Agricultural education outreach improves village life
Malabing Valley in Nueva Vizcaya province was once a picture of underdevelopment. The villages of Tadji, Binogawan, Wangal, Malabing, Papaya and Capisaan in the Valley had no roads and virtually inaccessible.
Villagers spent days on-foot to reach Kasibu town. Only six-by-six trucks and weapons carriers traverse the nearly impassable river trails. The presence of government agencies was almost nil except for the Kasibu municipal service agencies.
But thanks to “Project Malabing Valley”, this Bugkalot people’s domain has progressed both socially and economically. PMV supported the establishment of the Malabing Valley Multi-Purpose Cooperative and pushed the development of the citrus industry in the area, transforming the valley into Nueva Vizcaya’s citrus bowl.
PMV was initiated in 1988 under the Agricultural Education Outreach Program of the then Nueva Vizcaya State Institute of Technology, now Nueva Vizcaya State University. Several government and non-government organizations have since supported various development initiatives in the valley.
Strategies under AEOP include the conduct of barangay development laboratory, creation of people’s organization or cooperatives, and training to promote potential agriculturalcommodity projects among others. In BDL, an agricultural institution fosters one or several villages to establish entrepreneurial projects.
Prof. R. J. Braña, NVSU-AEOP project officer, reported that there are now 296 citrus growers producing an average of 10,000 to 40,000 kilograms [per month/year?--rgo]. The total area devoted to citrus expanded from 438 hectares in 2002 to 792 hectares in 2004. Many among the younger generation who obtained college education went back to their farms and find citrus farming a more profitable venture than menial employment in the cities.
PMV has provided citrus growers with access to extension services, which improved their farm management practices, enhanced crop production, and boosted participation in trade fairs for promoting citrus products. These, combined with the practice of muyong have sustained the development in the area. Muyong is an Ifugao indigenous agroforestry system that is considered as a forest conservation strategy, a watershed rehabilitation technique, and a farming system.
Other improvements include the development of a road network, installation of electric power, construction of MVMPC training center and dormitory, construction of a central nursery facility, development of the Capisaan cave network as tourist destination, and development of a potable water system.
NVSU-AEOP aims for phase 2 of the project to promote other activitiessuch as tilapia production, bamboo production for citrus tree props, and production of alternative high value fruit trees like rambutan, durian, lanzones, and longan. STP