the honored guests the PO’s fruit trees intercropped with bananas which are both bearing fruits at this stage.

Inspection of project offices and interviews with project staff gave JICA a glimpse on how day-to-day operations are made by the DENR to pursue project activities albeit now in a more fast-paced manner in view of tight project implementation timeline.

From these, issues and concerns were discussed and recommendations by the site visit team were formulated to overcome them.

Undoubtedly, the lessons learned gained from the visit such as PO field practices on project implementation, their networking and linkaging efforts and most of all their enduring visions for their communities and the environment highlighted the event. Takuya, as part of his concluding field impressions, cannot help but convey his congratulations for the exemplified humble but growing successes of the project in the region.

Pablo is pleased that CAR has been selected as JICA’s postpandemic pilot area for its project site visits which is also in time for FMP’s 10th year of implementation.

With the naturally long-term nature of forestry projects and with the promising results seen on the ground, the region hopes to have provide appropriate impetus for the funding agency, JICA, to affirm the request for project extension soon. – Ara Gendrano (PEO, FMP CAR).

Bayer Philippines empowers 100 women as Community Champion Farmers along with training 1,500 women on Family Planning in its Bayer Kubo, Manaoag, Pangasinan

August 11, 2022


The pandemic lockdowns have disrupted farming communities and stretched out rural healthcare networks with farmers still struggling to recover and boost productivity. To support the agricultural community, global life sciences firm Bayer Philippines Inc. is launching a pilot Bayer Kubo in Manaoag, Pangasinan with the Asia Society for Social Improvement and Sustainable Transformation (ASSIST) to run capability and capacity building programs combining health and agriculture by tackling family planning, self-care and nutrition, as well as agri-oriented financial management and best practices.

The program will be piloted in Brgy. Cabanbanan in Manaoag, supporting the community of smallholder farmers surrounding the Bayer Learning Center located in the area.

The Bayer Learning Center is a venue for farmers in the community where they can learn best practices and see the latest solutions available for vegetable production. With the Bayer Kubo program in place, women farmers and farmers’ wives can get expert-led training on family planning, farmer self-care, and basic farm financial management.

“This Bayer Kubo is where Bayer in the Philippines is bringing together our three divisions: Consumer Health, Pharmaceuticals, and Crop Science under one program to support our farmers,” says Angel Michael Evangelista, Managing Director and Country Division Head – Pharmaceuticals for Bayer Philippines Inc.

“With the growing role of women in Philippine agriculture, who face competing demands to care for their families while ensuring they contribute to farm work and productivity, we aim to support women farmers and farmers’ wives’ through health, wellness, and sustainable agricultural practices –contributing to Bayer’s vision of ‘Health for all, Hunger for none'”

Through the pilot program, Bayer Philippines and ASSIST aim to empower over 100 women farmers as Community Champions that will ensure continued knowledge sharing and capacity building to train additional 1,500 community members on the best practices of family planning, farmer self-care, and

Smallholder Farmer Support

“As ASSIST moves forward in this partnership with Bayer Philippines, we will remain committed increating more capacity-building opportunities that fit the needs of the women farming communities in Manaoag, Pangasinan. We acknowledge that other farming communities would greatly benefit from our intervention. As such, we hope to replicate the Bayer Kubo program in other farming communities and locations in the Philippines,” said Francis Macatulad, executive director of ASSIST.

The Bayer Kubo is Bayer Philippines’ local corporate social engagement (CSE) program that started out by encouraging and supporting communities to grow their own produce while encouraging an integrated, holistic approach to growing nutritional food using responsible agricultural practices.

To date, Bayer Philippines has established three Bayer Kubo across different communities: in Ususan, Taguig; in Calauan, Laguna; and in Payatas, Quezon City in partnership with NGOs such as Rise Against Hunger and AGREA.

About ASSIST

Asia Society for Social Improvement and Sustainable Transformation (ASSIST) is an international non-government organization focused on capacity building. It seeks to promote sustainable practices to address social problems in the developing world, particularly in Asia and Africa.

ASSIST takes pride in its process-oriented approach to capacity building towards social improvement and sustainable transformation. Its goal is to empower its target groups to make them resilient to the social, economic and environmental challenges.

Presently based in Makati City, Philippines, ASSIST also has operations in India, Vietnam, Cambodia and Kenya.

Through its Partner to Progress philosophy, it has successfully implemented such projects in collaboration with the European Union, United Nation Environment Program (UNEP), United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO), USAID, International Finance Corporation (IFC), GIZ, and DEG/KFW amongst other organizations.

Bayer Philippines launches Bayer Kubo Learning Center in Manaoag, Pangasinan (L-R) Iiinas Ivan Lao, Country Commercial Lead, Bayer Crop Science Philippines; Angel Michael Evangelista, Managing Director and Country Division Head – Pharmaceuticals, Bayer Philippines, Inc.; Francis Macatulad, Executive Director, ASSIST; Franz Raña, Social Actions Manager, ASSIST. (Photo: Nadira Abubakar)