The Industrial Tree Plantation (ITP) Action Program on the Establishment of Commercial Plantations and the Efficient Utilization of Wood Products in the Caraga Region may soon ease the age-old clash between sustainability of wood supply and economic growth according to the report made by Dr. Lily Ann D. Lando of PCARRD.
This program that is funded by the Philippine Council for Agriculture Forestry and Natural Resources Research and Development (PCARRD), in the amount of 34.5 million, targets to improve the productivity of tree plantations through appropriate technologies.
It also aims to establish plantation-based family/community enterprises and improve the policy and institutional infrastructure for plantation development, competitiveness of Philippine wood products and the economic structure of small hold farmers.
To meet the objectives, the program is divided into three subprograms namely: production of high quality planting materials, establishment of small hold processing and enterprises development for ITP, and harvesting biometric socio-economic and policy studies of ITP-based industry.
Regional technical director (RTD) Virgilio C. dela Cruz of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR), Caraga and National leader stressed that the program is very important to Caraga, because Caraga supplies 52% of the country’s logs which 86% comes from planted trees.
Dela Cruz said that log production from natural and planted areas have been steadily declining since 2011. He also said that to supply the yearly demand for Caraga, they need 38,056 hectares of productive plantation per year that yield 200 cubic meters per hectare.
If the demand for the whole Mindanao Regions IX to XIII is considered along with the same yield (the 200 cubic meters per hectare) the plantation area must be increased to 12,939 hectares per year, he added.
Despite the demand and the more than 441,000 hectares available as potential areas for ITP, small farmers, people’s organization and other investors are still reluctant to go into ITP enterprise, because of low financial returns.
However, DENR says that the low adoption rate of ITP is the lack of knowledge on technology or lack of skills to use the available technologies.
Other agency partners in the program aside from the DENR – Caraga include the forest Products Research and Development Institute, and the University of the Philippines, Los Banos – College of Forestry and Natural Resources (UPLB-CFNR).
To ensure smooth implementation of the program, program implementers were assigned to lead each subprogram, who recently converged at the PCARRD headquarters to level off in the plans, activities, expected outputs, budgets, and respective terms of reference.
To monitor the program is the Council’s Forestry and Environment Research Division headed by acting director Dr. Leila C. America. Also involved in ensuring the success of the program is Dr. Florentino O. Tesoro, chair of the Forestry Cluster and also one of the senior advisers of the program.
DENR-Caraga is a member of the Caraga Consortium for Agriculture and Resources Research and Development (C-CARRD). ITP Program has a total of 11 project components, three are ongoing, four for funding and four slated to start and end on March 2014. Estrella Z. Gallardo, PSciJourn MegaManila