The Department of Agriculture said today that it has completed 87.1 percent of the 2nd Cordillera Highland Agricultural Resource Management Project (CHARM2) as part of government’s efforts to promote rural progress across the nation.

Agriculture Secretary Proceso Alcala said out of the 8,500 hectares (has.) targeted in the watershed conservation and reforestation component of the project, 8,566 has. have already been planted.

For the project’s agrofororestry component, 2,050.66 out of the targeted 2,174.04 has. have been planted, with the remaining 123.34 has. to be planted also by the end of 2014, he added.

CHARM2  is the second phase of a special project of the Department of Agriculture.  CHARM1 focused on achieving progress in indigenous communities in three provinces in the Cordillera Administrative Region (CAR), namely Abra, Benguet and Mountain Province.

Because of the success of CHARM1 the coverage of the project was widened.  CHARM 2 is currently being  implemented in Abra, Apayao, Benguet, Ifugao, Kalinga and Mountain Province.

The grassroots institutional structure developed under CHARM1 needs further strengthening, Alcala said.

As of the end of October, 312 reforestation and agroforestry people’s organizations have gone through the process, along with 602 livelihood interest groups, 55 irrigators’ associations and 28 barangay waterworks and sanitation associations within 170 project barangays.

Barangay project monitoring and evaluation teams in all the project barangays are also undergoing capacity development trainings, Alcala said.

“There are potentials in improving value added production for poor households without negative impact on the environment due to the already recognized sustainability of indigenous forest management and cropping system,” he added.  (DA-OSEC)