QRW Project sponsors focus group discussion on Integrated Management of Quiaoit River Watershed

The Quiaoit River Watershed project staff conducted a focus group discussion on the Integrated Management of the Quiaoit River Watershed (QRW). The activity primarily aimed to determine the stakeholders’ level of awareness regarding the socio-cultural, technological, environmental, economic or political factors that influence the state of the Quiaoit River Watershed .The focus group discussion is just one of the components in the research project for the National Research and Development Project for Watershed Management wherein the Quiaoit River Watershed is one of the sites.

Held on February 12-13, 2014 at the Mariano Marcos State University (MMSU) Crops Research Laboratory-OSIS, the 2 day event was attended by more than 50 participants composed of barangay captains and officials, city/municipal planning and development coordinators, and employees from the City of Batac and municipalities of Paoay and Currimao, IlocosNorte. The program was facilitated by two experts from MMSU, who are also the study leaders of the Quiaoit River Watershed project, Dr.Floramante C. Pastor and Dr.Roseller R. Ayson.

Guided by key questions, responses were solicited from participants particularly on their views and concerns they faced from the watershed. Among the crucial points discussed are about irrigation projects and maintenance. Other concerns raised were the improvement of farmers ‘livelihood and the proper distribution of water to the farmers. The participants also provided their insights and responses to several problems likekaingin and soil erosion, and urged to ask support from the local officials to strengthen forest conservation.  Moreover, the barangay captains from the rural areas noted the residents’ difficulty in earning money which led them to do illegal logging of trees to be used as charcoal and apply chemicals in farming which is less expensive and less effort but an easier way to earn income. Furthermore, the importance of having an organization for the protection of the watershed was also stressed.  Likewise, they observed that more could be done like improving the society’s awareness on managing the watershed as a whole.

After the discussion, the organizers expressed their profound gratitude to the stakeholders for their time, efforts as well as the valuable knowledge they contributed to the success of the activity.

By Ma.Leoneza B. Rigonan

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