|Project title||: Evaluation and Adoption Of Improved Farming Practices On Soil And Water Resources In Bohol Island, Philippines|
: Dr. Gina Nilo
|Timeframe||: 2006 - 2011|
|Funding||: Australian Center for International Agricultural Research (ACIAR)|
|Location & Partners||: Inabanga and Abatan Watershed, Bohol Island, Philippines
Department of Environment and Natural Resources
University of Western Sydney
University of Sydney
Municipality of San Isidro, Bohol
Municipality of Carmen, Bohol
Municipality of Sierra Bullones, Bohol
Municipality of Pilar, Bohol
Soil erosion and associated losses of nutrients from arable land are an important economic problem in the Philippines and closely associated with ecosystem health and function. These are also issues which are predominantly associated with the steeply sloping uplands and areas with highly erodible soils. Within the agricultural province of Bohol, 45% of the island is designated as agricultural land and supports 80 % of the island’s population. However, nearly two thirds of the agricultural land has a slope of greater than 18 % and receives more than two metres of rainfall per year. In a previous ACIAR project LWR/2001/003 it was concluded that activities that have the highest adverse impact on agricultural sustainability (and therefore long term economic sustainability) in the upper Inabanga (the largest watershed on Bohol), included: up and down cultivation on sloping lands, continuous use of nutrient-depleting crops such as corn and cassava, and extensive cultivation of steep upland soils.
Given the high risk of erosion and soil losses in corn/cassava cultivation, coupled with the prevalence of these farming systems within the upper watersheds of Bohol (approximately 35% of the Inabanga in 2003), as well as the relative prevalence of poverty among these farmers, this project will focus on corn/cassava growing areas. These non-sustainable farming systems have been identified as those with the greatest potential for improvement to reduce soil loss and poverty.
There is an opportunity to significantly improve financial returns for farmers through improvements to land and crop management. The project will focus on the implementation and critical evaluation of improved land and crop management practices identified in project LWR/2001/003 (2002 - 2006).
A key objective of this project is to quantify, demonstrate and provide examples to farmers of the farm-level economic benefits that can be realised by implementing selected best management practices for soil, water and crop management in affected areas. The proposed initiative will take advantage of implementation capabilities of the Philippines Bureau of Soils and Water Management (BSWM), Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR), and the International Centre for Research in Agroforestry (ICRAF) through their landcare activities.
ICRAF have established an excellent network and a landcare ethic with local barangay leaders and educational networks through activities of ACIAR project ASEM/2002/051. This will be of critical importance in effectively communicating the outcomes of the land use improvements to local farmers. The project strategy will involve:
1. San Isidro long-term watershed study: Determine the impacts of conservation farming practices on farmers’ livelihoods and soil and water conservation. This will focus on an upper watershed that has been implementing improved practices through landcare type activities for more than five years. The study area consists of several villages located near San Isidro at the headwaters of the Abatan watershed in a severely degraded upland area of Bohol using a paired sub-watershed approach.
2. Farmer-Managed Demonstration sites (FMDs): Implement and critically assess the effectiveness of improved management practices on FMDs in the nearby upper Inabanga watershed. Collaboration with the community landcare groups established by ICRAF will provide the FMDs with substantial technical guidance and validated practices on which to base education and extension programs. The ICRAF landcare work will ensure farmers are well versed in the new techniques.
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