THE United States government marked the completion of the P76-million Bicol Agri-Water Project (BAWP) during the recently held Farmers’ Summit in Nabua, Camarines Sur.
The BAWP is a five-year program funded by the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) in collaboration with the University of the Philippines Los Baños Foundation, Inc. (UPLBFI).
The UPLBFI has implemented the project in partnership with the Department of Agriculture (DA) Region 5, Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration, International Research Institute – Columbia University, Central Bicol State University, Bicol University College of Agriculture and Forestry, and the local governments of Camarines Sur, Albay, Nabua, Buhi, and Polangui.
DA-Region 2 executive director Elena delos Santos, said the program has introduced local farmers to new technologies and innovative rice farming practices to reduce the impact of natural calamities and improve food security in the region.
She said more than 600 farmers are now using disaster-resilient practices, while local government partners have adopted the use of a seasonal climate forecast as a result of the project’s Climate Field School Program.
“Preparedness is much better and cheaper than response, and through the Bicol Agri-Water Project, farmers are now better prepared for the future,” De ‘os Santos said.
At the Farmers’ Summit held at Macagang Business Center, USAID also presented the DA with a training manual for farmers on how natural disasters impact rice production and how they can use different farming techniques to improve harvests.
“USAID is pleased to work with our partners to help rice farmers in the Bicol region gain new knowledge and skills that will help them be prepared and more resilient to the impacts of natural hazards,” Timothy Marlowe, acting chief of USAID Philippines executive office, said.
LEANDER C. DOMINGO