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The Asian Development Bank (ADB) is currently working with the International Centre for Environmental Management (ICEM) and the World Agroforestry (ICRAF) to implement the project entitled, TA-6539 REG: “Investing in Climate Change Adaptation through Agroecological Landscape Restoration: A Nature-based Approach to Building Climate Resilience in Cambodia and Philippines”. The Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) has designated the River Basin Control Office (RBCO) as the primary government partner to provide institutional and technical guidance and serve as a coordinating unit to facilitate inter-agency consultations. 

The team of experts from the Philippines met with DENR-RBCO Executive Director Nelson V. Gorospe to introduce the project and provide updates

The project aims to assist ADB’s member countries in developing and implementing climate change adaptation solutions through agroecological landscape restoration and strengthen the capacity of communities to restore and manage their climate-resilient landscapes for food and nutrition security through agroecology.

Last 2-5 April 2022, the ADB Team conducted a Field Mission to the Manupali Watershed which was selected as the focal site of the project. Manupali Watershed is a headwater of the Mindanao River Basin situated at the foot of Mount Kitanglad National Park, which hosts one of the few remaining rainforests in the Philippines. The field mission conducted site visitation of existing projects and met with potential partners in the field, such as the local government units, national government agencies, people’s organizations, and other key stakeholders.

The first day of the activity focused on interviews with local farmers in the area to gather relevant information on farming issues and concerns.

Site visit to Mr. Leo Zambrano’s Coffee Farm (Photo credit: ICRAF)
Site visit to Mr. Randy Ricacho’s Agroforestry Farm (Photo credit: ICRAF)

On the second day, the team visited Binahon Agroforestry Farm (BAFF) in Sungco, Lantapan, Bukidnon owned by Mr. Henry Binahon where he shared the history and success stories of the farm including strategies in effective farming. The farm contains fruit-bearing trees (Jackfruit, Cacao, Coffee, Banana, Durian, and Guava) and vegetables (Lettuce, Beet, Carrots, Broccoli, Radish, Potato). Water management in the farm was also discussed. 

Information sharing on farming strategies within BAFF (Photo credit: ICRAF)

A transect walk in Manupali Watershed was conducted by the team as part of project site assessment. Existence of high-value crops (Potato, Carrots, Lettuce, and Cabbage) was observed in the area. Trekking to Mt. Kitanglad Buffer Zone was also undertaken to assess the existing land uses.

The photo was taken at Mt. Kitanglad Range Natural Park during the transect walk in Manupali Watershed (Photo credit: ICRAF)

The field assessment ended with a visit to Bugcaon Kulasihan Manupali Irrigators’ Association (BUKUMA-IA). The team interviewed the association’s representative to identify issues and concerns experienced by the farmers including water management strategies practiced to address water shortage. Some of the issues identified were; (1) shortage of water supply, especially during dry season, (2) illegal logging, (3) diversion of water supply for domestic uses; and (4) sedimentation of river systems. The team identified strategies to address these problems such as; (1) scheduling of water distribution; and (2) restoration/repair of irrigation systems.

On the 3rd day, the team conducted courtesy visits to the Municipal Government of Lantapan, Provincial Government of Bukidnon, DENR-PENRO Bukidnon, Bukidnon State University, and Ecosystems Research and Development Bureau- Forest and Wetland Research, Extension, and Development Center (ERDB-FWRDEC) to introduce the project and to gather support in project preparation and implementation.

Courtesy visit to Lantapan Mayor, Hon. Ernie R. Devibar to introduce the project and rally for support (Photo credit: ICRAF)
Courtesy visit to Bukidnon Provincial LGU to introduce the project and rally for support. (Photo credit: ICRAF)
Courtesy visit to PENR Officer, Vegilino P. Alima of Bukidnon to introduce the project and rally support. (Photo credit: ICRAF)

In general, all of the target stakeholders during the field mission gave positive feedback on the project and assured their support in the project implementation. (Edward Dominic V. Valencia)