Farmers in barangay Bagu, Bakun, Benguet are now slowly expanding their production area with the construction of a 300-meter length slope protection implemented under the Department of Agriculture’s Philippine Rural Development Project (DA-PRDP).
Barangay Bagu is located at the northern part of Bakun and in the northern most tip of Benguet province, towards Ilocos Sur. Since it is situated at the lower part of the mountain, the area is susceptible to landslides and floods.
Tito Pacuz, chairman of barangay Bagu, recalled that the project site was once a wide area of rice fields until an erosion occurred in 1967 caused by heavy rainfalls followed by the eruption of Mt. Tenglawan in 1984.
“Pagay ken kamote tan kataltalunan daytoy ay area idi ngem idi inmali din guday ay na, nasabalian ngay din luta isunga din ipugao et adi da et layden ay mulaan din talun. Isunga nanbalin ay panmulaan di sakati ya pastulan (rice and sweet potato were previously grown in the area but after erosions occurred, the soil was altered and people do not want to cultivate the lands anymore. Hence, the then-rice fields became a pasture area),” recalled Pacuz.
The lack of slope protection structure has significantly caused a reduction in the production area of farmers in Bagu. With the completion of the slope protection, unproductive lands are expected to be cultivated in the coming years, thereby increasing production area from 17 to 36 hectares and increasing average yield by 29.33 percent.
“Salamat ta nay met, man-gaget da din ipugao ay mangipatauli sin nagab-gaburan tan naamag na ay kaman mang protektar sin kataltalunan (we are thankful because people are now working hard to restore the covered production area with the construction of this slope protection that would protect our fields), added Pacuz.
The construction of slope protection in barangay Bagu was completed last February 2018. On-farm activities are now observed within the service area such as tilapia ponds, pastured livestock animals, and cultivated lands.
Accordingly, the structure will not only protect the production areas but will also benefit the residents of Bagu. ELVY S. TAQUIO