BUTUAN CITY -- To ensure the availability and sufficient supply of food in Caraga, a total of 687 kilograms (kgs) of various lowland and upland seeds worth P5,492,000 are being distributed to identified vegetable farmers all over the region.
The seed distribution is a regular intervention of the Department of Agriculture (DA) – Caraga through the High-Value Crops Development Program (HVCDP) to farmers engaged in vegetable production.
DA – Caraga HVCDP Coordinator Marco Antonio Morido said the activity aims to reduce the production cost of vegetable growers.
“One factor that contributes to the high production cost of vegetable growers are the high price of inputs and one way we can address this is by providing them the seeds to lessen their expenses,” Morido said.
The vegetable seeds have been delivered starting the second week of July this year to the Municipal and City Agricultural Offices who in turn will be distributing it to their pre-identified farmer-recipients.
For the lowland vegetable seeds allocation per province, the biggest bulk goes to Surigao del Sur with 200 kg, followed by Agusan del Sur with 152 kg, Agusan del Norte with 128 kg, Surigao del Norte with 100 kg, and the Province of Dinagat Island with 70 kg.
On the other hand, the biggest share of the upland vegetable seeds go to Agusan del Norte with 14 kg followed by Surigao del Norte with 13 kg, Surigao del Sur with 9 kg, and Agusan del Sur with 1 kg.
Lowland vegetables are also known as “pinakbet” include squash, eggplant, ampalaya, okra, and strings while highland vegetables also known as “chop suey “are the kinds that are usually grown in the highlands such as carrots, cabbage, broccoli, and cauliflower.
Morido said the bulk of the seeds for distribution are the lowland vegetable type since the majority of the areas developed for vegetable production in the region are in the lowlands. The lowland type is also quite suitable in the region.
Based on the country’s Vegetable Roadmap 2016-2022, the goal is to increase per capita vegetable consumption from 40 kg/capita to 60 kg/capita. In Caraga, the most commonly consumed vegetables are eggplant with 4.91 kg/year per capita consumption, squash with 4.23 kg/year per capita consumption, and bitter gourd with 2.138 kg/year per capita consumption.
On the other hand, DA-Caraga Regional Executive Director Abel James I. Monteagudo said that in addition to helping increase farmers productivity and income, the Department is also driving at increasing vegetable consumption among Caraganons.
“Along with Caraga’s production volume, we are also advocating for increased vegetable consumption for healthier citizens especially now that we are in the midst of a pandemic,” he said.
Aside from the vegetable seeds procured by the Department, the three Research Experiment Stations of the DA-Caraga are also producing planting materials for indigenous and Open Pollinated Vegetables (OPV) that are also for distribution to identified recipients. The research stations are located in Tagbina, Surigao del Sur, Del Monte, Talacogon, and Trento, Agusan del Sur respectively. (Vanessa P. Sanchez, DA 13 RAFIS/PIA Caraga)