In 1992, the municipal government declared Irosin an agrarian reform community because of its large “Carpable” area (33 percent of its total land area); large concentration of agrarian reform beneficiaries (38 percent); presence of highly political non-government organizations, people’s organizations and cooperatives; strategic location and full support of the municipal government. The declaration was in line with Irosin’s strategic goal of equitable distribution of resources and opportunities through agrarian reform and rural development. The agrarian reform program has components: land tenure improvement; institution building, productivity system development; and rural infrastructure support.
While the Department of Agrarian Reform (DAR) focused on land tenure improvement like land survey, land transfer, leasehold conversion from tenancy to lease contract, the municipal government initiated the municipal-wide implementation, coordinated the different key players, mobilized internal and external resources, packaged economic projects for agrarian reform beneficiaries and convinced private landowners to voluntarily offer their land for sale. Its unique multi-sectoral, win-win approach provided opportunities for working out mutually acceptable solutions to emotional and heated issues of agrarian reform.
The program improved the tenurial status of 2,774 farmers (51% of potential beneficiaries) covering 4,847 hectares of land (34% of total “carpable” lands); improved agricultural productivity (e.g. for rice from 3.9 metrics tons per hectare in 1993 to 4.48 mt/ha in 1995); heightened people’s participation and increased income: rice - from P13,200 to P26,400 net income per year after the land transfer. Irosin is the only local government unit in the country which implemented agrarian reform in the whole municipality. It had a high accomplishment rate of 78 percent compared to the national average of 63 percent.
This program is recognized as a Trailblazing Program, a finalist for the 1997 Galing Pook Awards.