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INTRODUCTION: The Mt. Pinatubo eruption in 1991 is an unsurpassed record of volcanic eruption in the world. The devastation caused by ash and most especially lahar* flow is one, if not the most serious in terms of agricultural land destruction. It has caused major shift in crop production in Central Luzon, particularly rice and sweetpotato (Data et. al, 1990). The shifting of sweetpotato production areas to the former most suitable areas for rice was basically due to soil marginalization brought about by inflow of lahar in these areas. This calamity had displaced many farmers and caused distress and disappointments. However, for some, this was not the end of the world but struggle hard to bring back the productivity of the soil. They believe that provisions for better environment such as optimum fertilizer, thorough land preparation, water, and use of high yielding but stress tolerant varieties altogether improve yield. This study focuses on these farmers who, despite the hopelessness of their peers, had continued planting sweetpotato in the lahar areas. It documented the socio-economic characteristics of the lahar affected families who had responded and determined to cope with the marginal fertility of their farms. It included their local or indigenous knowledge that produce good results as well as the availability and capability of the Local Government Units (LGUs) and NGOs in assisting them in their plight. Likewise, gender roles were examined and analyzed which explained the capability of the affected households to cope with the disastrous condition. Thus, this study aimed to: a) establish the biophysical and socio-economic baseline information on the households and communities studied; b) establish indigenous knowledge about soil indicators, beliefs, and gender-cultured management practices; and c) determine the role of GOs, POs, and NGOs in the transfer/adoption of INM practices. METHODOLOGY Varied methods and approaches were used to achieve the specific objectives of the study. Identification of Study Sites and Selection of Respondents The Team conducted preliminary surveys in lahar-stricken municipalities and barangays in Central Luzon in coordination with the Local Government Units, particularly the Department of Agriculture. Records on the depth of lahar deposits and presence of sweetpotato production farms were taken from the data filed at the different municipalities. _________________________ * Lahar are coarse to fine volcanic debris or pyroclastic materials which are carried by moving water and deposited in lower areas or slopes.
The secondary data obtained were validated at the barangay and farm levels specifically the depths of deposit and the existence of SP farms before and after the eruption of Mt. Pintubo. As to the depth of lahar, all barangays/farms having less than ½ meter were deleted from the list. Rapid rural appraisal and key informant interviews were carried out that resulted to the final selection of the study sites. As to the selection of respondents, a complete enumeration of all farmers in study sites, particularly Zambales, where very few farmers planted sweetpotato, was done. In Tarlac, however, where many farmers were involved in sweetpotato farming in the selected sites, simple random sampling utilizing the fishbowl technique was used. Table 1 shows the study sites and the number of respondents that fall under different lahar categories. Table 1. Study sites and number of respondents per lahar category. Province Municipality Barangay 1 ( 2 m) TOTAL No. % No. % No. % No. % No. % Tarlac Moncada Gerona Banaoang West 6 23 5 19 2 14 13 24 26 22 Sapang - - 4 15 6 43 15 28 25 21 Tagumbao 12 46 - - 1 7 - - 13 11 Dicolor 3 11 2 8 3 21 7 13 15 12 Capas St. Lucia - - 8 31 2 15 16 30 26 22 Bamban Culubana 5 20 7 27 - - 3 5 15 12 Sub-total 26 100 26 100 14 100 54 100 120 100 Zambales San Marcelino Botolan Nagbunga 10 36 1 25 - - - - 11 33 Laoag 1 3 - - - - 2 100 3 9 Porac 9 32 1 25 - - - - 10 29 Carael 8 29 2 50 - - - - 10 29 Sub-total 28 100 4 100 - - 2 100 34 100 TOTAL 54 35 30 20 14 9 56 36 154 100 Data Gathering Instrument A semi-structured interview schedule was formulated and used in gathering data through focused group interviews of farmers identified. For other information, individual farmer-respondents were asked. This was supplemented with interview guides for key informants. Moreover, the existing records at the Department of Agriculture offices were looked into and analyzed.