More than 11,000 farmers and fisher folk around the country have seen their productivity increase and their incomes rise thanks to a community-based participatory research program initiated by the Bureau of Agricultural Research (BAR).
The program essentially teaches farmers and fisher folk to adopt technologies suitable to their localities that are not only profitable but also ecologically sound.
As of December 2013, some 549 sites across the country have been implementing Community-based Participatory Action Research (CPAR) projects to help bring in farm and fisheries research results into the host communities to improve the lives of farmers and fisher folk, said BAR director Dr. Nicomedes Eleazar.
Of these projects, 200 were focused on agriculture and the rest were on fisheries.
So far, a total of 11,291 farmers have benefited from CPAR. There are 6,005 farmer cooperators who are directly involved in the project, while another 5,286 are called farmer-adopters, who have embraced the technologies introduced to their localities through CPAR.
The project basically seeks to modernize the farming and fisheries sector through efficient and tested community-based research and development (R&D) systems.
Together with an identified team of researchers, CPAR gathers the community members, and enables them to decide and act on their needs identified through a participatory method.
Once the required technology intervention is determined, it will then be validated by the community for possible wide-scale adoption.
Eleazar explained that under CPAR, specific technologies and interventions are introduced and taught to the farmer-beneficiaries, particularly on how to improve productivity within the context of sustainable production and farming.
“Through this initiative, farmers are able to optimize the use of their lands and ensure available and affordable food for the family through the integration of crops, livestock, and aquaculture production into the farming system,” he said.
Over the last few years, CPAR has been widely recognized as a successful R&D program, as signified in the assessment conducted by a group of World Bank consultants for the proposed Philippine Development Program.
“This truly shows that we are causing a good effect on the lives of our farmers and fishers,” said Eleazar.
Eleazar cited Cagayan Valley’s Peanut MAGIC as one of their successful projects. He said Peanut MAGIC uses the CPAR approach to enhance productivity in cereal-based areas in the region.
Project leader Rose Mary Aquino, of the Cagayan Valley Integrated Agricultural Research Center, said the farmer-cooperators from the rest of the four project sites have produced good results.