The Coastal Resources and Ecotourism Research, Development and Extension Center of the Ecosystems Research and Development Bureau – (ERDB-CRERDEC) continues to engage with the University of the Philippines – Institute for Small-scale Industries (UP-ISSI) for the project, Providing Interventions and Accelerating Capability through Assessment and Mentorship Towards Science for the Convergence of Agriculture and Tourism (PInACA-SciCAT).
Funded by the Department of Science and Technology – Philippine Council for Agriculture, Aquatic and Natural Resources Research and Development of the (DOST – PCAARRD), the said project aims to increase bamboo farm production in Maasin, Iloilo by providing farmers with the needed supplies and equipment as well as technical assistance.
To assess the progress and identify concerns in the implementation, DOST- PCAARRD through its Technology Transfer Division conducted a monitoring and evaluation (M&E) on May 16, 2022. DOST-PCCARD staff, Ms. Mae A. Dagaas and Ms. Marika Angelica M. Pangan together with CRERDEC Station Head, Jon Alfonso P. Horvidalla interviewed SciCAT farmer beneficiaries in the five project sites in Maasin, Iloilo namely, Buntalan, Daja, Abay, Bolo, and Dagami.
They also visited the office of Katilingban sang Pumuluyo nga Naga-Atipan sa Watershed sang Maasin (KAPAWA) to discuss some issues and concerns in the project implementation.
KAPAWA official, Mr. Pablo Mijares mentioned the reluctance of other bamboo farmers in participating with the PInACA-SciCAT project.
According to him, KAPAWA andCRERDEC has thoroughly explained to farmers the relative importance and benefits of the project and how it could provide members with astable income for their families. Mr. Mijares further shared the marketing strategies utilized by their group, particularly on mat production.
For them, it is considered a great family-bonding experience, where each family member got to share tasks from harvesting to weaving.
Farmers then deliver their finished products to KAPAWAwhich eventually are distributed and sold in all of Western Visayas.
Sites visited by the PCAARRD evaluators also include the ornamental bamboo and kawayan tinik (Bambusa blumeana) bamboo nurseries in Brgy. Buntalan and Brgy. Dagami. Nursery manager Mrs. Evelyn Medianero likewise expressed gratitude for the assistance and provisions of the SciCAT project.
The project according to her helped them in improving the bamboo propagation process.
Currently, the ornamental bamboo nursery of Brgy. Buntalan houses 280 seedlings of seven ornamental bamboo species, while the kawayan tinik (Bambusa blumeana) nursery in Brgy. Bolo has at least 4,700 seedlings that are ready for transplanting into different bamboo plantations by July.
Farmer’s group in Brgy. Bolo also showcased their bamboo handicrafts to the PCAARRD evaluators.
According to Mr. Ruben Mandate, the farmer-cluster leader, they are grateful for the SciCAT project’s equipment and supplies since they can now make better quality bamboo handicrafts, which they sell through KAPAWA and the Bamboo Cooperative managed by the LGU of Maasin, Iloilo.
Evaluators also dropped by the café stop in the bamboo plantation of Brgy. Abay where visitors were treated with some native snacks.
The farmer cluster of the said barangay also appreciated the help of the project in realizing their plan in coming up with a café stop for tourists where farmers could showcase their established bamboo plantation through the SciCAT Project and other previously implemented PCAARRD-funded projects.
Mr. Paolo Mijares of Brgy. Daja further demonstrated the proper way of rehabilitating bamboo stands using the chainsaw provided by the SciCAT Project.
According to him, rehabilitating bamboo stands through the use of a chainsaw makes it fast and easy as compared to the conventional bolo knife. Mr. Mijares said that by rehabilitating bamboo stands, bamboo shoot production could increase by 3-5 shoots per year as compared to bamboo stands not rehabilitated which only have 1-2 shoots per year.
Overall, PCAARRD evaluators were pleased to witness the positive impressions and project benefits ofSciCAT as well as other PCAARRD-funded programs previously implemented in Maasin, Iloilo.
They guaranteed that farmer beneficiaries’ concerns, challenges, and problems will be brought to the attention of PCAARRD’s upper management, with an assurance that PCAARRD together with CRERDEC will strengthen assistance and provide future initiatives to benefit the Maasin bamboo farmers. JAJPHorvidalla, CRERDEC