The Family that Plants Together Harvests Together
The Pulangi Watershed Area Team (PULWAT) under Watershed Management Division (WMD) of the National Power Corporation (NPC) is one of the agencies which rehabilitates denuded areas around Pulangi Watershed, one of Mindanao’s major watersheds. Through the Vegetative Rehabilitation Program, farmers who are interested in planting trees on their land areas are supported in terms of seedlings, training, technical and financial needs.
Mr. Arsolon, one of the farmers-beneficiaries of the NPC-PULWAT has planted various tree species in his land area. Together with his wife, Mrs. Rosemary Arsolon and their children, his entire family took care of the seedlings that were provided.
When asked how he knew about the project, he said that he heard about it during a meeting/ pulong-pulong that was conducted at Barangay Kiharong, Bukidnon back in 2008. He applied for the project and even re-echoed his learnings to his co-farmers. Most of his friends found it so sketchy and wondered how and why would NPC-WMD assists them and get nothing in return? Others even said that the Corporation might claim and steal their land areas from them after being paid.
Despite skepticism, Mr. Arsolon chose to believe in the promises of the project and worked to maintain his farm. A few months later, NPC – PULWAT released his very first paycheck, as maintenance fee for raising and nurturing the seedlings that were given to them after a series of inspections. When his neighbors knew about it, they were jealous of what he has gained.
Aside from fruit-bearing and indigenous tree species given by PULWAT, Mr. Arsolon and his family had their first harvest of falcata trees which earned a total of Php 80, 000.00.
Since joining NPC’s Rehabilitation Program, Mr. Arsolon has signed a Family Approach Contract which gives farmer-beneficiaries the responsibility of nurturing the seedlings in return for a decent maintenance fee. Mr. Arsolon was able to grow falcata trees and shared some compensation to his children who worked hard in maintaining the land.
As an economic benefit, his children were able to buy phones which they have desired for a long time. Mr. Arsolon also added that he was also able to support one of his children in his educational needs.
His child took up a Bachelor of Science in Hotel and Restaurant Management in one of the universities at Cagayan de Oro City. He also added that the project of NPC-WMD was instrumental in supporting his child to finish college in 2016.
Mr. and Mrs. Arsolon also joined several orientations and seminars on farming and they claimed that the inputs helped them for they have gained essential information on agriculture. Through shared-knowledge, they were able to apply these pieces of information and farming techniques on their farm.
The couple did not just settle by educating themselves, they have also encouraged their neighbors and friends who cultivate their land by joining the project. According to the couple, aside from earning money out of the support from NPC-WMD, they are also helping protect the watershed which provides them water and livelihood.