Photo Source: Rappler
CEBU CITY—The National Anti-Poverty Commission (NAPC) has dispersed free vegetable seeds for backyard gardening in three poverty stricken Visayas regions. This was disclosed by NAPC Secretary Atty. Noel Kinazo Felongco in a media interview on Friday.
He said the commission and the Department of Agriculture (DA) had begun their initial stage of distributing vegetable seeds in various regions in the country during the enhanced community quarantine (ECQ). The identified priority areas where NAPC volunteers would distribute to poor communities include three Visayan regions, namely: Central Visayas, Western Visayas, and Eastern Visayas, as well as Region 3 in Luzon, and Region 10 in Mindanao.
The 2018 data of the Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA) showed that poverty incidences in the said Visayan regions were: Central Visayas (17.5 percent), Western Visayas (16.4 percent); and Eastern Visayas (30.9 percent).
According Sec. Felongco, the distribution of vegetable seeds is part of the commission’s Kasambayanihan “Gulayan sa Bakop Program,” which is aligned to DA’s “Plant, Plant, Plant” Program that is being funded by the Bayanihan Law in response to the Covid-19 health and economic crisis.
“We are pushing backyard gardening now. We need to help the poor folks boost their individual immune systems even as we strengthen the food security of each household during quarantine,” Sec. Felongo said.
The NAPC has a vast network of community volunteers nationwide that will involve the poor in their effort in mainstreaming backyard gardening as a health response to the onslaught of Covid-19 pandemic and a strategy for poverty alleviation.
Vegetable varieties that are distributed by their volunteers and DA personnel include bottle gourd (upo), okra, ampalaya, eggplant, snow cabbage (petchay), squash, and tomato.
“The endeavor seeks to encourage especially the poor to engage in backyard gardening. This is a worthwhile effort during the quarantine,” he further said.