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CRDES 2 Project: Creating Opportunities Amidst the Challenges

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by Macrina G. Umali & Ruth Anne T. Ruelos

The Collaborative Research Development and Extension Services - Phase 2 (CRDES 2) project entitled, “Mainstreaming Palayamanan in the Agricultural Extension System using the CPAR Approach: The Case of Camarines Sur and Masbate,” was completed last August 31, 2018 after almost four years of collaborative work with the local government units (LGUs), farmers, and stakeholders from the Municipalities of Pamplona, Camarines Sur and Milagros, Masbate.

The project believed that improvement in the extension system through sustained collaboration using proven extension programs would lead not only to the strengthening of the extension system through improved capacities of stakeholders, but more importantly, to improving productivity and income of the farmers. It combined two participatory extension approaches that have been proven to be adaptive to local conditions, which were Palayamanan of DA-PhilRice and the Community-based Participatory Action Research (CPAR) of DA-BAR. The main objective of the project was to mainstream and institutionalize Palayamanan in the agricultural extension system using the CPAR approach. Palayamanan is a diversified rice farming system, which aims to help farmers increase income and productivity through incorporating different farming inputs and commodities such as rice, vegetables, livestock, and aquaculture. On the other hand, CPAR is a research approach, which involves the participation of the stakeholders in the project implementation and decision-making. 

Nine Climate Field Schools (CFS) with techno demo farms were conducted in Camarines Sur and Masabate. The CFS were implemented during the entire cropping season for the two phases in which 239 farmers graduated in the CFS. Conducting CFS while experiencing unpredictable or unfavorable  weather conditions in the field was a challenge to the techno demo sites implemented by the project. Despite the drought, typhoons, and other difficulties encountered in the field, the technologies introduced have increased the income of the farmers in these marginal areas. Up to now, the farmers have been continuously using their learnings that were taught in the CFS.  Meanwhile, the number of beneficiary farmers of the animal roll-over scheme has been slowly increasing.  

Aside from CFS, trainings were conducted for capacity building of Agricultural Extension Workers and for mainstreaming Palayamanan in agricultural development planning. The culminating activity of the project was a back-to-back roundtable discussion and regional scientific conference where research results of the project were presented to and validated with the partner-agencies. Lastly, the project is developing a CFS manual and a monograph for dissemination to LGUs and interested stakeholders.

The project is headed by Dr. Agnes C. Rola and Dr. Merlyne M. Paunlagui, and is funded by the Department of Agriculture Regional Field Office 5 (Bicol Region).

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