Quezon villages go climate-smart

A joint effort by three international agencies is scaling out climate-resilient agricultural practices under different agroecosystems and conditions in Guinayangan town, Quezon province.

"It takes a village to scale climate-smart agriculture," Leocadio Sebastian, regional program leader for the Consultative Group for International Agricultural Research (Cgiar) on Climate Change, Agriculture and Food Security in Southeast Asia (Ccafs SEA), said.

His words sum up the advocacy of Ccafs SEA, the Southeast Asian Regional Center for Graduate Study and Research in Agriculture (SEARCA) and the International Institute of Rural Reconstruction (IIRR) to push for the establishment of climate-smart villages (CSVs) in Southeast Asia to improve food security and resiliency in local communities.

Sebastian said a village is the "nucleus of social action," where real action toward climate change mitigation and adaptation starts.

Last month, SEARCA, Ccafs SEA and IIRR jointly conducted a roving workshop to demonstrate how local-level outscaling of climate-resilient agricultural practices could be attempted under different agroecosystems and conditions in Guinayangan town.

The participants came from the ASEAN Climate Resilience Network from the Philippines, Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar and Thailand. They also visited key CSV sites in Guinayangan. ASEAN is the Association of Southeast Asian Nations.

Their field visits enabled them to appreciate CSVs and their potential to significantly improve food security at the community level in the face of heightened risks imposed by climate change to agriculture-based livelihoods.

SEARCA Director Glenn Gregorio said the participants of the roving workshop visited various sites that showcased best practices in climate-smart agriculture.

With emphasis on corn production, one site visited was Barangay Cabong Norte, where participants learned about intercropping and other interventions in an upland agricultural system.

They also visited Capuluan Tulon village that featured small-scale low external input and low carbon footprint methods of pig-raising using resilient but improved native pig breeds. This provided an alternative source of livelihood for farmers.

The fishery and coastal agriculture site in Capuluan Central village showcased initial work on coastal reforestation and diversification of livelihoods of coastal fishing families.

Guinayangan Mayor Cesar Isaac 3rd shared their experiences on the Green Fund (payment for ecosystem services) and water resource management during the participants' field visit to the Maulawin Spring Protected Landscape.

The participants learned about farmers' experiences in Sta. Cruz village regarding agroforestry and diversification, specifically the production of chili peppers and linkage with the private sector in expanding their market.

The demo farm and ecopark managed by the Office of the Municipal Agriculturist served as the last stop in Guinayangan town.

The participants also visited the National Swine and Poultry Research and Development Center and the Quezon Agricultural Research and Experiment Station in Tiaong, also in Quezon province.

Gregorio said the participants learned about the various initiatives and milestones under the Department of Agriculture-Adaptation and Mitigation Initiative in Agriculture (DA-AMIA) program, particularly the adaptation strategies and interventions implemented in the AMIA village in San Francisco town.

"The battle against climate change is either won or lost at the grassroots level, where localized interventions assume a pivotal role," Gregorio noted.

The Ccafs SEA developed the CSV approach in response to the need for context-specific solutions to climate risks at the local level. The approach enables farmers to use experiential learning to overcome challenges posed by climate change and capacitate them to establish their own CSVs.

Model CSV sites were established in the Philippines, Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar and Vietnam to serve as platforms for CSA learning and community-based participatory action demonstrations.

Emilita Monville Oro, IIRR country director and acting regional director for Asia, said the CSV in Guinayangan town illustrates how the local government could use its natural resources to address the impacts of climate change.

During the workshop, Oro also emphasized the importance of building the capacities of communities and local government units in scaling up initiatives on climate-smart agriculture.