LAGAWE, Ifugao – The provincial government has embarked on a local counterpart of the environment department’s National Greening Program (NGP) by requiring local residents and civic organizations to plant at least 50,000 assorted fruit-bearing trees in a 2,500hectare area to help sustain and uplift their living condition and their sources of their livelihood.
Gov. Dennis Habawel said the local government requires the beneficiaries of their livelihood assistance program to plant coffee or fruit-bearing trees so that it will serve as an added source of food for their families once the same will be due for harvest.
Aside from the plating of agro-forestry trees in identified barren plantation sites, the governor said the province is also providing interested poor families start up livestocks among other available assistance that would fit their requirements in order to help in uplifting their living condition in the future.
Under the local government’s agro-forestry program, some 2,500 hectares of land should be planted with assorted agro-forestry trees and coffee seedlings whichever will be the choice of the recipients of the interventions.
For agro-forestry trees, individuals are required to plant at least 200 to 300 seedlings within a one hectare land area while those interested to plant coffee seedlings should plant a 1-hectare area with at least 500 seedlings.
According to him, the province will be deploying the necessary personnel and volunteers who will closely monitor the compliance of the beneficiaries to the program in order to guarantee its success so as not to repeat whatever lapses had been done in the implementation of the NGP where there was no concrete monitoring in order to ascertain the actual number of trees that have been planted in the identified plantation areas over the past several years.
He added that their local version of the NGP will be spread over a 3-year period and that the fruits of the fruit-bearing trees will be harvested by those who planted the same that will serve as an added source of their livelihood while the government will be guaranteed stable grounds and sustainable source of water for the benefit of the present and future generations.
Habawel explained the primary purpose of the crafting of the local version of the NGP is to empower local residents needing added sources of livelihood to actively participate in the program in order to reforest barren portions of public lands and prevent the occurrence of untoward soil erosion incidents and enhance the availability of sources of potable water for the growing population.
He said that part from providing sustainable sources of food for the people, the program will contribute in increasing the forest cover and increase the opportunities of providing communities with potable water sources for the present and future generations.
By Dexter A. See