AUSTRALIA SUPPORTS PROMOTION OF IMPROVED FARMING PRACTICES IN BOHOL
The Australian Government, through the Australian Centre for International Agricultural Research (ACIAR), recently signed a Memorandum of Subsidiary Arrangement with the Philippine Government to promote the adoption of improved farming practices in two upper watersheds in Bohol. Australia is extending financial assistance of about Php 15 million to the four-year project.
Australian Ambassador Tony Hely signed the project agreement with Dr. Leah Buendia of the Philippine Council for Agriculture, Forestry and Natural Resources and Development (PCARRD), Dr. Rogelio Concepcion of the Bureau of Soil and Water Management (BSWM), and Dir. Romeo Acosta of the Forest Management Bureau – Dept. of Environment and Natural Resources (FMB-DENR). Witnesses to the signing are Mr. Jesus Javier (FMB-DENR), Dr. Jocelyn Eusebio (PCARRD) and Asst. Dir. Wilfredo Cabezon (BSWM).
Soil erosion and associated loss of crop productivity and degraded water resources continue to be the most serious threats to agricultural livelihoods in upland areas of the Philippines.
An earlier project of ACIAR in Bohol identified activities that have very high adverse effects on the agricultural sustainability of the upper Inabanga (the largest watershed on Bohol), among which are: up and down cultivation on sloping lands, continuous use of nutrient-depleting crops such as corn and cassava, and extensive cultivation of steep upland soils.
The new four-year project will promote adoption of best practices for soil, water and crop management in several villages located at the Inabanga and Abatan watersheds which are in severely degraded upland areas in Bohol. The project will also focus on areas where poverty is prevalent among farmers and there is continuous use of nutrient-depleting crops like corn and cassava.