News: Philippines Landcare – a training ground, October 2014

The Victorian Committee of the Crawford Fund has supported a range of Landcare training exercises over the years. Most recently, it  supported a ten-day Indonesian study tour of the Philippines Landcare program. Landcare has been active in Philippines for many years, with significant support from the Australian Centre for International Agricultural Research. A book published as far back in 2004 tells some of the stories from the region (https://aciar.gov.au/files/node/582/landcare-partonewebversion.pdf).

“There are many valuable demonstration sites in the Philippines and much Landcare experience and expertise. They provide a wealth of learning opportunities for other countries interested in Landcare adoption in developing country contexts,” said Horrie Poussard, Australian Landcare International.

The Indonesian delegates with their Philippines Landcare hosts

The Indonesian delegates with their Philippines Landcare hosts

Five Indonesian Landcare delegates participated to learn from the Philippines Landcare program. The Indonesian group was made up of three farmer facilitators from the Merapi Landcare program, the Sahabat Lahan Indonesia (SLI) Landcare facilitator and a community forestry lecturer from the Gadjah Mada University, Yogyakarta.

The group learned about the human factors of Landcare – the importance of developing partnerships between farmers and a range of agencies; the critical role of the Landcare facilitator in a group’s capacity to make changes on their farms and on their land; the importance of communication to ensure that achievements are shared and celebrated; and the value of successful farmers sharing their experience (over setting up stand-alone demonstration sites).

Participants also learned about the technologies promoted by Landcare which result in positive change and can demonstrate improved agricultural and environmental performance of the land, such as soil conservation.

Incentives – financial and non-financial – were also discussed. For example: seed, seedlings, trees and fertilizer, which are micro-investments that generate significant return.

During the tour, the Indonesians learned about several plant and timber species that were growing well in the Philippines and by the time they had returned home they had identified what these plants were called in Bahasa Indonesian and they are already trialling them at Merapi.

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