The National Anti-Poverty Commission (NAPC) and the Department of Agriculture (DA) have begun distributing vegetable seeds in various regions in the country during the Enhanced Community Quarantine (ECQ).
NAPC, DA spreads free vegetable seeds for backyard gardening
With the DA under Secretary William Dar providing the seeds, NAPC community volunteers are going out to poor barangays. This is now ongoing in the three Visayas regions along with Region 3 and 5 in Luzon and Region 10 in Mindanao, said NAPC Secretary Atty. Noel Kinazo Felongco.
In a letter dated April 7, 2020, to Secretary Dar in Quezon City, the NAPC head said the commission’s Kasambayanihan “Gulayan sa Bakod” program is aligned with the DA “Plant, Plant, Plant” Program.
“We are pushing backyard gardening now. We need to help poor folks boost their individual immune systems even as we strengthen [the] food security of each household during the quarantine,” said Felongco.
“We know the combination of personal hygiene, social distancing, quarantine, and ensuring a healthy immune system is important in combatting COVID-19,” Felongco said.
The NAPC, which aimed to reach one million community volunteers nationwide when it launched Kasambayanihan last year, is now relying on this vast network to involve the poor in efforts towards backyard gardening.
The volunteers distributed seeds of vegetables like bottle gourd (upo), okra, ampalaya, eggplant, snow cabbage (petchay), squash, and tomato in coordination with the Department of Agriculture (DA).
NAPC has pressed for the nationwide distribution of vegetable seeds to communities to ensure household food security amid the coronavirus disease or COVID-19 crisis.
“The endeavor seeks to encourage especially the poor to engage in backyard gardening. This is a worthwhile effort during the quarantine,” said Felongco even as he thanked the critical assistance of the DA Secretary Dar.
NAPC has identified several priority areas in the Visayas because of widespread poverty.
In the 2018 report of the Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA), Central Visayas has a poverty incidence of 17.5 percent, Western Visayas with 16.4 percent, and Eastern Visayas with 30.9 percent,” Felongco noted.
Those interested may contact the following: Ted Jacinto (Luzon) – 0966 850 4306; Terry Magbiro (NCR) – 0909 228 3158; Mimi Sayaboc (Visayas) – 0927 224 5444; Favian Magallanes (Visayas) – 0919 819 8057; Gus Tapia (Mindanao) – 0977 852 0816.