Farmers tapped for Butuan watershed conservation

BUTUAN CITY(MindaNews/ Aug 15)–The leadership of the Father Saturnino Urios University (FSUU) has expressed optimism that the “Save the Taguibo Watershed” initiative will pay off by making the actual families directly affected in the community part of the project.

Fr. John Young, FSUU president, aired the sentiment a month after launching the Taguibo Watershed Pilot Project here.

He pointed out that the plan to bring into the project the actual stakeholders is a long-term solution to the problem.

Young said the project gained headway last July 10 with the initial orientation of 65 farming households that are members of the Anticala Watershed Farmers Association.

“They will be working on 60 hectares of land through the different livelihood component of the project,” he added.

Young stressed the main goal is to educate and to find means of livelihood for the community while saving and nurturing the existing biodiversity in the area, thus creating an integrated management and rehabilitation effort.

“We will be teaching them the different components of the projects, which includes livelihood. While slowly applying all the components, we will also search for other means of livelihood. The effort is a learning process for us and the community and from this, we hope that we will be able to replicate and use it as a model for other similar projects in the future,” he said.

Dr. Mary Grace Brongcano, project technical working group coordinator, explained that the project seeks for people to have additional income to discourage them from cutting trees and engaging in small-scale mining.

“The initial component of the project will be community organizing and continued reforestation. Livelihood assistance through vegetables and abaca plantation is also part of the project components as well as a nursery, dispersal of livestock, enforcement and education,” said Brongcano.

Broncano expressed hopes that in the future, more groups and stakeholders will become part of the endeavor to save the watershed’s fragile eco-system and for them to help create awareness. (Erwin Mascarinas/MindaNews)