DISOP Philippines

Argao and Dalaguete River Integrated Watershed and Community Development Project

Partner:

Mag-uugmad Foundation, Inc. (MFI) Rm.41, Ted Manreza Bldg., F. Ramos St., Cebu City

Mag-uugmad Foundation, Inc. (MFI) began in 1981 as a World Neighbors Program that involved poor farmers in upland villages where soil erosion was a major problem. It supported development of soil and water conservation technologies by farmers. The program enabled farmers to extend these technologies to their neighbors through a farmer-based extension approach. In the late 80’s after it was registered by the Securities and  Exchange Commission (SEC) it started an outreach program that extended SWC technologies to farmers throughout the Philippines. Ion the 90’s, MFI helped the local people form peoples organization to access external assistance available to organizations with legal personalities. MFI also added health components to its agricultural work. This supported mostly women villagers to promote and extend vegetables and herbal gardens, reflexology, proper waste disposal and latrines. MFI has integrated gender and reproductive health concerns into all program areas.

MFI undertakes the following programs.

  • Barangay Development Planning where people are involved in the whole planning process, from research to implementation
  • Soil and Water Conservation which is focused in the introduction of simple and appropriate technology to minimize soil erosion.
  • Sustainable agriculture where farmers learn integration of livestock, trees and cash crops in the farming system.
  • Gender and Reproductive Health is focused on the issue of gender and development and education of men and women on sexuality and family planning.
  • Solid Waste Management which is focused in the development in an integrated ecological program for solid waste management with all inherent components.
  • Biodiversity Conservation which focused on the education about biodiversity and habitat rehabilitation.

MFI is acknowledged by agricultural development institutions and NGOs in the Philippines as the premier NGO that promotes and advocates the Farmer-Based Extension Approach. MFI is also listed by ICRAF (International Center for Research in Agriculture and Forestry) as one of the international learning centers on agroforestry.

Historic of the relationship with DISOP

The DISOP assisted Community-Based Enterprise Development for Sustainable Watershed Management is implemented in the municipalities of Badian and Alegria in Cebu and in the municipality of Macrohon in Southern Leyte.  It covers four barangays in Cebu and five barangays in Southern Leyte.  It started in 2011.  The three (3) year project will be completed in December 2013.

The project is making a positive contribution to the hydrologic and biotic life at the watershed and improvement of the socio-economic conditions of the inhabitants through the introduction and improvement of community-based enterprises for sustainable watershed management.

Currently, the project has strengthened 9 peoples organizations, ( one PO in each barangay) with a total of 780 members.  The project has already assisted a total of 1,126 farmer beneficiaries.  Project assistance covers: PO Capability building, water system improvement, rainforestation, nursery development, cattle fattening, handicrafts production, homegardening and sustainable agriculture.  So far, project accomplishment exceeded the project targets.  Collaboration among POs and LGUs are very evident.

Integration of lessons learned from the previous project

Mag-uugmad Foundation, Inc. had been operating in the municipalities of Argao and Dalaguete for a couple of years.  In Argao, MFI had focused its development efforts in Barangay Tabayag until 2000.  It started a soil and water conservation project under a World Neighbors ( WN) program in 1981.

The Tabayag project was also able to avail of the grant from the Philippine Australian Community Assistance Program for the integration of additional project components such as : a) Water System Development, b) Homegardening c) Agroforestry Nursery d) Livelihood Component ( for Cattle Fattening and Handloom weaving) e) Corn Mill, f) Transportation facility and g) Capability Building.

The Kapunungan sa mga Mag-uuma sa Cabalawan – KAMACA ( a farmer’s association in Tabayag) has been able to continue and sustain all the components of the Tabayag project.  Given its success, it became a model farming community and has become one of the learning communities for sustainable upland development in the Philippines.

