By Mike U. Crismundo

BUTUAN CITY – The regional office of the Department of Agriculture (DA–Caraga Region 13) continued to strategize its interventions and advocacies to promote and secure sustainable food production through the Plant Plant Plant Program, amidst the health crisis the region is facing.

DA-Caraga Region 13 distributed on Monday various interventions to walk-in clients who want to have their own food production at home.

Close to 300 walk-in individuals received various vegetable seedlings and seeds for them to plant in their backyards to serve as their own food source.

In addition to vegetables, the DA-Caraga Region 13 is also promoting backyard corn production and launched the Project “Maisan sa Nataran” (Corn in the Backyard) or Pro-Mais as the latest addition to the integrated and diversified food production in the home.

Corn is also a staple food in the country and has numerous health benefits that include controlling diabetes, prevention of heart ailment, and lowers hypertension, DA 13 Regional Spokesperson Emmylou T. Presilda told The Manila Bulletin on Tuesday.

Through the project, individuals who are willing to plant corn and have an available area of at least 100 sq.m. were given ¼ kilo corn seeds, she said.

To further encourage the people to patronize corn, free-tasting of rice-corn blend or cooked rice mixed with corn was also conducted.

To complement this food production initiative, the Organic Agriculture (OA) program also handed out organic concoctions that the people can use and apply on their vegetables to ensure these would be safe for them and their families to consume.

The concoctions were made by the DA – OA staff and some of the organic agriculture practitioners in the region who still had spare available concoctions also shared

The first 15 individuals who came to take part in yesterday’s (June 15) activity received two heads of native chicken from the livestock program for them to raise and start their own chicken production.

Vitamins for chicken and stylo seeds, a kind of forage legume for small and large ruminants were also given out as support to the local livestock raisers.

DA 13 Regional Executive Director (RED) Abel James I. Monteagudo thanked the people who came and showed their interest in doing their part in attaining food sufficiency.

“We really need to be self-sufficient in our food even just in our own households especially now that there is a health crisis so it is important that we start growing our own food,” he said.

RED Monteagudo further said that the distribution of the interventions was conducted as the department’s way also of celebrating the recent Independence Day.

Government employee Gemalyn Limbaga said that she really appreciated this initiative of the department. “I am thankful for this program because it is a big help to the people especially now that many are having financial difficulties due to coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic, she said, adding “With these planting materials, we are assured of having available food for our families and also get to share with others”.

The “Ahon Lahat Pagkaing Sapat Kontra sa COVID 19” or Plant Plant Plant Program is the DA’s response to the COVID-19 health crisis that aims to give immediate interventions for food production and availability, Ms. Presilda added.