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Photo 36M SEEDLINGS PRODUCTION TARGET WEB

Notwithstanding COVID-19, the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) was able to raise 36 million seedlings for the Enhanced National Greening Program (ENGP) during the first half of 2020.

The number already represents almost 80 percent of the 45.2 million seedlings targeted for the entire year under the government’s flagship reforestation program, DENR Secretary Roy A. Cimatu said, citing a report from the Forest Management Bureau (FMB).

“This speaks well of how the DENR and its partners have carried out the ENGP in the face of challenges and constraints created by the pandemic,” Cimatu said.

With this development, Cimatu said, the DENR is “on track” with its ENGP seedling production “just in time for planting this rainy season.”

In its report, the FMB said the seedling production covers both plantation species and indigenous species used for rehabilitation of denuded areas in watershed, mangrove and protected areas. It also includes commodity species used for the establishment of agroforestry plantations.

As of July 9, indigenous and plantation seedlings had reached 20 million; bamboo, 3.4 million; agroforestry, 2.98 million; fruit trees, 1.2 million; fuelwood, 796,600; rubber, 131,775; nipa, 65,000; and Ilang-ilang, 50,000.

Aside from bamboo, other commodity seedling species raised during the period include cacao, 598,907; coffee, 212,047; other high value crops, 837,525; mangrove, 163,500; and rattan, 262,000.

Another 537,638 seedlings came from DENR’s partners in the private sector such as the National Grid Corporation of the Philippines (NGCP), which is responsible for some 400,000 seedlings raised during the period.

On top of these, the DENR had also raised almost 4,265,662 seedlings at its modernized and mechanized forest nurseries (MMFN) operating in 10 regions.

As of May, these MMFNs have also produced almost 1 million vegetable seedlings, while they continue raising native and fast-growing forest tree seedlings for planting under the ENGP.

The vegetable seedling production is the DENR’s contribution to the government’s “Ahon Lahat, Pagkaing Sapat Laban sa COVID-19” program, which promotes urban agriculture amid the pandemic. #