BAUKO, Mountain Province – The local government is now aggressively expanding its existing integrated agriculture area development site that was established through the political will of local officials and the overwhelming support of interested farmers to provide them sustainable source of income and livelihood and contribute in efforts to boost the town’s growing tourism industry.
Mayor Abraham B. Akilit said the integrated agriculture area development site is located within Tapapan and Guinzadan wherein farmers that own adjacent lots agreed to plant agro-forestry planting materials interspersed with grassy areas for their cows and carabaos to set an example on how to maximize the utilization of available pasture lands in the town for productive purposes.
“We were forced to hire a full-time agriculturist to oversee the project so that the participating farmers will conform to the standards of the practice of organic agriculture. We are elated that a good number of farmers were immediately convinced with the idea that is why we were able to push through with the project and we hope that we will able to replicate it in other barangays with vast tracks of land that could be converted to similar agro-forestry areas,” Akilit stressed.
The local chief executive disclosed that to date the plantation sites have at least 1,000 citrus trees, 800 banana plants, 500 dragon fruit trees while the farmers are working on the production of pineapple in the available areas for plantation within the said area.
According to him, the lands are owned by the farmers and they are allowed the use of their properties for productive purposes through the establishment of the integrated agriculture area development that is initiated by the municipal government to provide them a sustainable source of income and livelihood for their families, considering the identity of the town as a vegetable-producing municipality in the province.
He emphasized farmers are obliged to practice organic farming in the propagation and nurturing of their agro-forestry planting materials to showcase that organic farming is still the best way to produce quality food products from the highlands.
Akilit added some of the farmers will be harvesting the fruits of banana plants that they were able to plant in their own land, thus, their desire to convert their idle lands into productive ones will be realized considering that the program will also contribute in the efforts of the local government to bring back the greenery of mountain slopes, which will in turn contribute in providing abundant water supply for the various river systems flowing to the lowlands.
Because of the initial success of the integrated agriculture area development in the said site, Akilit expressed confidence that more owners of idle lands in other barangays will be convinced to maximize the utilization of their lands for productive purposes, like in the growing of agro-forestry products that will guarantee food security and sustainable income for themselves in the future.
Bauko is located within the Mount Data watershed that serves as the headwaters of the various river systems providing abundant water supply to the lowlands and which are used for domestic, irrigation, industrial, and power generation, among other purposes.