Coca-Cola Foundation gives grant to RAFI OTT

·3 min read

WHERE kindness flows, a forest will grow.

As the country continues to feel the impact of forest denudation, the Coca-Cola Foundation has provided funding to the Ramon Aboitiz Foundation Inc. One to Tree (RAFI OTT) program to spread kindness and care towards local watersheds in Cebu.

With funding from the Coca-Cola Foundation, the Rafi OTT will implement a tree-growing and watershed conservation program in Kotkot-Lusaran, Cebu.

Entitled “Agas Program,” the project aims to conserve watersheds through reforestation with native trees and biodiversity conservation.

Rafi OTT received a grant of $184,801 from the Coca-Cola Foundation for funding of the watershed conservation activities. Agas Program will plant and monitor 200,000 native seedlings of mixed timber and fruit species.

Annually, the Philippines loses about 47,000 hectares of forest cover, resulting in flooding, droughts, less protection from typhoons, and scarcity of natural resources for both local communities and the private sector.

The Agas Program aims to increase watershed forest cover and enhance local biodiversity through its reforestation efforts, in turn addressing some of the most pressing impacts of forest denudation.

With the program appropriately named “Agas,” the Cebuano term for “flow,” it strategically addresses the country’s forest cover loss and water crisis.

Key role

Located in the Municipality of Balamban, Cebu, the identified site includes the Kotkot-Lusaran Watershed Forest Reserve, which is part of the Central Cebu Protected Landscape (CCPL).

CCPL plays a key role for Cebu’s water generation and supply purposes. The Kotkot catchment is the second largest catchment within the CCPL, which is shared by the municipalities of Liloan, Compostela and Consolacion, and the cities of Cebu and Danao.

To implement the Agas Program, Rafi OTT will work closely with local stakeholders and communities on reforestation efforts and provision of alternative livelihood.

Tree-growing partners will be encouraged to adapt total farm development, including practices that promote multi-level canopy plantation. The program will provide extensive training and technical assistance to local tree-growing partners, which include site planning and development, seedling production and nursery management, plantation establishment and maintenance, and monitoring and assessment training.

“We are thankful to partner with the Coca-Cola Foundation and look forward to working closely with our community partners to achieve full implementation and sustainability of the Agas Program. Rafi OTT continues to integrate sustainable development practices in its projects, and we look forward to pursuing holistic development that supports production of food, watershed conservation, soil protection, and habitat conservation through the Agas project,” said Amaya Aboitiz-Fansler, president of the Ramon Aboitiz Foundation.

The Agas Program will run for four years from January 2022 to December 2025 with community partners located in Barangays Ginatilan, Cabasiangan, Matun-og, Sunog, Bayong, Duangan, and Gaas in the Municipality of Balamban.

The Coca-Cola Foundation, established in 1984, has invested more than $1.2 billion around the world to protect the environment, empower women to thrive and to enhance the overall well-being of people and communities.

Rafi One To Tree (formerly known as RAFI Biodiversity Conservation Unit), has been active in reforestation and conservation for over two decades and has achieved more than 80 percent survival rate for native tree growing.

Rafi OTT also assists companies in the service delivery of Environmental Compliance Certificate requirements set by the Philippine Government, as well as helping them achieve carbon sequestration and biodiversity conservation goals.

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