CITY OF NAGA, Bicol Region – Officials of Department of Agrarian Reform (DAR) and supporting agency partners met Tuesday, May 31, at a hotel in Naga City to tackle challenges brought by the destructive effects of climate change, already destroying the country’s agriculture sector.
Scientific reports show that countries around the world including Philippines are now experiencing intense droughts, rising sea levels and temperatures, more destructive storms and floods, and other catastrophic effects.
“Climate change is not of our making,” said Camarines Sur II Agrarian Reform chief Maria Gracia R. Sales. “It is the result of global warming that came from the progressive and highly industrialized countries.”
She added: “But, we face its consequences here in our localities today. We see it in the risks of our farmers who are the most exposed to the abnormal changes in weather patterns, and the intensity of natural disasters.”
“That is why the outcome in this meeting so important.”
Citing climate change as “a huge challenge,” Sales said it was “very important for every one of us to be firmly committed to the right direction of building a good agency relations,” including by “partnering with each other to help this climate conference deliver its expected targets.”
Already, a series of discussions have been done earlier but a new optimism that a successful partnership and coordinated efforts could be closer at hand than ever before which is needed to avert the worst effects of climate change, despite significant obstacles seen in the days ahead.
DAR has made the first move and demonstrated “a strong desire” to take action on climate change that’s why we convened this important gathering, Sales said.
She urged her counterparts to join the government in seeking out solutions to the climate change problem. “We must work hand in hand and accept our responsibilities to do something about it.”
Garchitorena pilot project
According to Sales, “climate change proofing” will be piloted in Sisiran agrarian reform community (ARC) in Garchitorena, Camarines Sur specifically in barangays Pambuhan, Canlong and Toytoy, with DAR allocated an initial amount of P1 million pesos to begin working out the urgency of the task.
The Sisiran ARC, which is facing the Pacific Ocean, is always at risk to typhoons during the months of September to December, and drought on April. Substantial damage to agriculture, the predominant source of living of the community, is usually experienced due to the absence of suitable crop ground covers.
During the meeting, the group has pledged to invest heavily in DAR-initiated project “Carbon Farming Methods“ but will focus also on greening the landscape of the community through mangrove, coconut, and tree plantings pooling the support of the farmers and residents.
Carbon farming involves the setting up of a holistic and combined crops or livestock production approaches that are resistant to drought, excessive rains, or other climate disturbances.
The project include replanting of coconut trees, planting of stress-resistant rice and corn varieties, growing of multi-layered crops such as banana, taro (gabi), betel leaf (buyo), and selected high-value cash crops, as well as integration of rotational grazing techniques for goats and native chicken for optimum use of soil and ground space.
It is hoped that the pledge, along with other government agencies, including the local government unit of Garchitorena, to double their efforts and fund allocations will help farmers in making a transition to a proper farming innovations that is resilient to environmental changes.
Sales said, the meeting was an essential part of the prelude to the signing of a memorandum of understanding (MOU). Harmonized agreements must be approved by the partner agencies in order to be legally binding.
Around 20 participants comprising officials and representatives from different government agencies such as Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR), Department of Science and Technology (DOST), Department of Agriculture (DA), Philippine Coconut Authority (PCA), Philippine Rice Research Institute (PhilRice), Fiber Industry Development Authority (FIDA), and local government unit of Garchitorena including involved personnel from DAR-Program Beneficiaries Development Division (PBDD) participated in the convergence conference. [BicolToday.com]