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Farmers in Nueva Ecija benefit from the access road.

The freshly opened seven-kilometer access road in Carranglan, Nueva Ecija, allows upland farmers in the town to easily transport their produce from their agroforestry farm to the nearest market.

The PHP58-million access road was funded by the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) as a “agroforestry support facility” under the 10-year Pantabangan-Carranglan Watershed Forestland Management Project (FMP), according to Paquito Moreno Jr., executive director of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) in Central Luzon (PCW).

According to Moreno, the new Dilaing Bato-Calo Mambeja access road, which connects the communities of R.A. Padilla and Bunga, will help 1,400 households, including farmers, improve their living.

“Our upland farmers will have an easier time getting their products to market, such as cashews and other agroforest commodities.” It would also promote local trade and productivity, as well as aid in forest fire prevention,” he added on social media.

He claims that transportation costs and travel times for goods and services will be greatly cut, reducing local farmer losses while improving access to healthcare, education, and other government services for children and families.

“We can also better secure our reforestation site because the access road allows us to respond quickly in the event of a forest or grass fire, as well as track down timber poachers,” he added.

The access road between Dilaing Bato and Calo Mambeja is JICA’s seventh agroforestry assistance facility in the PCW in the previous two years.

The 60-meter-long bridge in Sitio Pamalayan in Barangay Conversion in Pantabangan town, the eight-kilometer-long Calaocan Irrigation Pipeline System, the 55-meter-long Calaocan hanging bridge in Barangay Burgos, and the 80-meter-long Barat reinforced concrete bridge in Sitio Kanlungan, all in Carranglan town, were among the others.

The FMP, which began in 2021 and will run for ten years, intends to restore PCW and strengthen forestland management through a collaborative community-based forest management plan.

It combines conservation and development initiatives with local community participation and capacity building to rehabilitate degraded forestlands in three key river basins: Upper Magat and Cagayan in Region 2, Upper Pampanga in Region 3, and Jalaur in Iloilo.

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