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Analysis of Tools in Participatory Rural Appraisal (Assessment of Bgy.

Masin Tayabas, Quezon Philippines for Organic Vegetable Production)

Introduction

Statement of the Problem In every Participatory Rural Appraisal are PRA tools. These tools are visualizations and diagrams meant to enhance the understanding of the community situation. The skill in analysing these tools is therefore important. How PRA charts can aid in assessing the potential of a community for a certain project will depend on these analysing skills.

Significance of the Study This study will serve as students practice in analysing PRA charts by assessing the potentialof an actual community to adapt a certain project. This will simultaneously show the importance, functions, as well as limitations of PRA tools in appraising a community. This study can also serve as an assessment of the potential of Bg. Masin Tayabas, Quezon for organic vegetable production.

Objectives of the Study This study aims to: Develop skills in analysing PRA charts Determine the importance of PRA charts in assessing a community Determine the potential of a community for organic vegetable production

Methodology Sample PRA charts (land use map, institutional diagram, external stakeholders analysis, livelihood matrix, and resource flow diagram) are shown to class. These charts are previously made by farmers of Bgy. Masin Tayabas, Quezon facilitated by former students of ASYS 145 and faculty members from the University of the Philippines Los Baos. The present students analyzed and interpreted each charts. They combined their interpretations so as to come up with a community assessment encompassing its bio-physical, economic/livelihood, institutional, and social components. The assessment was geared towards determining the potential of the Barangay for organic vegetable production.

Results and Discussion The PRA charts showed different aspects of the community. Basically, the land use map showed the bio-physical component; institutional diagram and external stakeholders analysis showed the policy and institutional component; while the livelihood matrix and resource flow diagram showed the economic as well as some of social components. Together, these tools are used to assess the community under study using systems analysis. The land-use map showed the bio-physical component of the Barangay, specifically on how the land is distributed for agricultural, residential, institutional and other uses. Because the community is an agricultural one, the map mainly showed the kind of crops grown and the live stocks raised in the area with their geographical distribution. It also gives overview in economic and social status of the households in the community. Table 1 shows the major findings derived from the land use map and its effect on the potential of the Barangay for organic vegetable production.

Effects Major Observations Positive Rice is the main crop Rice straw and rice hulls can be used as organic fertilizers There are existing small scale Animal manure can be used as organic animal raising fertilizers Main source of water comes from Water source for vegetable production the river that also irrigates the rice fields There are existing empty land Land space potential for vegetable space farming There are a lot of trees, Crop residues like coconut husk, specifically fruit trees planted in banana peeling, stem and stalk can be the area used as organic fertilizers Table 1 Major Observations And Interpretations From Land Use Map. Negative Competition for land space Unintentional animal grazing on vegetables Water source may carry agro-chemical residues ___ May also be a competitor for land space

The institutional diagram and external stakeholders analysis gave information on the social composition of the community. It shows significant individuals, groups and institutions in the community and their relationships, the relevance of their roles and status to the development theme under discussion. It also gave information on community leadership and power status: it showed who has authority to make or influence certain decisions and who are the formal and informal leaders (Anyaegbunam, 2004). Table 2 shows the major observations drawn out from institutional diagram and external stakeholders analysis. Major Observations Effects

Existing farmers association and bgy. Agrarian Organizing the community for the introduction reform committee and monitoring of organic vegetable farming will be easier Heavy two-way interaction between MAO, TFFA, Financial, technical, and political assistance will be TSPI, TCMC, Ilasan Multi-purpose cooperative and available the community High government officials are specifically pointed Government officials can hold great influence (and out authority) towards the community towards adapting organic vegetable production Table 2 Major Observations And Interpretation From Institutional Diagram And External Stakeholders Analysis.

The institutional diagram and external stakeholders analysis also helps to identify other organizations that are not yet interacting with the community but may help in implementing the project of organic vegetable production. It also showed the main external stakeholders who can be approached, and whose support is much needed, for the implementation and success of the project. The resource flow diagram and livelihood matrix gave a general view of the livelihood of the community. It tells the input and output flows or interrelationships of the different components within and outside the community (Calub, 2004). It also helps in predicting the possible behaviour of the community as a response to the introduction of organic vegetable production. Table 3 shows the information obtained from resource flow diagram and livelihood matrix and how each affects the potential of the community for organic vegetable production.

