Recently, USAID’s Protect Wildlife project brought farmers, municipal agriculturists, and other local partners from southern Palawan to Leyte and Cebu to help them learn more about successful community enterprises on cassava production and processing.
With backing from Lutheran World Relief Philippines, a USAID partner, cassava is one of the three commodities selected by Protect Wildlife partners in Palawan as entry points for developing livelihoods for smallholder farmers. The project organized for the cassava technical working group a study tour on cassava farms and facilities operated by cooperatives in Leyte and Cebu. The tour introduced the group to best practices in farming cassava, processing the root crop into various products such as animal feeds, and developing a value chain for a cassava enterprise. The group also visited the Philippine Root Crops Research and Training Center at the Visayas State University to learn the latest production technologies for cassava and other root crops.
The technical working group hopes to apply what they saw and learned from the study tour in developing their own cassava enterprises in southern Palawan. By providing financing and building capacities in selected livelihood activities, USAID envisions increased productivity and improved organization among farming communities within the Mount Mantalingahan Protected Landscape. These, in turn, can dissuade farmers from destructive and unsustainable livelihood practices that adversely affect natural habitats and wildlife species in the protected area. (PWP/ Lawrence San Diego)