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A total of 288 hectares is committed by the 18 scale up barangays for the implementation of its agroforestry initiative under the Second Cordillera Highland Agricultural Resource Management (CHARM2) Scaling Up Project. These areas are either located within a micro-watershed and/or ancestral land shall be planted with various fruit-bearing species such as Arabica coffee, citrus, rambutan, and lansones as identified by the project beneficiaries.
To formalize agreements made for the agroforestry implementation in the covered-rural indigenous communities, a comprehensive site development covenant (CSDC) will be signed between and among the concerned key players of the Project, local government units, and agroforestry peoples’ organization (PO). The CSDC, also known as environmental green covenant, will secure the agroforestry PO’s commitment and collective responsibility “to promote a harmonious working relationship for the restoration of the communal watershed/ancestral land” through agroforestry in their respective areas. 
A three-day planning and assessment workshop then from Feb. 7-9, 2018 is being conducted by the Project through the Agroforestry Watershed Management (AFWM) component to review and finalize documents attached for the CSDC. These documents include geo-tagged documentation per agro-plots, final list of agro-farmers field school students with their corresponding committed areas, duly signed work and financial plans, PO requirements, and resolutions from the PO beneficiary adopting the approved financial policies and stating non-inclusion of declared agroforestry plots in any government-funded greening projects. The workshop also served as venue for the participants to review and finalize their on-hand data for consistency and proper documentation purposes. The finalized data will serve as the Project’s baseline data for monitoring and evaluation.
Project Manager Cameron Odsey, in his message, urged the participants to stay committed and anchored in what the project actually aims to achieve for its beneficiaries in the scale up barangays.
Moreover, issues and concerns in agroforestry implementation as well as review of agreements on post-harvest outputs and provincial nursery equipping status will be tackled during the action planning on Feb. 9. to ensure the on-track and smooth implementation of the agroforestry projects with their desired goal of promoting watershed rehabilitation and improvement of the communities’ socio-economic wellbeing through the promotion of agroforestry.
According to AFWM component Coordinator J.R. Balag-ey Claver, the CSDC is a pre - requisite in the obligation of fund assistance for the actual implementation of agroforestry by the PO beneficiaries based on their approved work and financial plans. Actual implementation of the said project will commence by March – April 2018.//CHARMP IKMU - JBAgrifino

Farmer students of the agroforestry farmer field school (Agro-FFS) in Barangay Pappa, Sablan, Benguet completed their hands-on training on nursery establishment while some officers of peoples’ organizations (POs) get their first coaching on basic bookkeeping on February 6.

Pappa, Sablan Agro-FFS students trained on Nursery Establishment

 

Jerome Calado, Agro-FFS facilitator and Agricultural Technician in Sablan, introduced some practical lessons on preparing soil medium and potting seedlings for fruit tree nursery as part of the final lesson of the farmer trainees. In his discussion, he emphasized the use of locally available and appropriate materials best suited for their seedling and the climate. He demonstrated how to properly prepare the soil medium using soil, rice hull, and compost where students actively took part on the hands-on training.

 

 

Mr. Calado also taught the students on the proper potting of seedlings to ensure higher chances of plant survival.

Apart from their main lessons, the students also took the opportunity to ask other farm-related questions. Farmer students enjoy this learning set-up since they learn by doing and seeing the results in their everyday farm activities.

The Pappa Indigenous Agroforestry Farmers Association (PIAFA) is composed of 20 males and 10 females.  Their Agro-FFS is a season-long training under the CHARM2 Scaling Up Project that serves as a preparatory learning program for the agroforestry POs before they actually implement their agroforestry project in the community. The PIAFA group started to have their Agro-FFS since July of 2017.

Mr. Alex Porque, PIAFA Chairman said they are learning a lot from the Agro-FFS like technologies on pruning, grafting and others which they don’t usually do in their farms before. He shared that he started farming since childhood and they are only taught to farm the traditional way. With the new technologies and techniques taught to them through the Agro-FFS, they are able to level up their farming skills which they can use not only for the agroforestry project but even in their own farms. Some of their wrong farm practices were corrected during the training, Porque said.

After the training, Mr. Marcelo Bestre, one of the members of PIAFA and at the same time the barangay secretary plans to develop his vacant lot into a productive rambutan farm which is an investment for the future of his children. Mr. Marcelo said he is 60 years old and a farmer since he was 16.

Ms. Rita Calado, the oldest student in the group at 71, walks an hour from her house at Sitio Taya just to attend the Agro-FFS session which is scheduled usually during Tuesdays or on days where they are available. She said that although she is old, she still wants to learn and apply those knowledge best suited on her farm.

Under the Agro-FFS, students can also request special topics to aid them in their daily farm activities. Mr. Calado started to solicit requested topics of the students since they are already almost done with their main topics for Agro-FFS. They will be discussing the special topics while waiting for their agroforestry project to start.

 

 

 

PO officers coached on basic bookkeeping

Simultaneous with the Agro-FFS session, treasurers, bookkeepers and chairpersons of all CHARMP2 Scale Up POs had their first coaching on basic bookkeeping.

Ms. Cynthia Backian, Project Planning Development Officer (PPDO) facilitated the activity. She said that the coaching aims to equip the concerned officers on the proper recording and management of their financial transactions.

She said that the coaching will be conducted from time to time to ensure that financial records of the POs are on track and well accomplished. //CBOrcales