Major Observations Effects Already producing and utilizing organic fertilizer Knowledge of organic fertilizer is not foreign to the from crop residues and animal manures community, introduction of further knowledge on the matter is adaptable Very few non-farm activities/source Vegetable farming can be viewed as additional income There are existing bgy. Market agents for products Having an agent for organic products can be easily like goat, chicken, pork, horse adapted despite the use of organic fertilizer, the the community has no existing marketing system community has no organic crops for organic products Table 3 Major Observations And Interpretations From Resource Flow Diagram And Livelihood Matrix.

To compile all these observations and interpretations, Table 4 shows a SWOT matrix of the potential of Bgy. Masin Tayabas, Quezon for organic vegetable production. This tool also distinguishes which situations are intrinsic to the community and which are external. This will help in situation assessment that will be shown more clearly in the STEEP analysis.

Strengths Existing farmers association and bgy. Agrarian reform committee Knowledge of organic fertilizer is not foreign to the community, introduction of further knowledge on the matter is adaptable crop residues and animal manures that are used as organic fertilizer are easily available in the community there are existing land space which can be used for organic vegetable production alternative source of income is lacking in the community Organic farming is most relevant to small sized farms Opportunities there is financial, technical, and political assistance to the community available through MAO, TFFA, TSPI, TCMC, Ilasan Multi-purpose cooperative organic farming is supported by the national government There is increasing market demand for organically produced vegetables Higher price for organically produced vegetables than conventionally produced

Weaknesses venturing in vegetable production is not popular in the community Market potential of organically produced vegetable is not fully realized by farmers the knowledge of the farmers in organic farming as well as vegetable production is not prime The marketing system of organic products is still weak compared to the market for products of conventional farming the community has no existing marketing system for organic products organic farming is labor intensive Threats Unintentional animal grazing on vegetables Water source may carry agro-chemical residues availability of free synthetic fertilizers and pesticides from external institutions threat in unstable marketing system of organic products

Table 4 SWOT Matrix of the Potential Of Bgy. Masin Tayabas, Quezon for Organic Vegetable Production

The information in the SWOT matrix is further analyzed in table 5, STEEP analysis of the adaptability of organic vegetable production in Bgy. Masin Tayabas, Quezon. This provides a more systems analysis of the situation. It does not only assess the potential of the barangay for the project but it also provides suggestions in order to make the community more compatible for organic vegetable production.

Criterion

Advantages

Disadvantages

assessment

Social or Cultural Acceptability

> Production and utilization of organic fertilizer is already accepted and practiced by the community > Some neighbouring rural barangays are already producing organic vegetables >The farmers already have existing knowledge on producing their own organic fertilizer >There are live stocks and crops which are source of manures and crop residues used as organic fertilizers >There are potential land space for vegetable production >Organic farming is most relevant to small sized farms >Vegetable production will help the household to be self-sufficient

>Large part of the >Advantages community is into outweigh the rice production disadvantage because organic >Vegetable vegetable production is not a production can be popular venture viewed by the community as an alternative livelihood source

Preconditions to overcome Disadvantage >Promote vegetable production as additional source of income for those already in other crop production and as a stable and sustainable source of income for those who are not >To overcome disadvantages , the farmers would need help from external stakeholders that will: improve their understanding of organic vegetable production, improve their farm practices, and provide access to organic inputs

Technical Feasibility

>Farmers still lack knowledge on organic agriculture >They also lack knowledge and experience in planting vegetables >The access to agro-chemical inputs is easier compared to organic inputs

>The advantages are more intrinsic to the community than the disadvantages: the external properties are easier to change (by external interventions) compared to internal properties so the advantages still outweigh the disadvantages

