Agri chief urges farmers to plant Sampalok trees

AGRICULTURE Secretary Proceso Alcala has proposed a solution to stop the illegal cutting of trees in the remaining forest reserves of the country.

“I am appealing to our farmers to stop planting timber trees in the mountains to discourage illegal logging. Instead, I am encouraging them to plant fruit bearing trees like Sampalok,” said Alcala during the hearing of the House Committee on Appropriation on the proposed budget of the Department of Agriculture (DA) for 2013.

Alcala said illegal logging will exist if there are timber trees to be cut. “Planting of fruit bearing trees in the denuded areas of the country will be a great help too in deforestation,” he said.

Likewise, Alcala said fruit bearing trees can be a good source of income for the farmers.

Alcala said farmers should plant Sampalok trees because there is a good market for the product. “Many consumers prefer processed tamarind broth in cooking sinigang,” he said.

Alcala said the Sampalok tree which produces a huge quantity of fruit every year can give better earnings for the farmers than timber, like Mahogany or Gemelina.

“We need to plant more trees, and this time it is better to plant fruit bearing trees that yield income every year once they start to bear fruit. Farmers will be more inclined to keep the trees and take care of them because it will give them regular income,” Alcala said.

Alcala also informed the members of the House body that Nueva Vizcaya could be the next vegetable bowl next to Benguet because the province is now the source of vegetables for Metro Manila.

Alcala said Nueva Vizcaya can supply Metro Manila with its vegetable needs during the typhoon and when the roads going up to Benguet are closed.

“You may notice that there is a continuous supply of vegetables in Metro Manila during the onslaught of typhoons. This is because Nueva Vizcaya is contributing a lot to vegetable production,” Alcala said.

Alcala said the DA has also earmarked P15 billion – for its rice program, P7.4 billion; fisheries P3.6 billion, corn P1.5 billion, high value crops P1.3 billion, and livestock P1.03 billion.

Alcala said the proposed P74.1 billion proposed budget of the department will bankroll the government’s Food Staples Sufficiency Program (FSSP) in a bid to attain 100 percent rice sufficiency.

Alcala said under FSSP, the government plans to produce 20 million metric tons (MMT) of palay and 8.75 MMT of corn.


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