Convergence Initiative Inks Partnership With DND

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dar web news pix 1 may 22 2013The National Convergence Initiative (NCI) has forged an agreement with the Department of National Defense (DND) to develop selected military reservations into nurseries and plantation sites in a bid to reduce poverty, ensure food security and mitigate climate change.

Composed of the Departments of Agrarian Reform (DAR), Agriculture (DA), Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) and Interior and Local Government (DILG), the NCI said turning vast idle military reservations into productive use, such as planting high-value crops, producing seedlings and tree planting would also help generate more employment opportunities.

“The government is steadfast in its commitment to maximize the use of our resources and at the same time preserve our environment. This will be the government’s legacy to the succeeding generations,” said DAR Secretary Virgilo de los Reyes shortly after the signing of the agreement between NCI agencies and the defense department.

The NCI agencies and the DND came to terms in compliance with President Benigno S. Aquino’s order, directing them to consolidate and harmonize greening efforts for the country.

Last year, Defense Secretary Voltaire Gazmin made available some 12,000 hectares of military reservations nationwide for the establishment of tree nurseries as part if its commitment to the Aquino administration’s National Greening Program, which seeks to plant 1.5 million trees over 1.5 million hectares of land within his term.

Under the agreement, the DND will identify suitable areas for the development of nurseries and plantations sites in military reservations nationwide. The DA will provide access roads and post-harvest facilities to these areas to motivate farmers to work harder and produce more.dar web news pix 2 may 22 2013

“These infrastructures will help boost farmers’ income and reduce poverty in the rural sector,” said DA Secretary Proceso Alcala.

“We at the DENR will select the right plant species for the kind of agricultural areas that will be identified by the DA,” said DENR Secretary Ramon Paje.

The DILG will provide transportation, security and fire protection amenities to the program.

For its part, the DAR will mobilize activities for agrarian reform beneficiaries to provide technical assistance in planting trees and crops.

Initial sites identified for the program are Camp Kabaritan in Bukidnon to be planted with coffee beans, and Fort Magsaysay in Nueva Ecija will be planted with bamboo.

Under the agreement, government personnel of the DND and AFP as well as those of DAR, DA, DENR and DILG are encouraged to plant at least 10 seedlings per year in identified plantation sites inside the military reservations.

“The National Greening Program is in line with our current efforts to reduce the risk of disasters and the effects of climate change. There is really a need to be more vigorous in our campaign. Bamboo, for example, is very beneficial to the environment. It converts carbon dioxide in large quantities. It also prevents soil erosion which has been the cause of disasters brought by typhoons,” said Gazmin.