By Minerva BC Newman
CEBU CITY – The Department of Agriculture (DA-7) and the National Nutrition Council (NNC-7) in Central Visayas pushed for more backyard and community vegetable gardening and farming to local government units (LGUs) in Central Visayas to improve household nutritional value especially in this time of corona virus (COVID-19) pandemic.
In a virtual launching of the Nutrition Month celebration, DA-7 regional executive director Salvador Diputado has called on households, communities and LGUs to raise their own food specifically vegetables at their backyards, empty lots, containers for easy access to fresh and nutritious foods.
“In this time of pandemic where our movement is limited and controlled, let’s not waste our time while at home. It is very important nowadays to have healthy and nutritious food for a strong, resistant body and immune system”, Diputado said.
He said that DA gives out some vegetable seeds through the LGUs or to walk-in clients of the office and there are also other ways to source out vegetable seeds like the ones from the vegetables bought from the market and groceries.
Diputado encouraged nutrition front liners, healthy food advocates, stakeholders to produce their own food such as planting early maturing vegetables like kangkong, pechay, aside from eggplant, ampalaya, okra, tomatoes, others.
Planting vegetables doesn’t require large areas. One can plant veggies even in containers or what we call “container gardening” and never throw the seeds from the veggies, use them in planting vegetables in all open spaces at home or in communities, he added.
Meantime, LGUs in the region welcomed DA’s call for backyard gardening/farming especially in areas where communities of like-minded people can establish community vegetable gardens.
Balilihan, Bohol town mayor Pureza Chatto with Diputado during the fruit-tree planting event in the town recently, identified and focused on the distribution of fruit-tree seedlings due to the presence of the DA7’s major crops research stations in Bohol.
“Our research stations particularly in Bohol province have been instructed to intensify its seedlings production in compliance with Secretary William Dar’s plant, plant, plant program,” Diputado said.
These seedlings are distributed to the different LGUs for free to raise local agriculture productivity, which makes it accessible especially during this time of quarantine where transportations are limited, Diputado added.
The DA-7 team also conducted fruit-tree seedlings distribution and ceremonial tree-planting in Catigbian, Bohol with Mayor Elizabeth Mandin and Vice Mayor Esteban Angilan and DA-7 Engr Taboy Du and Roman Dabalos, Bohol’s Agriculture Program Coordinating Officer.
Diputado shared that all DA stations in the country were mandated to bolster vegetable and fruit production in all the regions as the country battles the pandemic. Seedlings were distributed in the different towns of Bohol including guyabano and the very-sweet jackfruit variety produced in Bohol Experiment Station in Ubay.
Aside from fruit-tree seedlings and vegetable seeds, DA7’s rice seeds and fertilizers distribution are ongoing in the four provinces of the region which is still part of the agency’s 4Ps program and Nutrition Month is celebrated annually in July, per Presidential Decree No. 491 or the Nutrition Act of the Philippines, Diputado said.