If there’s one thing the COVID-19 pandemic has clearly taught us this 2020 – that is, the importance of food.

With the Department of Agriculture’s endless call for Filipinos to engage in urban and backyard farming, more individuals are visiting the research stations of the Department of Agriculture Regional Field Office 1 (DA-RFO1) in Pangasinan and Ilocos Norte to avail of the free vegetable seedlings and seeds.

In a report shared by the different station chiefs on their seedling distribution as of May 15, 2020, Dr. Constancia Diaz, Center Chief of Pangasinan Research and Experiment Center (PREC), informed that 173 seedling trays of assorted vegetables such as okra, sili, eggplant, ampalaya, upo and squash were distributed to 12 LGUs; 4 associations; 27 individuals including from the Bureau of Fire Protection (BFP) and RICs from Pangasinan. This is in addition to previously distributed seeds and seedlings by the station.

At the Ilocos Norte Research and Experiment Center (INREC), Ms. Wilma Ibea, the Center chief, also informed that a total of 300 packs @10 grams each of various vegetables such as tomato, eggplant, pole sitao, ampalaya, okra, and patola were turned over to the National Tobacco Administation (NTA) in Batac City to be distributed to tobacco farmers in Ilocos Norte who are also eager to be part of the Plant Plant Plant program of DA.

Meanwhile, at the PREC satellite station in Sual, Pangasinan which started its distribution last May 13, 2020, station Chief Dr. Mary Jane Alcedo shared that a total of 30 seedling trays and 54 packs of seeds of various vegetables were distributed to LGUs, cooperative/groups, and individuals who came to the station.

As of date, DA-RFO1 has already distributed a total of 1, 393 kilograms of seeds and 18,120 seedling trays of assorted vegetables with a total cost of Php 10, 977, 454.00 benefiting 1, 940 individuals, 71 Local Government Units, and 366 farmer groups. //