PROJECT director Dr. Cameron Odsey of the Cordillera Highland Agricultural Resource Management (Charmp) Project said forest fires pose a threat to agricultural projects in the region.

Odsey said there are areas in Charmp sites where forest fires have destroyed farms, making funding and time allotted for the project put to a waste.

Odsey said there is a farm in the Mountain Province area, which was gutted by fires, forcing farmers to plant anew.

"The farmers have to replace and re-plant according to our agreement," Odsey said.

The project director said the fires are one of the top concerns of the department.

Odsey said planned consultations from stakeholders as well as the Bureau of Fire and the Department of Environment and Natural Resources will be scheduled to address the issue.

"We have to raise the consciousness of the people about forest fires," Odsey stressed.

Local government units will be advised by the Charmp team on the hazards of fires in their areas and hopefully, before the close of the project by December, a forest fire summit will be completed.

Odsey said before the project ends this year communities must know how to protect their areas in order to continue the project.

Charmp has contributed to reducing poverty among indigenous peoples in the Cordillera, with the second phase concentrating on areas where poverty is most severe in all six provinces of the region: Abra, Apayao, Benguet, Ifugao, Kalinga and Mountain Province.

Charmp aims to reduce poverty and improve the livelihoods of indigenous peoples living in farming communities in the mountainous project area.

The indigenous peoples consist of many tribes whose main economic activity is agriculture. More than half of the people in the area are poor.