MATUNGAO, LANAO DEL NORTE, May 15, 2020. The adversities of the COVID-19 pandemic call for proactive countermeasures. Self-sufficiency and self-reliance are keys in this time of crisis.
The Special Area for Agricultural Development (SAAD) Program farmer-beneficiaries of Matungao, Lanao del Norte in Region 10 are well aware of this.
To brace for the dragging COVID-19 pandemic, the farmers responded to the Department of Agriculture’s Plant, Plant, Plant Program through SAAD-funded Vegetable Production Project.
From May 5 to 8, 2020, a total of 100 Matungao farmers welcomed various garden tools and assorted vegetable seeds for their backyard gardening.
Each farmer received 24 seedling trays; one plastic crate; two sprinklers; one garden net; one weeding bolo; one pruning shear; one knapsack sprayer; one plastic water drum; 40 grams of upland kangkong seeds; 40 grams of Baguio beans seeds; 20 grams of ampalaya seeds; and 20 grams of cucumber seeds.
Aside from enabling the farmers to prepare for the COVID-19 worst-case scenario, the Matungao local government unit (LGU) hopes to address malnutrition as well as ensure food security and eradicate poverty through the project, in the long run.
“These garden tools and vegetable seeds are beneficial to our farmers especially in this time of crisis. Having received these interventions, they can develop and improve their backyard garden,” Matungao SAAD Focal Person Norjanah C. Tando explained.
“More importantly our farmers can produce readily available, safe and nutritious foods in their home. This can be their source of earning as well,” Tando added, substantiating the project’s impact on the lives of the farmers.
“This project is very helpful for our daily living. Once we can start harvesting the vegetables, we can sell them to procure rice and other food,” SAAD beneficiary Nita Arañas shared, anticipating commercial backyard gardening.
To ensure the project’s viability, SAAD farmer-beneficiaries were trained on productive and sustainable organic farming.
Noting the timeliness and significance of the project, similar efforts have been initiated by other SAAD LGUs and farmers in other Northern Mindanao provinces.
To date SAAD Region 10 has distributed a total of 5,250 packs of assorted vegetable seeds, benefitting not less than 5,000 farmers and backyard/home gardeners, LGUs, the Philippine National Police, the Philippine Army, and other frontliners in Bukidnon, Lanao del Norte, and Misamis Occidental. The program is currently procuring an additional 15,000 packs of assorted vegetable seeds to support DA’s Ahon Lahat, Pagkaing Sapat (ALPAS) Kontra COVID-19 Program. ###
Writer: Azbie Talib, SAAD RPMSO 10 Information Officer