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.