The 12 hectare farm has a good water supply from a natural spring in a small area of forest on the property. In order to protect this valuable resource forestal land surrounding the farm has been acquired by buying the rights of the “owners”. This land has been mostly cleared and is not suitable for cultivating. Hardwood indigenous varities, local to the area, are being planted to build the area into a mini forest of around 75 hectares. This will help prevent erosion, protect the water sources and bring back the native species of plants, birds and animals that have all but disappeared. The members of the coop are undergoing seminars on agro forestry and bio-diversity. They are also being encouraged to plant tees in their own farm lots, both for their personal use and for the environment.
The target for this year is to plant 3 to 4 hectares. This will be done by the members of the coop who have undergone training for this purpose. They will also be able to earn some money during the lean months and so help feed their families.
Money for the first part of this project has been given by the Irish Government as they move to meet the Millenium Development Goals set by the United Nations.
The Philippines is one of the worst in Asia in terms of forest degredation and is on a par with countries in sub-Saharan Africa! Unless their is a massive tree planting program, especially in the mountain areas, there will be no future for farming or for the environment in general.
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