Think Tank SEARCA is pushing for replication of 9 successful agroforestry cooperatives including the notable reforestation in Imbayao, Mt. Kitanglad, Bukidnon which is now under review for key profit sharing models.
The profit sharing models of 9 agroforestry cooperatives including one found over the 47,270 hectare Mt. Kitanglad Natural Park (MKNP) in Malaybalay City is being documented by think tank Southeast Asian Regional Center for Graduate Study & Research in Agriculture (SEARCA).
It is part of an aim to replicate the success models of these job-generating, export-earning forest farms all over Southeast Asia, according to SEARCA.
The 9 agroforestry cooperatives hold a Community Based Forest Management (CBFM) contract with the Department of Environment and Natural Resources.
CBFM is government’s instrument and strategy for sustainable forest management amid heavy denudation that decimated forest cover down to less than 24% from the original area in the 1900s.
For one, Mt. Kitanglad in Bukidnon, a declared protected area, suffered from a forest fire in 1983.
Fortunately, the Imbayao CBFM-People’s Organization (PO) in Mt. Imbayao, the most extensive lowland area in Mt. Kitanglad, has been instrumental in its agro-forestry development.
SEARCA is also looking into the benefit sharing models of (in Luzon) Tao Kalikasan Foundation of the Phils, Labo, Camarines Norte; LBN Multi-Purpose Cooperative (MPC) Vintar, Ilocos Norte; and Caunayan MPC, Pagudpud, Ilocos Norte.
In Visayas, SEARCA has identified the Nalundan United Farmers Association, Inc., (NUFA) Bindoy, Negros Oriental and Katilingban sang Pumuluyo nga naga-Atipan sang Watershed sa Maasin (KAPAWA), Maasin, Iloilo.
The rest in Mindanao are San Isidro Upland Farmers MPC (SIUFMUCO) Santiago, Agusan del Norte; Limatong Dalumangkom Bual Farmers Multipurpose Association, Pigcawayan, North Cotabato; Malakiba People’s Improvement MPC (MPI-MPC), Davao City.
SEARCA’s benefit-sharing study is funded by the ASEAN Working Group on Social Forestry.
It will come up with policy recommendations for DENR as it reviews CBFM’s aim on socioeconomic benefits to community (jobs, project profits, skills training, strengthening of social networks).
Ecological, biodiversity use
The agroforestry cooperatives play a significant role in ecological functions and biodiversity enrichment in the forests.
For one, the Mt. Kitanglad Natural Park (MKNP) plays a critical role in water supply as its watershed is the most important source of water in Bukidnon and and Misamis Oriental.
. It is home to bird species found only in higher mountains in Mindanao including the Mindanao Lorikeet, Mindanao Racquet-tail, Mindanao Scops-owl, Slaty-backed Jungle-flycatcher, Red-eared Parrotfinch and Apo Myna.
It is a habitat for a rich biodiversity, making it a birdwatching site. It is home to endemic but threatened bird species in Mindanao and Eastern Visayas—the endemic Philippine eagle included.
These are among Imbayao CBFM’s best practices:
· Use of organic fertilizers and natural pest control
· Establishment of the Mt. Kitanglad Agri-Ecological Techno-Demo Center (MKAETDC) with co-owner Benjamin Maputi– visited by some 200 farmers monthly, training them on sustainable practices that raised the CBFM’s productivity by 50%( sustainable upland farming, diversified agriculture, agroforestry, goat- and sheep-raising, and abaca production)
· Contour farming, preventing soil erosion, preserving soil nutrients—preventing farmers from clearing other forest lands areas as soil stays productive
· Crops diversification, high value crops plantation
· Multiple livelihood sources– . fuelwood collection, cattle grazing, extraction of cinnamon bark, fishing, pilgrim service centers
· Ecotourism which generates P30,000 yearly from visitors that enjoy hiking and birdwatching and motivate the community to preserve the environment
· Continuous fund raising from government and international agencies for livelihood programs including one from World Bank that encouraged local government officials to support the project
· Consultation with local officials which obtains their support
· Support for the deployment of the Kitanglad Guard Volunteers (KGV) who watch over illegal forest activities over the 47,200 hectare MKNP.
SEARCA’s documentation tools include key informant interview guide, guide questions for focus group discussion, video recording, and primer on benefit-sharing. Field documentation was already conducted in the two Visayas sites and the Davao City site.
The output of the SEARCA-ASRF project will be presented in a national workshop to further draw inputs from CBFM leaders, coordinators, and stakeholders, civil society organizations, non-government organizations, and the academe.
Tao Kalikasan, Caunayan, LBN
The Tao Kalikasan Forest Rehabilitation Project supplies seedlings of indigenous forest tree species and fruit trees to the forest plantation in Labo, Camarines Norte. It has its own nursery. It sells abaca fiber and other forest products like rags, eco-bags, and storage baskets, twine, and bakbak.
The Caunayan MPC (CMPC) operates in Caunayan, Pagudpud Ilocos Norte which forms part of a coconut plantation that will be the site of a future biodiesel plant that will source coconut from the area. The coconut methyl ester (CME) source is part of a huge 600,000 plantation are in Ilocos NOrte.
CMPC has so far been successful in developing 25 hectares of agroforestry farm.
The LBN MPC has a 448 hectare fuelwood production area in Vintar, Ilocos Norte,
In Visayas, the Katilingban sang Pumuluyo nga naga-Atipan sang Watershed sa Maasin (KAPAWA) in Maasin, Iloilo produces abaca, coffee, organic vegetables, and woven bamboo products from a 35 hectare CBFM.
These are marketed through the Tinukib Pasalubong Center, a known souvenir shop in the Visayas region.
The Nalundan United Farmers Assn. is also an abaca agro-forestry area in Bindoy, Negros Oriental
In Mindanao, the San Isidro Upland Farmers MPC (SIUFMULCO) is a producer of abaca and abaca products in Agusan del NOrte.
SIUFMULCO has a fast membership growth with more than 600 abaca farmers. It runs 5 abaca production clusters in Agusan del Norte –Santiago, Nasipit, RTR, Kitcharao and Cabadbaran City.
It has been supported by the government and the International Food and Agriculture Development through projects such as funding for provision of planting materials, organic fertilizer, nursery and stripping machines.
It has put up post harvest and processing facilities.
The Limatong Dalumangkom Bual Farmers Association (LDBFA) in Pigcawayan, North Cotabato is engaged in fuelwood (charcoal) production which has become in demand due to the prohibitive cost of petroleum based fuel.
It is part of DENR’s project for growing fuelwood species in Region 12 including ipil-ipil (Leucaena glauca) and kakawate or madre de cacao (Gliricidia sepium).
The LDBFA has a CBFM deal covering 810 hectares now planted on rubber, cacao, abaca, coffee, mahogany, narra in Brgy. Kimarayag; Pigcawayan. It has 150 beneficiaries.
The Malakiba Peoples Improvement Cooperative (MAPICO) markets farm products such as Tangan-Tangan, peanuts, corn, cacao, coffee, and banana (latundan, binangay, and cardava) out of the produce of its CBFM in Davao City. It also runs a canteen and consumer store.
It also raises livestock –goat, carabao, and swine. It produces and sells seedlings– cacao, rubber, lawaan.
Its wood production are turned into furniture. It had total asset of P4.434 million as of 2012. It has 150 members. It has 176 hectares of area planted to abaca, cacao, fruit trees, and timber in Bantol, Marilog, Davao City. (Growth Publishing for SEARCA)