Agri chief calls all Filipino families to plant trees
Agriculture Secretary Emmanuel Piñol said planting trees should be a family-based agricultural activity rather than a national reforestation program of the Philippines’ Greening Program to succeed.
“This is the recommendation of two Finnish forestry experts who showed us the family-owned and managed forest farms in Hamlinlina area, north of Helsinki over the weekend,” Piñol said.
“Klaus Virtanen, a forestry expert who stayed three years in the Philippines and whose family owns about 200 hectares of forests, said the family-based forestry program of Finland establishes a sense of ownership which is important in protecting the trees,” he added.
According to Virtanen, as quoted by the agri chief, each forest farming family in Finland has at least 30-hectares of forests which he could harvest when the trees mature after 60 to 80 years.
“The trees we are harvesting now were planted by our grandparents or parents and the trees we are planting after the.harvest now belongs to our grandchildren,” said Virtanen.
Piñol then highlighted the Convergence Project of the Department of Agriculture and the Department of Environment and Natural Resources where they hope to carry over the “Bantay Kagubatan” program.
Unlike the Finnish model, the Bantay Kagubatan is a stewardship program where poor rural families are assigned to guard an area of 5-hectares per family.
The program will engage them planting at least 500 tree seedlings of both harvestable and indigenous tree species.
“The Bantay Kagubatan proposal as a convergence project of DAF and DENR was sidelined in the face of the controversies during (former Environment) Secretary Regina Paz Lopez short stint as DENR secretary,” Piñol said.
“But this will be presented again to the new DENR secretary Roy Cimatu… I am more determined to push the Bantay Kagubatan Program because a similar concept of agro-forestry has been proven to work in Finland,” he added.