The Department of Environment and Natural Resources IX distributed more than 7,000 assorted vegetable seedlings to 50 beneficiaries in Tigbao, Zamboanga del Sur today, June 15, 2020.

The turnover ceremony, which was conducted in Barangay Maragang Freedom Stage, is part of ‘Alay Gulay’ a joint effort of the DENR IX and the Department of Agriculture IX that aims to augment food supply in the region due to the restrictions brought about by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Vegetable seedlings distributed were eggplant, pechay, tomatoes, kangkong, string beans, upo and squash.

“We hope that [the beneficiaries] will be able to grow and nurture the vegetable seedlings and produce their own food in their backyard,” said DENR 9 Regional Executive Director Crisanta Marlene P. Rodriguez.

The 50 family beneficiaries are also beneficiaries of one of DENR’s priority program, the Expanded National Greening Program (ENGP).

RED Rodriguez added that although the initial plan was to distribute ready-to-eat produce, it was decided that seedlings be distributed instead to encourage communities to plant, do backyard gardening and produce organic nutritious food.

It can be recalled that DENR IX's Modernized and Mechanical Forest Nursery in Baclay, Tukuran passed the inspection and assessment of its suitability and readiness conducted by DA IX and has entered into a Memorandum of Agreement with the said agency on the use of the nurseries as area of propagation for high-valued agricultural crops which will be subsequently distributed to partners and identified beneficiaries in the region.

Tigbao Mayor Eleazar C. Carcallas lauded the efforts of the DENR IX and DA IX and is hopeful for the success of backyard gardening in his municipality.

Also present during the distribution were representatives of DA IX, LGU Tigbao, PENRO Zamboanga del Sur and CENRO Guipos.