The Department of Agrarian Reform (DAR) has recently forged an agreement with the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) and the Iraga National Convergence Initiative Marketing Cooperative (INCIMC) for the establishment of a 50-hectare fuel wood production-cum-agro-forest development project in Solana, Cagayan.
DAR Secretary Virgilio de los Reyes said the program would greatly help augment the income of INCIMC members, most of whom are agrarian reform beneficiaries (ARBs). ARBs in Cagayan will soon earn additional income coming from the government’s National Greening Program (NGP) and the Department of Agrarian Reform’s (DAR) fuel wood production project.
Provincial Agrarian Reform Officer Virgilio Acasili said “This project is like hitting two birds with one stone. First, it will contribute to the NGP’s accomplishment by planting thousands of trees of different species. Second, it will provide additional source of income and livelihood opportunities for our agrarian reform beneficiaries.”
Acasili said that as of December 2014, as the initial phase of the project, 45 hectares have been planted with 5,000 coconut seedlings provided by the Philippine Coconut Authority (PCA), while the other five (5) hectares have been planted with Ipil-ipil trees.
“Aside from their traditional crops of rice and corn, the farmers will have additional income when they sell the coconut and Ipil-ipil seedlings to the market. Full-grown Coco lumber and ipil-ipil are good and cheap source of fuel,” added Acasili.
Under the memorandum of agreement, the DAR will provide the funding requirements amounting to P470,000 while the INCIMC will facilitate the seedling production, site clearing, hole-digging and planting of the seedlings.
The MOA signing was witnessed by the Congressman of the 3rd District of the province of Cagayan, Hon. Randolph S. Ting, PARPO II Joselito O. Garcia, Local Government Unit (LGU) of Solana Municipal Administrator (MA) Narciso Taquiqui and other municipal and barangay key officials.
Congressman Ting lauded the said partnership which will promote environmental welfare of the province.
The DENR, on the other hand, allocated 50 hectares of idle and unproductive forestlands within the Agrarian Reform Area and provide technical assistance to the ARBO upon the implementation of the project.
The NGP, a government initiative, seeks to plant around 1.5-billion trees over about 1.5-million hectares nationwide to promote resource conservation and protection, productivity enhancement, climate change mitigation and adaptation, and poverty reduction.