BUTUAN CITY – Taking inspiration from the Department of Agriculture’s “Plant, Plant, Plant” Program or 4Ps, the province’s capital town of Prosperidad in Agusan del Sur has started a municipal-wide vegetable gardening using the city’s center island as plot as part of its Food Security Plan (FSP) in the time of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic.
Among the town’s initiatives are the center island vegetable gardening project wherein vegetables are planted on the center traffic island along the stretch of the national highway of Prosperidad town, Agusan del Sur province.
According to Municipal Agriculturist (MA) Marlita P. Cortez, all the municipal offices are involved and were grouped into nine clusters with each cluster taking charge of 77 meters of the center island.
“Rather than planting flowers for beautification, we chose to plant vegetables instead,” the town’s MA officer said.
“This way, we do not only get to harvest vegetables but we can also show the public that vegetable gardening can be done easily so that they will also be encouraged to have their own food production initiative at home,” Cortez said.
The MA officer said that this initiative is approved by their town Mayor Frederick Mark P. Mellana and that they plan to sustain this project.
Vegetable seeds and organic fertilizers were procured and distributed to the nine clusters that started planting them in June.
The vegetables planted were eggplant, kangkong, and pechay.
The clusters have already been harvesting vegetables which the members divided among themselves for their own consumption. Some of the vegetables were also shared to the needy especially those who do not really have an available area to plant on.
This was followed by the implementation of Food Always in the Home (FAITH) program where vegetable seeds were distributed to households for them to plant in their backyards while 17 barangays of the town were also chosen for the establishment of their own communal gardens.
The Municipal Agriculture Office (MAO) also distributed five heads of chicken to 45 beneficiaries per barangay. Two kilos of feeds were also given to the recipients together with the chickens.
Another project of Prosperidad under its FSP is the distribution of tilapia fingerlings. This is in coordination with the Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources (BFAR) to those who have fishponds. The number of fingerlings given depends on the size of the area of the recipient.
As a way of assisting the farmers in selling their produce, the local government also allocated a budget of P5 million to buy the products of the farmers. To date, 571 bags of milled rice have been bought from rice farmers. These were sold by the Employees’ Union to interested buyers, mostly to the employees of the LGU.
Cortez said that Prosperidad’s Food Security Plan has a budget allocation of P10 million to be utilized for its various initiatives that aim to cushion the impact of the pandemic on the people.