By Jennifer Catan-Tilos
AYUNGON, Negros Oriental (PIA) — The Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) launched recently the biggest modern mechanized seedling nursery in the Philippines covering 9.4 hectares in Barangay Banban here.
The mechanized seedling facility costs about P90 million with the production capacity of 60 million seedlings per year in two cropping seasons.
Representing DENR Secretary Ramon Paje, Undersecretary for Field Operations Demetrio Ignacio Jr. led the commissioning and lauded the project, citing that the facility supports the National Greening Program (NGP) to massively rehabilitate the forest across the country with a target of 1.5 billion trees in 1.5 million hectares of forest under Executive Order 26 of President Benigno S. Aquino III.
The new nursery is said to be the first and the largest seedling nursery in the country that produce quality seedlings for planting and growing trees.
The mechanized seedling nursery also aims to reforest timberland areas and restore Philippine biological diversity.
Ignacio said NGP is extended to 2028 to be able to complete the target of restoring the country’s forest cover from 23 percent to 30 percent.
“For the past five years, more than 1B trees have already been planted in over 1.3M hectares and this is bigger and beyond than the trees planted for the past 40 years,” said Ignacio.
NGP’s target is expected to complete the 1.5M hectares with 1.5B trees planted this year, however, the Philippines is still be the second lowest forest cover in South East Asian Region, Ignacio said.
Of the five forest nursery sites in the country, Ayungon is identified by DENR as the biggest and first to complete the mechanized seedling facility project.
Other areas include in Solana, Cagayan; Bislig, Surigao; Sipocon, Camarines; and Bicutan in National Capital Region (NCR) Department of Science and Technology (DOST) compound.
Soon to rise with the ongoing procurement of the machines are Zamboanga, Tarlac; Ginubatan, Albay;Tangalan, Aklan; and Kidapawan.
Present during the inauguration of the seedling facility include DENR Director Ricardo Calderon of the Forest Management Bureau, DENR Region 18 Director Al Orolfo, DENR Region 7 Director Isabelo Montejo Negros Oriental Gov. Roel Degamo, Congresswoman-elect Josy Limkaichong of the 1st district of Negros Oriental, Ayungon Mayor Edsel Enardecido, local officials, and others from the private sector. (jct/PIA7-Negros Oriental/This article was originally published at PIA website on June 17, 2016)