BPI Bayan Ilocos Cagayan Valley Area will be granting financial aid to qualified upland farmers from Bitag Grande and Assasi after signing a memorandum of agreement (MOA) with SJCBI, Parokia San Jose Mangmangged and the Billion Tree Planting and Growing Project of Baggao last March 25, 2021.
This program, dubbed the “Adopt an Upland Farmer Project,” aims to divert the land-use of the existing 50 hectares of upland corn farms within the municipality while giving financial assistance to the upland farmers.
Moreover, the project aims to help farmers become self-sustaining by providing livelihood such as agroforestry program, aquaculture, livestock production, integrated farming, bamboo and seedling production. It also contributes to their human and spiritual formation as responsible stewards of creation as endorsed in Laudato Si’ of the Holy Father.
BPI Bayan Ilocos Cagayan Valley Area, represented by Ms. Benalie Cruz Paguirigan, will sponsor upland farmers who must maintain and protect a tree plantation. Funding will continue until the tree plantation can already provide income-generating products or for five years, whichever comes first.
Aside from keeping a tree plantation, they should practice the inter-cropping method and provide an income report for every cropping to receive P22,000 per hectare and another P2,000 monthly allowance suitable for two years.
BPI Bayan Ilocos Cagayan Valley Area will shoulder 100% of the net income to the upland farmer for the first year of the project, the second year 70% for the replacement of dead seedling, ring weeding, strip brushing and construction of fire lines and fire breaks, the third year 50% for the maintenance of the tree plantation, and the fourth year 30% in addition to their extra income from integrated farming and agroforestry. In the fifth year, farmers will no longer receive any amount since the tree plantation is already self-sustainable.
The Billion Tree Planting and Growing Project, led by Baggao Mayor Joan Dunuan, will identify the project beneficiaries according to the criteria set. They will also provide technical assistance for the monitoring, development and maintenance of the tree plantation thru the Municipal Environment and Natural Resources Office (MENRO), directed by Mr. Frederic Franz Naismith Tomas.
Furthermore, the MENRO will conduct Rapid Site Assessment before planting to assess plant sustainability and estimate the number of seedlings planted in the area. They will also closely supervise and monitor the development of the plantation every quarter.
SJCBI and Parokia San Jose Mangmangged, headed by Fr. Gerard Ariston Perez, shall validate the list of beneficiaries and regularly monitor the project’s progress. They will also assess the skills and need of the beneficiaries and their families for livelihood programs and entrepreneurial training. In addition, they will conduct material and psychological support to the beneficiaries and serve as facilitators during values formation and capacity building sessions.
The “Adopt an Upland Farmer Project” is a program of the Office of Community Engagement and Campus Ministry (CECM) overseered by its Director Fr. Christian Dave Remudaro who hosted the MOA signing.
By: Reagan Q. De Leon