Tue. Jan 21st, 2020

Pala’wan tribesmen train on agro-forestry, farm planning

Some 22 Pala’wan indigenous peoples (IP) in Brooke’s Point town were trained recently on land use management system and farm planning in a bid to get their help in biodiversity conservation efforts.

The training, which was implemented on September 10-15, was implemented under the Protect Wildlife project of the United States Agency for International Development’ (USAID) with local partners, Lawrence San Diego, communications specialist, said Wednesday.

San Diego said the training for upland farmers in Barangay Mainit dealt with “different farming techniques that are suitable for planting crops and trees in sloping lands.”

The IP participants were also trained about how to develop farm plans that will allow them to have access to the payment-for-ecosystem-services (PES), a conservation-financing scheme in Brooke’s Point, Palawan.

The participants received planting tools, seeds, and fertilizers after the training that they can use when they go back to their farms.

“Related ito doon sa sinusulong natin na PES scheme sa (This is related to the PES scheme in) Brooke’s Point. This is to adopt a PES scheme that can sustainably finance the conservation of watershed in Brooke’s Point,” San Diego pointed out.

The Protect Wildlife biodiversity conservation program started in Palawan in 2016 in partnership with the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) and Palawan Council for Sustainable Development (PCSD) among others.

The Palaw’an farmers in the watershed community of Mainit are part of the beneficiaries of the PES fund derived from the one peso per cubic meter special levy paid by water consumers in Brooke’s Point, Jeanne Tabangay, Protect Wildlife site manager said.

Tabangay said around P321,000 has been collected as PES fund from 2017 to May 2018 from water consumers.

She said the PES recipients are those doing the conservation of the watershed so that the users of water can enjoy its sustainable benefits.

Tabangay said the planting of high value fruit trees is among the project pushed by the indigenous community themselves, which is seen to increase their income and uplift their economic conditions.

The three water sources in Brooke’s Point, including the one located in Mainit, have a combined discharge of 10,200 cubic meters and can serve up to 13,000 household connections.

Currently, only 2,181 connections are serviced by the waterworks of the municipality.

USAID is promoting sustainable practices in agroforestry to help boost incomes in upland communities while also increasing tree covers, rehabilitating watersheds, and protecting wildlife.

San Diego added that the hands-on exercises during the week-long training taught Palaw’an participants proper upland farming techniques, such as using a minimum land area for inter-cropping of vegetables and fruit trees.

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