The Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) here and the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) recently opened the 3.2-kilometer concreted Calaocan access road in Barangay Burgos, Carranglan, Nueva Ecija to increase local economic productivity and ease the transportation of products from upland agroforestry farms.
DENR Regional Executive Director Paquito Moreno, Jr. said this P26-million worth access road was funded by JICA, the twelfth completed agroforestry support facility in the 10-year Forestland Management Project (FMP) in Pantabangan-Carranglan Watershed (PCW), which will boost the protection and conservation of the more than 940-hectare forest tree and agroforestry plantations under the Pinagloriahan Sub-watershed and the 44,000-hectare Pantabangan-Carranglan Watershed.
“This serves as a channel to increase local trade and productivity and to ensure access to social services, since it connects farm areas to market towns,” he said, noting that transportation cost will be reduced and post-harvest losses of local farmers will also be minimized.
The executive director thanked the JICA for supporting the project that would strengthen government’s efforts in the protection and sustainable use of forest resources.
For his part, JICA Senior Representative Yo Ebisawa said the access road would help local community and partner people's organizations to fast-track the reforestation of some denuded portions of the watershed.
“This project will benefit not only the farmers, but will help us address environmental issues. By planting more trees, we can help prevent floods and landslides, thus, increasing our resiliency against the changing climate," he said.
Launched in 2012, FMP has already rehabilitated 14,133 hectares of denuded forestlands in PCW.
In 2020, a 55-meter long hanging bridge was constructed in the same town, traversing the Deguireg River and connecting access roads to agroforestry plantations benefitting some 3,844 upland farmers and their families.
FMP integrates conservation and development-oriented activities with participation and capacity-building of local communities to rehabilitate degraded forestlands in three critical river basins, including Upper Magat and Cagayan in Region 2 and Cordillera Administrative Region, Upper Pampanga in Region 3, and Jalaur in Iloilo. (-30-)