MFI started to replicate the Tabayag experience to its adjacent barangays of Catang and Lapay in 2001.  Under the Mt. Lantoy Integrated Area Development Project which was also supported by PACAP, MFI in partnership with two peoples organizations was able to facilitate the implementation of a soil and water conservation project, water system development, home gardening and livelihood activities.  The project was considered by AusAID as one of  the projects with Best Practices in its 25 years of assistance in the Philippines.

In 2010, MFI expanded to Barangay Canbantug, another midstream barangay of Argao – Dalaguete River Watershed.  With the assistance of PACAP, MFI facilitated the implementation of a Community Health and Watershed Catchment project.  The project supported the stabilization of the Micro-Watershed Catchments within the Argao-Dalaguete River Watershed.  The project strengthened the membership of Canbantug Small Farmers Multi – Purpose Cooperative.  Assistance were in the form of water system development, integrated  farming system, gabion dam, rainforestation and goat raising.  Project implementation has exceeded targets and there was an active partnership between the members of the cooperative and the local government units.  The partner families have gradually recognized their strength as an organized group.

On the other hand, MFI’s current project assisted by DISOP in the municipalities of Badian and Alegria has gained success on biodiversity conservation, rainforestation, ecological farming and PO Capability building.

Given  the initial success in the Barangays of Tabayag, Catang and Lapay, in Argao and in Badian Alegria Watershed, MFI would like to expand to the adjacent barangays within the Argao – Dalaguete River Watershed and connect the previously assisted project and create a wider impact on the watershed catchment level.

Context analysis

Way how the context analysis was made:

Before the project concept was made the Mag-uugmad staff visited the peoples organization and the local government officials in the two municipalities where the proposed project sites are located. They discussed about project possibilities and possible collaboration. The MFI staff invited the PO and the LGU representatives to a two day workshop.

During the workshop, all the invited POs and LGUs were well represented.

After all the problems identified in each barangays, it was analyze through  “cause and effects analysis, then it was consolidated into a problem tree. The project components and activities were identified based on the objective tree.

Short analysis of the political, economic and social context

The Argao-Dalaguete River Integrated Watershed and Community Development Project is propose to be implemented in five barangays in the municipality of Argao and four barangays in Dalaguete.

There are six peoples organizations in these barangays, one PO in each barangay with an average of 50 members per peoples organization.  Most of the PO’s are registered by the government either through the Department of Labor and Employment or with the Securities and Exchange Commission.  As juridical requirement, these POs have a constitution and by-laws and a complete set of officers but some of its officers and members are not so active.  While partnership between some POs and barangay LGUs are evident in some barangays but generally the relationship between this two institutions need to be strengthened in most barangays.

Economically, while some of these barangays regularly supplies vegetables to major markets in Cebu City but most farmers in the area are still very poor because of overdependence on agro-chemicals and other farm inputs.

In some barangays, young and healthy people have been migrating out of the area in search of better income.  Some of these young people return briefly during fiestas and other special occasions and very few during busy farming seasons.  Most of the male members are either in Cebu or in Manila working in construction companies.

Relevance of the project

Description of the problem and reason why it was chosen to work on this problem.

The proposed project site, is a combination of forest land areas and alienable and   disposable lands.  It is compose of 6 barangays mostly watershed catchments and sub-catchment areas with an area of about 5,000 hectares.

It is generally observed that the natural state of the soil in this watershed has deteriorated.  Farm production has decreased  and of course, farmers income has also significantly reduced every cropping, bringing down farmers to the subsistence level.  Some farmers have applied contour farming though slash and burn are still commonly practiced.  Hill slopes in the watershed are denuded and on the upper slopes of the watershed, one can find patches of forests and shrub vegetation.  While some farmers grow vegetables but in most areas, farmer are mainly planting corn, fruit trees and tuber crops.  Like the rest of Southern Cebu, Argao and Dalaguete has both wet and dry season.  Annual rainfall ranges from 1,600 m to 2,000.  January to May are the dry months and June to December are the wet months.  These seasons influence to a large extent the type of crops grown.  Limestones does not conserve water very well and is inherently infertile.  Thus coop yields are generally very low.  Improper farming practices of land cultivation and indiscriminate use of agrochemicals has further aggravated the situation.

