With its celebration of Fruit Festival now on its eighth year, officials of Sablan, Benguet has proposed a measure to enjoin its residents to plant fruit-bearing plants in their backyard.
Mayor Alfredo Dacumos, Jr. said town officials plan to craft an executive order or an ordinance, which will push residents to plant fruit trees.
“This is also our means of supporting the municipality’s moniker as the fruit basket of Benguet”, Dacumos said during the festival that kicked off on Sept. 2.
Dacumos said the local government is also planning to reschedule the festival to either May or June, which is the fruit-bearing season.
The effect of climate change is felt in the municipality, as farmers have observed that the fruit-bearing plants were early in ripening.
The past typhoons and the ongoing rains also affected fruit production in the municipality, which is one of the biggest towns in terms of land area.
Sablan’s land area is 105.63 square kilometers, or almost twice the land area of Baguio City.
Other fruits grown in Sablan such as marang and pineapple are also limited, that is why most of the fruits on display during the festival were santol, rambutan, banana, pomelo, and dragonfruit.
Vice Gov. Ericson Felipe, the guest speaker during the opening program, encouraged residents to continue planting, since the town’s temperate climate is conducive to the planting of fruit-bearing trees.
“We need to go back to farming to produce the fruits needed in our province, and we could also contribute to the food supply of our country,” Felipe said.
He said the Benguet provincial board is doing its best to use the province’s funds to have high impact projects for the farmers. Officials of Agam, Guam, U.S.A, Sablan’s sister town led by Mayor Kevin James Susuico also graced the occasion. – Ofelia C. Empian