Nearly 2,000 kilos of seeds of fruit-bearing trees were exchanged for rice and seedlings from 2022-2023 under the La Union provincial government’s “Sukat Bukel (seeds exchange) program.
According to the La Union Provincial Information Office (PIO) on Wednesday, residents may exchange a kilo of fresh or air-dried fruit seeds for two kilos of rice or seedlings through the program, which is aimed to provide economic aid to residents as well as help mitigate climate change through backyard gardening, and encourage zero waste lifestyle in the province.
Residents may swap the seeds of fruit-bearing or native trees to the provincial nurseries in the municipality of Santo Tomas and Barangay Pias in San Fernando City, or at the Provincial Environment and Natural Resources Office (PENRO), also in San Fernando City.
“Sukat Bukel” started in 2019 and it received an allocation of over PHP1 million in 2023.
From 2022 to 2023, nearly 2,000 kilos of various seeds like avocado, cacao, and coffee were collected and these were cultivated in the provincial government’s nurseries.
Last year alone, over 500 residents availed of the program and received more than 5,000 kilos of rice, the La Union PIO said.
Aside from rice, the project also allows residents to exchange the seeds to seedlings of grafted rambutan or budded calamansi.
In 2023, some 163 rambutan seedlings and 287 calamansi seedlings were distributed under the program.
Governor Raphaelle Veronica Ortega-David, in a statement Wednesday, said the program does not only provide economic assistance but also encourages environmental consciousness.
“This is our contribution to the whole-of-nation and community approach on ecological and environmental stability,” she said.
David said the program also aims to preserve indigenous and endemic tree species in the province like bittaog, mabolo, botong, and pakak, which are slowly becoming endangered.
Through the program, the provincial government is able to maintain its nurseries and supply seedlings for free during tree planting activities within and outside of the province. (PNA)