Coroz (Tublay, Benguet)

The Typhoon Pepeng and Emergency Relief Program

Coroz is located to the north of Baguio, and it takes 1.5 hours by car to get there from Baguio. The population is about 500 and there are about 130 households. The elevation is 700-1,000 meters. Most of the residents belong to Ibaloi tribe, and make a living from farming and gold panning. Deforestation over years has caused consistent shortage of water. Furthermore, steep terrain and poor soil condition make farming very difficult in Coroz.  

 

In Coroz, one house was totally washed away and 16 houses were partially destroyed by landslide caused by the strong typhoon Pepeng in October, 2009. The area where 51 houses are located was designated as a hazardous area. The families whose houses were destroyed or located in the hazardous area were advised to move to a resettlement area within the community. Construction of new houses is supported by NGOs and government agencies, and the project is still ongoing. Right after the landslide, CGN distributed vegetable seeds and agricultural hoses to the victims as an emergency relief aid.  

Coffee Agroforestry Project

 

After the relief program terminated, in order to give continuous support to the community, CGN launched an agroforestry coffee cultivation project as a partner of WE 21 Japan (Kanagawa) in 2010. This project was funded  by the Kanagawa People to People Cooperation Fund. 

 

In the project, coffee trees were planted among other trees such as alnus and calliandra. Alnus and calliandra grow faster than coffee and give moderate amount of shade to the coffee. They also fix nitrogen in the ground and enrich the soil. CGN also helped plant bamboos in the landslide-affected areas and watershed. These efforts will help prevent soil erosion and protect watershed. Now the coffee beans from Croz are exported to fair trade shops in Japan. 

Promoting Organic Farming

 

In Coroz, people used to heavily use chemical fertilizers and pesticides and sell their vegetables at low price. However, chemical fertilizers and pesticides contaminate soil and destroy ecology. They cause health hazard to the farmers in a long term. They are also expensive. Five years have passes since the disaster. The people in Coroz are motivated to stop using them and shift to organic farming to gain fair income without destroying the environment. CGN established a wood vinegar (mokusaku) collecting facility, using locally available materials, in its model farm in the community. As of now, 11 households have installed the facility of the same model and utilize wood vinegar for organic farming. CGN also conducted seminars/workshops on organic farming techniques, such as making compost, Bokashi (quick-acting organic fertilizer), and vermi compost. In November, 2011, the farmers established the Coroz Organic Growers Association and started selling their organic produce. 

Wood vinegar collecting facility in CGN model farm
Wood vinegar collecting facility in CGN model farm

CGN also conducts environmental education workshops for children in an elementary school and a nursery to raise awareness of environmental preservation. In 2016, to tackle the problem of water shortage, CGN installed a water pumping system with a help of WE 21 Japan. In the same year, it also expanded its project to a adjacent community, Tabeyo to further promote organic farming and coffee production.