Economic or Financial Viability

>Advantages outweigh disadvantages; like the technical feasibility, given >Vegetable external production can >The marketing intervention, the serve as alternative system of organic first disadvantage source of income products is still weak can be easily compared to the overcome; while >There is increasing market for products the second

>Market potential of organically produced vegetable is not fully realized by farmers

>Improve the farmers understanding of the potential of organic vegetables in the market as well as marketing strategies of their produce

market demand for of conventional organically farming produced vegetables >Higher price for organically produced vegetables than conventionally produced Environmental >organic vegetable Soundness production is ecological: it is favourable to farmers health and their environment: it enhance soil productivity, preserves natural biodiversity, and mitigate greenhouse effect Policy or >The community Political has existing farmers Support association and bgy. Agrarian reform committee >they receive assistance from MAO, TFFA, TSPI, TCMC, Ilasan Multipurpose cooperative > organic farming is supported by the national government >environmental soundness is not always a main concern of the community which is overridden by financial needs

disadvantage is out of farmers (direct) control it is still compensated by the market potential of organic vegetables

>advantages outweigh the disadvantages

>improve farmers understanding of the environmental benefits of organic farming and how they can be a help towards ecological agriculture

> the community is open to agrochemical companies like Bayer C and Orgamin >the political support that the community is currently receiving is towards conventional farming

>advantages outweigh disadvantages as long as local government is not against organic vegetable production

> organic farming is very dependent on political support, when at least local government support is secured, the disadvantage will be overcome

Table 5 STEEP Analysis Of The Adaptability Of Organic Vegetable Production In Bgy. Masin Tayabas, Quezon

In overall assessment, from the STEEP analysis as well as SWOT matrix, Bgy. Masin Tayabas, Quezon is compatible for organic vegetable production project. The project will have a lot of constraints from different components of the community. However, given support and intervention from external stakeholders, these constraints can be overcome. But the most important factor for the success of the project remains to be the attitude of the farmer. Their production of organic fertilizers from rice straw and hulls, as well as animal manure is a good indicator of the acceptability of the project to farmers. In terms of bio-physical adaptability of organic vegetable production in the barangay, the bio-physical situation of the community is also deemed favourable.

Conclusion The PRA tools are very useful in drawing out needed information from the community. The study showed how important it is to know the objective of the community appraisal before making use of any PRA tools. From this study, the proper combination of some tools is enough to make necessary analysis of the community which is in line with the objective of the appraisal. The combination of land use map, institutional diagram, external stakeholders analysis, livelihood matrix, and resource flow diagram showed the situation of the community as a system: giving information on its bio-physical, socio-cultural, economic, and political components. This gave a holistic view of the community which is needed before assessing whether the barangay is compatible to any project of intervention or not. This study also showed how, one PRA tool can be used to analyse or supplement the other. The use therefore, of PRA tools is very flexible allowing their strategic combinations to satisfy the overall goal of the community appraisal.

Although the tools prove to be important in appraising a community, it also showed some limitations. The assessment made above will not be possible without further information that is not

present in the given PRA tools. It just goes to show that PRA tools are vital but not sufficient to draw accurate community analysis. Given the limitations of PRA tools, the proper facilitation in making them becomes more important. Moreover, the proper and thorough analysis of these tools also becomes more crucial. Since the PRA tools used in this study are only analyzed by students who did not take part in the actual PRA, it shows the importance of making the tools open for future interpretations and by different people as well. But the more important conclusion is that, the tools can be better understood and analyzed by people who are involved in making them: in this case, the farmers and the facilitators. It means that the farmers should also play a role in analysing the tools, as it is their own community, their own farm practice that is under study.

References: Calub BM. 2004. Participatory rural appraisal guidebook. 2nd ed. University of the Philippines Los Baos Farming Systems and Soil Resources Institute Agricultural Systems Cluster and Bureau of Agricultural Research, Department of Agriculture. 83p. Philippine Council for Agriculture, Forestry and Natural Resources Research and Development. Sustainable development through organic agriculture, Los Baos, Laguna: PCARRD, 2000. 110p. (book series No. 170) http://www.fao.org/organicag/oa-faq/oa-faq6/en/