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Upland farmers in Nueva Ecija benefit from a JICA-funded road extension.

PAMPANGA’S CITY OF SAN FERNANDO – A freshly finished access road extension project in Carranglan, Nueva Ecija, has made it easier for upland farmers to carry their products from their agroforestry farm to the nearest market.

The Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) contributed PHP17.9 million to the more than 1-kilometer access road extension in Barangay Bunga-Dilaing Bato, according to Paquito Moreno Jr., executive director of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) in Central Luzon.

He described it as a “agroforestry support facility” for the Pantabangan-Carranglan Watershed’s 44,000-hectare Forestland Management Project (FMP) (PCW).

According to Moreno, the extension road would not only improve community access to commodities and services but will also aid partner people’s groups in protecting the Seguim Subwatershed’s 4,914-hectare reforested region.

“As an agroforestry support facility of our Forestland Management Project (FMP) in the Pantabangan-Carranglan Watershed,” he said in a statement, “this infrastructure project is seen as supplementary to the local government’s efforts to provide social services, boost the local economy, and ensure food security.”

A memorandum of agreement (MOA) between the DENR and the municipal government of Carranglan, which states that the latter, in collaboration with FMP partner Peoples’ Organization Tectona Grandis Promiseland Association, Inc., will be responsible for maintaining and operating the completed subproject.

The access extension road project between Bunga and Dilaing Bato is JICA’s sixth agroforestry assistance facility in the PCW in the previous two years.

The 60-meter-long bridge in Sitio Pamalayan, Barangay Conversion in Pantabangan town; the eight-kilometer-long Calaocan Irrigation Pipeline System, 55-meter-long Calaocan hanging bridge in Barangay Burgos, 80-meter-long Barat reinforced concrete bridge in Sitio Kanlungan; and the seven-kilometer Dilaing Bato-Calo Mambeja access road in Barangay Padilla

“We aim to help towns enhance their vehicle and pedestrian mobility, which will reduce possible damage and transportation costs of agricultural products,” Moreno added.

The FMP is a 10-year reforestation project that began in 2012 with the goal of rehabilitating the PCW, one of Central Luzon’s largest protected areas, and strengthening forestland management through a collaborative community-based forest management strategy.

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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