Contour Farming and Vetiver Grass Growing: A Disaster Risk Mitigation Strategy
Purok Pading Farmers Association/A2D Project
The Philippines remains in the top ten countries at most risk of disasters (2020 World Risk Index). Geographically, the archipelago lies in the typhoon path, with at least 20 typhoons ravaging the country each year. Secondary risks for typhoons include threats of strong winds and heavy rainfall, which led to many deaths due to flooding and landslides. Many parts of the country have not been safe from these hazards, including a small purok or village in the Municipality of Tabogon, Northern Cebu.
The community of Purok Pading lives in a mountainous and hilly area that is prone to landslides. Its primary livelihood is farming, so they plant corn and other crops on the hillsides, which also helps prevent erosion and thus keep them safe from landslides when the rains come aside from providing for their daily needs.
The Project is aimed at helping the community learn of a better way to keep the soil intact while providing them with a good harvest. Since most of the area is sloping, the project will introduce contour farming using vetiver grass to intersperse with rocks and gravel, thereby preventing soil erosion while at the same time having some added value with vetiver grass. Besides helping with soil erosion, Vetiver grass also helps fatten the soil, prevents runoff, and strengthens the structure of the contoured layers. It also has other uses and benefits that can provide the community with other means of livelihood when pursued.
The project will be designed as a community endeavor, with the main actors and beneficiaries planning, implementing, and monitoring the project. The Local Government of Tobogan, the Department of Agriculture, and other partners NGOs will help as technical experts to ensure the project's success.
At the end of the project, at least seven households should no longer be at risk from landslides protected by a strengthened contoured farm. The group should also learn skills in making other products out of vetiver grass and should be the beginnings of a new livelihood venture for them.