DENR, DBP pact to boost tree farming

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04:10 AM June 24th, 2013

June 24th, 2013 04:10 AM

Environment Secretary Ramon Paje: Promoting tree plantations. AFP PHOTO/Jay DIRECTO

MANILA, Philippines—The Department of Environment and Natural Resources has teamed up with the Development Bank of the Philippines to boost the DENR’s National Greening Program through the DBP’s credit facility for tree farm owners.

Environment Secretary Ramon Paje recently signed a cooperation agreement with DBP president and CEO Gil Buenaventura that would tap DENR technical experts who would evaluate the feasibility of proposed projects and make referrals of tree plantation owners and administrators eligible for loans under the Tree Plantation Financing Program (TPFP).

In a statement, Paje said the TPFP was not only consistent with the objectives of the National Greening Program but also with the DENR’s millennium development goals on the eradication of extreme poverty and hunger and ensuring environmental sustainability.

“We commend the DBP for its decision to make TPFP an integral part of its corporate social responsibility,” Paje said.

The DBP-funded TPFP primarily promotes the development and maintenance of existing tree plantations and methods of harvesting that would boost wood-based industries.

It also aims to improve the socioeconomic condition of communities, arrest rapid deforestation, and reduce the vulnerability of communities to natural calamities.

The DBP credit facility applies to tree plantations—at least 500 hectares of open and contiguous area with existing and valid tenurial agreements with the DENR. One percent of the tree plantation area, either on public or private land, must have at least four-year-old trees growing on it.

Under the cooperation agreement, the two agencies would conduct joint site ocular inspections and verifications to validate the eligibility of the proposed projects.

The inspection teams would primarily conduct a valuation of the tree plantation, assess its growth and yield projections, and make studies on estimated costs and the expected economic benefits and returns.

The agencies are also tasked to periodically monitor the status of the project and conduct a performance review.—Jeannette I. Andrade

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