TUBA, Benguet – The municipal government intends to produce over one hundred thousand coffee and cacao seedlings for various groups and residents implementing the local government’s agro-forestry program geared towards significantly improving the state of forest reservations and idle lands in the municipality.
Mayor Ignacio Rivera said the local government initially allocated some P2 million for the mass production of the coffee and cacao seedlings at the established agriculture demonstration farm of the town located on barangay Nangalisan.
“We want to embark on a holistic environmental preservation and protection program that will provide our people with sustainable sources of livelihood while co-existing with nature. We want the present and future generations in our communities to be able to co-exist with nature and pass on the same to upcoming generations,” Mayor Rivera stressed.
The local chief executive disclosed the coffee and cacao seedlings will be mass produced in the town’s demonstration farm before these will be distributed to interested groups or residents wanting to avail of the livelihood program for them to plant the same in available plantation sites within forest reservations or in their idle lands.
He pointed out that preserving and protecting the town’s forest reservations through the establishment of agro-forestry zones in the said watershed areas is one of the major thrusts of the local government so that people will have sustainable sources of livelihood that will prevent them from further encroaching into the reservations that compromise the good state of the environment in their places.
According to him, there are available portions of forest reservations and idle lands where the produced coffee and cacao seedlings will be planted by groups and individuals wanting to actively participate in the implementation of the town’s aggressive reforestation campaign through the use of available agro-forestry seedlings capable of providing added income to the people living within forest reservations.
Rivera explained the cacao seedlings will be planted in warmer areas of the municipality while the coffee seedlings could be planted in colder areas and higher elevations to guarantee that residents maximize the benefits of being involved in agro-forestry programs to help improve the state of the environment aside from providing them with long-term sources of livelihood.
Aside from coffee and cacao seedlings, he claimed the town’s existing demonstration farm will also produce other agro-forestry tree species for distribution to interested residents who want to plant and take care of other fruit-bearing plants in their idle lands that will eventually be the town’s sources of fruits that could be marketed inside and outside the locality.
He asserted agriculture and ecotourism are the two major assets of the town whose potentials must be maximized considering the presence of vast tracks of forest reservations and idle lands to achieve food self-sufficiency for the people living in the different barangays and the province as a whole.
Tuba is a first-class municipality where its source of income relies on mining which is temporary, thus, the need to maximize the potentials of agriculture and ecotourism for long-term progress. By HENT