SANTIAGO CITY, Isabela—In an effort to help increase income opportunities among local farmers in communities surrounding the Didipio mine in Cagayan Valley as well as propagating forest lands with more trees, an agroforestry company has ventured in establishing an enterprise development through agroforestry projects.
Director Lucy Exconde of OceanaGold Sustainable Agroforestry Inc., an affiliate of Australian OceanaGold miner, said that they have developed a central nursery which has already produced more than a million seedlings distributed to tree farmers.
She said LGUs, school and government agencies are also recipients of their seedlings of various tree species in support of the establishment of around 1,000 hectares of plantation.
In partnership with local government units and community associations in Region 2, Exconde said the enterprise also includes millions of pesos worth commercial tree plantation, wood resources utilization and trade of various agroforestry products which could also be a good source of income to farmers associations.
OGSAI has started its reforestation program in 2013 in partnership with local farmers in the provinces of Quirino and Nueva Vizcaya where OceanaGold operates its copper and gold project in Didipio village.
The program includes the production of quality seedlings as well as establishment and maintenance of tree plantations.
“Our central nursery can accommodate 500,000 seedlings for the mining firm, LGUs and other stakeholders. For the operation of the nursery, we have also organized community associations,” Exconde said.
She said the nursery has a macro somatic clonal propagation facility for the production of plant materials of endemic threatened forest tree species which seeds are unavailable or difficult to germinate.
She said the nursery also serves to propagate various species such as narra, kalantas, molave, gmelina, coffee, among others and “basically, we raise native tree species, fast growing and fruit bearing trees,”
“Since 2014, we have already raised more than a million seedlings of various forest and fruit bearing trees using various propagation technologies,” Exconde said.
OGSAI’s efforts has resulted in the establishment of 176-hectare reforestation plantations in Nueva Vizcaya in partnership with 92 small landholders, LGUs and environment offices.
In addition to this, OGSAI has also entered into 116 lease and profit sharing agreements with small land holders for the establishment and maintenance of 189 hectares of commercial tree plantations in Quirino province.
Meanwhile, David Way, OceanaGold General Manager said, it is a milestone for the company to have planted its one millionth tree in their three years of operation.