June 23, 2024

LA TRINIDAD, Benguet – Gov. Melchor Diclas has assured that there will be a continuous supply of vegetables for Filipinos even after the coronavirus disease 2019.

“Agmula manen ti tat-tao tayu ta isu met ti trabaho tayo,” Diclas said.

He said he ordered local government units to allow farmers to tend to their vegetable gardens.

He said in farms, people do not work side by side and have been observing physical distancing even before the implementation of the enhanced community quarantine (ECQ).

He urged residents that if they feel being restricted, they can call the attention of the province.

“We will talk to the mayors or barangay officials to allow farmers to plant because we need to have a continuous supply of food,” he said.

Benguet produces at least 85 percent of the highland vegetables sold all over the country, from Batanes in the north to Visayas and Mindanao in the south.

An average of 1.5 million kilos of assorted vegetables used to leave the trading post areas in Benguet daily but was cut to half due to the ECQ.

Meanwhile, the Department of Agriculture Cordillera has released more than 400 kilos of assorted short gestation vegetable seeds. It is also eyeing the dispersal of small animals for backyard livestock production of residents to assure food for all even after the ECQ.

DA Regional Executive Director Cameron Odsey said about 50 kilos of assorted seeds of pechay, Chinese kale, kangkong, lettuce, pole beans, shingkang pechay, and French beans were distributed to provincial governments for repacking and distribution to interested residents.

The seeds can grow on pots, allowing those without a yard to grow vegetables.

“If we plant now, we will have food in the coming weeks,” he said.

He added they intend to expand the urban agriculture program of the DA by giving small animals for livestock that residents can raise.

“We will give away small animals like chicken, goats, and ducks that residents can raise at their backyard,” he said, adding that procurement procedures are in progress.

“Our farmers are planting. Farmers’ activities should be unhampered, as well as the transport of their produce,” he said.

Odsey said the Cordillera is getting an additional P200 million for the expansion of food security in rice-producing areas of the region, namely Kalinga, Apayao, and Ifugao.

He said the amount will be used for the procurement of additional planting materials. – PNA