In the dry season, outmigration is very common.  Most of the male community members either opt to work in the nearby coal mining industry or go to Cebu City and work as construction worker.  Female community members are either employed as domestic helpers or in the informal service sectors.  Similar to other forest fragments in the upper mountainous parts of Cebu province the forest patches in Argao-Dalaguete Watershed had been under severe pressure of disappearing due to farm conversion, firewood collection and charcoal production.

The communities within the watershed area wallows in the vicious cycle of poverty and resource degradation where such problems as low farm productivity, low income, poor health and nutrition, environmental degradation have worsened over the years.

The proposed project is intended to make a positive contribution by transforming the residents in the watershed catchments and forest land areas into responsible stewards, able to protect, conserve, rehabilitate and manage the natural environment while addressing their socio-economic needs.  We will work with local partner peoples organizations to introduce the concepts and practices of ecological farming and promote the notion that health, environment and individual families well-being are linked.  We will also work with the individual families to organize the parents in preparation for the establishment of a community education for families through alternating system school which is intended for the out of school youth.

The proposed project will include efforts to address the education and training needs of the out of school youths within the covered project communities.  In particular, we will explore the integration for sustainable upland living with alternative learning platforms for the out of school youth.

Geographical location of the project

The proposed project site comprises the  six barangays of the  Argao-Dalaguete Watershed Area.  It is located in the mid-stream section of the watershed.  The site is hilly, where the top ridges have sparsely growing trees and with the middle and lower portion of the slopes which is openly cultivated converging centrally towards the river.

The area is accessible through an all weather provincial circumferential road  connecting the upland barangays of the municipalities of Argao and Dalaguete. Catang which is the nearest barangay to Argao is located 7 kilometers from the town center. Babayongan which is part of Dalaguete is the last barangay. It is 21 kilometers from the poblacion of Argao and 20 kilometers from the town center of Dalaguete.

Description of the target communities and final beneficiaries

The beneficiaries of the Argao and Dalaguete River Integrated Watershed and Community Development Project are the poor upland farmers in the headwaters and midstream section of Argao-Dalaguete River Watershed.  The decision to assist these barangays was based on three factors.  The first is the opportunity to assist a larger upland farming communities whose farm areas are mostly denuded due to erosive farming practices.

The second is the strategic location of the proposed site.  These barangays are located in the midstream and headwaters of the watershed that provides water for irrigation and domestic uses for downstream communities.

The third is the net household income and poverty.  Despite of the fact that some of the communities are considered part of the “ vegetable basket of Cebu” that supplies vegetables to Metro Cebu and other major markets in  Cebu province, most of the farmers in these areas are still very poor and has a very low net income due to overdependence on agrochemicals.  The livelihoods of the people in the area are not easily ensured.  As their basic needs can barely be met many people leave home and work in a very risky coal mining industry which is located a few kilometers away.  In most villages, young healthy people have continuously been migrating out of the village in search of better income.  Some of these young people return briefly during special occasions and very few during  busy farming seasons.  Most of the male members of the family are either in Cebu or in Manila working in construction companies.

Synergies

  • Local actors: Local civil society and public authorities, including decentralized
  • Description: The project will work closely with the municipal and barangay council together with the peoples organization. The barangay council will be requested to support and integrate the project into the barangay development plan. The provincial and municipal government will asked for project infrastructure counterparts.
  • Analysis of the ways used to strengthen their capacities – There will be a continues building of linkages among people’s organization and barangays covered by the project. Likewise, these peoples  organizations will be linked with the like-minded organizations outside of the municipality. Accreditation and registration of these organizations in different local special bodies, national government agencies, federations and networks will also be facilitated.
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